A Mother’s Journey: The sincerest form of thievery

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

“There is no such thing as a new idea,” Mark Twain famously wrote in his 1907 autobiography. “It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

He couldn’t have said it better.

Originality is an ambiguous concept, it seems, leading many of us to believe the thoughts and ideas we create are somehow impartial, uninfluenced by the world around us. It leads us to believe creativity is somehow only sparked from within and not an element molded by the experiences and lessons from life.

The world around us is a bottomless pit of discovery, with every new encounter leaving us a new impression and a fresh outlook. Yet, entrepreneurs and business owners tend to forget that their “creative spark” was ignited by their environment — by the people and conversations around them — and not from some untouched segment of their brain.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The inner-city detour, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

A Mother’s Journey [Part 45]: The collaboration realization

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

After a series of workshops held by community leaders, endless peer presentations reflecting our leadership skills, and extensive discussions about what Worcester needs, Leadership Worcester has come to an end for the 2016-17 class.

In this joint initiative of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Greater Worcester Community Foundation, 25 “promising new professionals” connected through their various professional and personal backgrounds to talk about the future of Worcester — and quite honestly, they couldn’t have selected a better group of motivated, strong-minded and opinionated individuals.

On a mission to keep us all inspired up to the last minute — after months of skills development, training and networking — our final project was to sum up our experience in a six-word memoir. After a few minutes of debating and battling to bring the program full circle in only a few words, I stumbled upon my “ah-ha!” moment.

I realized Leadership Worcester was never really about building leaders. Instead, for me, it was about helping existing leaders learn to collaborate with others, to be the change we want to see.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The one dedicated to mom, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

A Mother’s Journey [Part 43]: The road less traveled

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Entrepreneurs can be viewed as larger-than-life characters. Always fighting against the preconceived notions of society and breaking the confining molds of the status quo.

While entrepreneurs may seem to be a group of outliers with hard-to-duplicate qualities, the truth is, entrepreneurs embody the same traits as the rest of the world. We just put them to use.

Creativity. Imagination. Risk-taking. Vision. These are traits we are all born with.

As children, we thrive on imagination and creating worlds of our own, and we succeed as novice risk-takers because our vision and goals are clear.

Children tend to live simply. No over-complications. Our dreams are big, our passions are pure and our ideas are innovative. But something happens between childhood and adulthood that changes our view of what we consider possible.

That world of possibility is the underlying motivator for entrepreneurs.

It is the silent reminder that all things are possible. “All things are within reach, if you are willing to work for it,” can be the staple slogan for entrepreneurship, but these ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Working hard, using creativity and taking risk for the sake of our own personal improvement must be a model implemented in all walks of life and not only on the path of entrepreneurship.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The accidental perspective, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

A Mother’s Journey [Part 40]: The stress test

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

I recently shared on Facebook an article by Inc. magazine titled “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship” and it led to a serious discussion about the demons within the entrepreneurial spirit.

Throughout this series for Worcester Sun, I have written often in broad terms about the struggles of entrepreneurship while being sure to highlight the many positives. I have boasted about the ability to take back my time. Above all things, I consistently try to impress upon my readers that entrepreneurship has been a savior for me.

It is a lifeline that can change everything — but after reading this article, I realized that entrepreneurship is not the hero in everyone’s story.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The parent trap, or scroll down to explore more of her story

Worcester Sun, Feb. 12-18: Mariano tallies sanctuary city votes, tells us what he thinks + much more

Where do we start? How about in the future: What if … Worcester is back with a very legal alien returning home. Sinacola on immigration policy. Hitch on Worcester’s snow policy. A Sunday conversation with author Nick Duffy, a Grafton Hill up-and-comer. Nothing like a little Sun to burn off those winter blues — so here’s the Feb. 12-18 edition of Worcester Sun.

A Mother’s Journey [Part 35]: The resolution revolution

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one, a full-fledged director of a nonprofit tutoring collaborative that began officially in late January but has transformed considerably since. During her journey she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Soon after the confetti hits the floor, most New Year’s resolutions fail. The longing for more productive days, skinnier jeans and better health typically dissipates by the time January turns to February, therefore I have resolved to stop making New Year’s resolutions.

I mean, do I want to be more productive and fit into skinnier jeans, all while trying to rule the world? Of course — but I know conjuring a resolution isn’t going to make that happen.

Most people seem like they want to take on the new year as if it were a completely clean slate. They view it as an opportunity to finally take on life’s biggest challenges — as if the changing calendar will change your attitude. To me, the new year doesn’t represent a clean slate at all; it’s just a simple continuation of the last. It is an illusion of time, this great dividing line, leading many to believe “this is the year” they will be able to accomplish anything.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The gift of reflection, or scroll down to explore more of her story

Giselle, with her daughters, Brooklyn, left, and Evian, push their new Woopreneur swag.

A Mother’s Journey [Part 33]: The original ‘Woopreneur’

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one, a full-fledged director of a nonprofit tutoring collaborative that began officially in late January but has transformed considerably since. During her journey she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Giselle Rivera-Flores

When people find themselves pulled in a million directions, it is often difficult to stop for a moment and reflect on your journey. When you have your eye on the prize, nothing else matters.

Lack of sleep and tough-to-navigate schedules become part of the plan. Eventually, it feels natural. People ask me for advice all the time. They ask about the nitty gritty of social media and marketing, but the question I’m asked most often is, “How do you have time for everything?”

Although from the outside looking in this all seems like organized chaos, the answer is simple:

This is my life.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter: The network effect Or scroll down for more

A Mother’s Journey [Part 28]: The great debate

Editor’s note: Since last September, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one, a full-fledged director of a nonprofit tutoring collaborative that began officially in late January but has transformed considerably since. During her journey she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Giselle Rivera-Flores

William Shakespeare might have been a fan of The Learning Hub. Among the many things he’s remembered for writing or saying was this nugget: “to climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.” That is how The Learning Hub intends to grow. Not all at once, but with each step.

While I feel The Hub has an immense level of potential to skyrocket, I continue to promote our brand and work steadily to make it more about quality than quantity. At first, anyway. Like the nature vs. nurture debate, the quality vs. quantity question has been held as a pivotal point in determining the early success of a business.

Many argue for better quality — to me, pushing out bad material, products or services into the market is uncalled for — while others support the notion that quantity — or market share — is the biggest component of success. Promotion, promotion, promotion! Putting your business out for the world to see is said to be the most effective way of launching a successful venture.


Catch up with Giselle’s most recent chapter, The Book of Hub, or scroll down to begin from earlier in her inspiring quest.


Worcester Sun, Sept. 11-17: In this issue

Worcester takes the lead on early voting … and brothers from Doherty likely to become football stars. Richard Nangle and Joe Parello have the stories. We reflect on 9/11, Juan Gomez and CENTRO, and the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team. Another chapter in Giselle Rivera-Flores’s business-building journey, Gary Johnson, Aleppo, the drought and much more in your Sept. 11-17 Worcester Sun.

Worcester Sun, Aug. 28-Sept. 3: In this issue

Ryan Canuel just might be a force of nature, but we corralled him for a story on his fast-rising startup Petricore. We have news on Kevin Mensah and Holy Name football. Hitch takes a walk with John Fresolo, our editorial takes a walk to the school bus stop, and Sinacola runs headlong into the disruptive economy. All those and your regular favorites, including Giselle’s latest chapter and Worcester Weekly, in your Aug. 28-Sept. 3 Worcester Sun.