Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, the multi-talented entrepreneur Gladys Henriquez '02 has always followed her passion despite any challenges. At the age of 14, Henriquez alongside her family faced a significant life-changing experience when they relocated from the Dominican Republic to Brooklyn, New York. Henriquez had to confront adjusting to a new school, neighborhood and a completely different language that she was never exposed to before.
What could have been an intimidating experience for a young teen was what sparked determination in Henriquez's life. Struggling to understand her classes, Henriquez often relied on her classmates to translate the teacher's instruction until she developed a better comprehension of the English language. With the support her family, friends and instructors offered her early in this transition, Henriquez was able to adapt to this new lifestyle adequately. Going into her senior year of high school, Henriquez had to relocate once again, this time to Newark, New Jersey. No stranger to change, the ambitious entrepreneur-to-be grabbed control of her senior year and graduated Berringer High School with super honor roll and an outstanding GPA that set the foundation for her Seton Hall education.
At The Hall, Henriquez was part of the second class of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations where she took advantage of all the resources the then new school had to offer. "My education at The Hall was global," Henriquez mentioned enthusiastically while sharing her study abroad experiences in Mexico, Luxembourg and France where she was able to become fluent in French. She got a head start in her career thanks to the Seton Hall Educational Opportunity Program in collaboration with INROADS, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing ethnically diverse employees in corporate management in the U.S., by landing her first paid internship with Western Union Global Marketing, "this was a very competitive internship and the hiring process took months," the Pirate commented, proud of her accomplishment. After graduating in 2002, Henriquez was offered a job with the company.
After working for several marketing agencies, Henriquez realized that her free spirit was always pursuing challenges beyond those the corporate environment had to offer her. She decided to leave her job to devote her time and marketing expertise to startup companies as a freelance multi-platform marketer. She was able to grow her business with great speed while maintaining the quality of her services. Driven by her enthusiasm for bringing her ideas to fruition, Henriquez is always working on new projects, she currently has two clothing collections: Anti-Bullying Clothing Co., which targets children with friendly messages to fight bullying, and Know My Rights Clothing Co., which looks to bring awareness to human rights. Henriquez is inspired by the sociopolitical challenges of today's society, "education is the way to fight injustice and I am committed to do my part to raise awareness." Determined to continue to do her part, Henriquez is also working to educate the youth, developing a book collection for children featuring stories about mindfulness, self-confidence and gender equality.
When she's not working on her next project, Henriquez spends time volunteering for different causes and teaching about entrepreneurship. Recently she was part of Defy Ventures' "Shark Tank-like" program that focuses on helping former inmates start a successful business. As a notable entrepreneur, she advises those considering the idea of becoming a freelancer to go for it, "if it is your passion, don't think about it and just do it," said Henriquez explaining that the biggest obstacle is being afraid of not being ready. She recommends minimum viable products that can develop with time.
A proud Pirate, Henriquez is thankful for her Seton Hall education and the opportunities it provided. She encourages all current students to be eager and to follow their dreams, "if you are passionate about what you do, you will succeed."
Gladys Henriquez is one of 100 alumni profiles Seton Hall Alumni Relations will feature this year in celebration of reaching an alumni network of 100,000. To read more about what great minds can do at Seton Hall, visit www.shu.edu/100K.