By Korey Wilson
In the mind of Vincent Velasquez, effective business leaders do more than just lead.
They not only see the big picture but are willing to get their hands dirty in the performance of day-to-day operations.
Velasquez has been rolling up his sleeves since the age of sixteen when he launched his first business.
With the help of his best friend, Strato Doumanis, the two created Hurricane Productions—a music business that provided DJs for neighborhood parties.
“We both liked music and thought this would be a way for people to trust us to do something for them,” he says.
The early experience taught him the basics of running a business, and he continued to grow the company while working toward a bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Rutgers University.
Velasquez contacted publications, looking to put his journalism skills to work.
“I sent out blind emails to all the sports editors around New Jersey, and I said, ‘I’ll do anything for an opportunity to work in journalism,’” he says.
His determination led to a job answering phones at The Star Ledger. He used this opportunity to learn the business of media.
Soon afterward, Velasquez started writing for the newspaper. Eventually, he became a key component of the paper’s dive into digital media, serving as the lead designer of the paper’s online sports section, producing hundreds of videos for the website, and leading the newsroom’s social media efforts.
Velasquez evolved Hurricane Productions into a live special-events company, specializing in music and photography for large-scale events.
He then used his digital marketing skills to fuel his second venture, MediaCutlet, a full-service marketing group dedicated to creating marketing campaigns for companies looking to build their digital marketing presence.
MediaCutlet landed clients such as Seton Hall University and Rutgers University. Between the two businesses, Velasquez leads a team of five full-time employees and twenty-five independent contractors.
Being his own boss has been both rewarding and challenging. Through the challenges, he learned the importance of relying on his instincts and owning his decisions.
As a millennial of color with strong business acumen, Velasquez dreams of being a thought leader and shining example for future entrepreneurs.
“I’m starting to recognize the landscape of what I’ve created and the ways I can help other people. I’m at the point where I feel very confident in what I accomplished. But now, I want to see who else can I bring with me.”