LionsPride Assistant: admin support for small businesses
Owner credits mentor for path to success
In 2013, Wendy Hernández decided to leave her career in education to pursue a budding new idea — the creation of LionsPride Assistant, a company specializing in business counseling and administrative support. Today, Hernández has clients all over the United States — from South Carolina to Ohio to Boston’s Back Bay. She even hopes to expand globally.
“I work with small business owners, philanthropists and entrepreneurs,” Hernández tells the Banner. “I brand myself as their executive assistant. A lot of small businesses, and philanthropists in particular, do not need an admin assistant full time. So my business provides the support for small businesses that need administrative support but not on a full time level.”
Besides administrative support, her company provides event and meeting coordination, writing services and social media management.
Hernández says that she owes her entire career to Dr. Lindsa McIntyre, the current High School Superintendent of Boston Public Schools and Hernández’s mentor. Hernández worked alongside McIntyre for 10 years. As McIntyre’s administrative assistant, she was introduced to high profile business owners, philanthropists and executives.
“They would say to me, ‘I need someone like you,’ and Lindsa would say, ‘Well, you can’t have her!’” Hernández says.
McIntyre eventually gave her blessing, says Hernández. She decided to chase her dreams, secure in the knowledge that she could return to education if her plan didn’t work out. Now, Hernández says, people in her community always joke, “Oh, you have Wendy as an assistant? I do too.”
“It’s become like, ‘Oh, if you’re a small business and you need an executive assistant, call Wendy,” says Hernández. “I think that in my case, like I said, I was fortunate because I had that connection, but there is definitely a need for small businesses to connect with high profile business owners and just people in general.”
Hernández says that as an entrepreneur, she likes to work on things that haven’t been designed yet, especially when using her knowledge and abilities to modify her approach for different clients. “I love the initial stake of starting the business,” she says. She gains satisfaction from problem-solving and trying to figure out what works best for a certain industry.
Hernández also notes that she works with a lot of black-owned and minority-owned businesses. “I feel very connected to that, as a woman of color myself,” she says. According to a 2016 study from the City of Boston, over 20,000 Dominicans live in Boston. Hernández is one of them.
“There are not a lot of people that do this in the Boston area that are of color,” she says. “So that to me is why it’s important to have that representation of people that look like me, that are able to work with high profile people that are also people of color.”
Hernández notes that there are significant barriers that prevent people of color from networking with wealthy individuals. “How do you get into the circle of wealth if you don’t have the connections?” she asks. Hernández says that she wouldn’t have even been able to meet high-profile people, let alone work with them, had it not been for her mentor.
“When I first started, no one knew me,” she says. “They were like, ‘Who is this person?’ but because [McIntyre] vouched for me, I was able to get in with people that I otherwise would not have been able to.”
Hernández hopes to continue LionsPride’s expansion, and she expressed gratitude for working with “awesome, amazing, brilliant minds that trust me to handle their operation and their day-to-day things.” She says that some of her clients have been featured in Forbes Magazine, and working with them on a daily basis is “so humbling.”
LionsPride’s name has a double meaning. On one hand, a group of lions is called a “pride,” and Hernández says she feels like she’s the mother lion caring for her pack. She also says her astrological sign is Leo, which represents certain values.
“There are three things that I stand for, that my business stands for: honesty, loyalty and integrity,” she says. “So when I think of clients that I want to work with … if there isn’t integrity, I will not work with them.”
Looking forward, Hernándezsays she may begin training employees to work as administrative assistants as well. “I am so busy. And I would love to connect with other people that want to do this,” she says. “I would love to train them and be able to offer my services to more people. You know, kind of like, clone myself in a way.”
Hernández grew up in Boston’s foster care system, she says, and is certain she wouldn’t be in this position had it not been for her mentor. “I think that what I would like to say is how important it is to have mentors, because she helped me have that confidence to be able to talk to people of wealth,” she says. “I did not grow up with that, and because [McIntyre] took an interest in me, and she being a woman of color herself, that really opened a lot of doors for me.”