Martha Hernandez is the founder of madeBOS, a platform that makes talent selection and development more effective by empowering employees (especially those in entry-level, low-wage jobs) to drive their own careers.
In the early days of starting madeBOS, Martha often sat up late at night, wondering if she’d made the right choice by leaving her cushy corporate job as an executive in talent acquisition to build her own business.
She knew the numbers were stacked against her, with female CEOs receiving a dismal 2.7 percent of all venture capital, but she didn’t let that stop her. Martha knew she had the qualifications and resilience to make it happen. “People constantly underestimate me. They look at me and think ‘no way you’ve done all of this in your career.’ But I get things done.”
In her previous job at California’s largest privately owned Latino retailer at the time, she saw firsthand how investing in employees can make a positive difference. She turned that inside knowledge into madeBOS.
Before she left her job, Hernandez told her boss about her idea. “I said to her, I want to develop an app that will change the way people plan their careers.”
Surprisingly, her boss supported her. “What people don’t always understand is that thriving companies win because their leaders support remarkably loyal employees; even if it’s only for six months, they know the impact will be incredibly significant to the bottom line.”
Not long after leaving, Hernandez got her first round of capital. With equity crowdfunding, she raised $89,000, primarily from first time investors. “The campaign proved that our community is more than just consumers, they are investors and willing to take a risk. We just need to give them more opportunities to do so.”
Raising my son Joaquin (9 years old) and building madeBOS has been interesting. He jokes that if I retire, he will take over as CEO. It fulfills me to hear Joaquin speak of himself as a company CEO; I began madeBOS because I want people like Joaquin to pursue career aspirations that are rewarding and financially sustainable.
I sing! Two years ago, I began pursuing my passion for singing and songwriting. A few months ago, I performed at the Mexican version of Coachella in Central California. I am now singing with a Mariachi band.
It doesn’t matter where you come from, even if it is a humble beginning. Hard work and determination will take you a long way.