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MEET EGBI CLIENT – MARIA DOMINGUEZ

By Marisol Klauer

Maria Dominguez was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. Her mother migrated to Texas with her and her three siblings when she was just nine years old. She attended Texas State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, majoring in Bilingual Education in 2007.  Mrs. Maria received her EC-4 Bilingual Certification from the state of Texas in December 2007. In 2008, Mrs. Maria began her career as a Kindergarten teacher and became school director three years later.  While working at the preschool she joined the graduate program at Texas State University and on May 2012 she graduated with a Master’s degree in Bilingual Bicultural Education and a minor in Educational Leadership. Receiving DACA gave her the opportunity to begin working at Rodriguez Elementary as a Pre-K Bilingual Teacher and and a few years later she became a First Grade Bilingual Teacher. A few years later Maria became a Certified School Counselor in May 2018 and had the opportunity to work as a school counselor at Elgin Elementary school.

Due to her contribution in her classroom and in her community, Mrs. Maria was honored at the White House in the summer of 2016, as a DACAmented Teacher Champion of Change. She was also awarded Bilingual Teacher of the Year by the Austin Area Association for Bilingual Education in May 2017. She was also awarded Campus Teacher of the Year at Rodriguez Elementary School in 2016.

Maria founded Cielito Lindo Spanish Immersion Preschool in December 2019, expanding to a second location in November of 2021. Since then, Mrs. Maria has been the owner/director managing both locations. She plans to continue providing a multilingual education for young children and enhancing her program to provide a high quality early childhood education. 

Maria shares her experience as a client of EGBI.

Do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I used to be in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) when I was in High School and in my senior year I was the group commander 🙂


How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I first got involved when I was working at preschool in 2009, I believe. I found out about EGBI through FB, the ad said something like, do you want to start your own business and are you interested in learning how to do it. So I decided to attend the series of workshops and I actually completed the program and graduated in the fall of that year.  My dream had always been, since I was a little girl, to become a teacher and have my own school. I used to be the teacher in my neighborhood when I lived in Mexico and then when I came to the United States at the age of 9 years old. 


Why is it important to support organizations such as EGBI?

It’s important to help organizations like EGBI because they actually do what they say they do. They support small businesses by providing mentorship and workshops on taxes, business plan, marketing, loans, etc. depending on your income, they will only charge you a portion of what the classes are and many times they are free. They have a huge network and are always willing to help you connect with the right people that can help grow and improve your business. 


How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

It has help grow my knowledge of how to run my business. With their guidance and business classes, they have helped me feel more confident to be able to make the right decisions for our business and our Cielito Lindo Preschool families. I look forward to continuing working with EGBI in the future. All of the staff is awesome!! I am not sure what I would’ve done without their support. Cielito Lindo SIP has been blessed by having the opportunity to work with an such a great organization like EGBI. 

Want to get involved ? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI Volunteer – Kitty Bird

By Marisol Klauer

“Wouldn’t it be great if…” is by far the most common thing out of my mouth, which is usually followed up with some outrageous idea I’ve concocted in that moment. It’s true I was once labeled “an idea machine”. Always looking for that inspiration, that connection, that key moment that brings something to light. Photography is a passion of mine that does just that. Connecting with people can be so inspiring; and yes, I can be an enthusiast on just about any topic. Let’s talk!

Been a Texan since 2004 and the amazing landscape and tiny towns are becoming an essential part of my DNA. I’m currently hosting guests in Austin, Leakey and Concan Texas, photographing the lifestyle and heartbeat of small businesses and pushing the fair-trade movement with Ten Thousand Villages. 

Kitty shares her experience as a volunteer with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I coordinated and am part of the Guinness Book Of World records for the largest singing bowl ensemble through Ten Thousand Villages.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I answered a volunteer ad because I wanted experience in shooting for small businesses. 

Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

To meet people and use my talents to help them. I also wanted to expand my portfolio as a photographer.

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

Just meeting Monica from EGBI has helped a ton! She encouraged me in areas that I didn’t realize were important. Now I have experience in working with small business’ owners and can expand my portfolio to include commercial photography. Plus, I’ve met so many wonderful people who have used EGBI’s services. It’s a community of incredibly warm, friendly, and giving people. 

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

CONOCE A NUESTRO VOLUNTARIO DE EGBI – KITTY BIRD

Por Marisol Klauer

“¿No sería genial si…?” es lo más común que sale de mi boca, que suele ir seguido de alguna idea escandalosa que he inventado en ese momento. Es cierto que una vez me dijeron soy como “una máquina de ideas”. Siempre buscando esa inspiración, esa conexión, ese momento clave que saca algo a la luz. La fotografía es mi pasión que hace precisamente eso. Conectarse con la gente puede ser muy inspirador; y sí, yo puedo ser un entusiasta de casi cualquier tema. ¡Hablemos!

He sido tejana desde 2004 y el increíble paisaje y los pequeños pueblos se hicieron una parte esencial de mi ADN. Actualmente recibo invitados en Austin, Leakey y Concan Texas, fotografío el estilo de vida y el corazón de las pequeñas empresas e impulsé el movimiento de comercio justo con Ten Thousand Villages.

Kitty comparte su experiencia como voluntaria en EGBI y cómo tú también puedes involucrarte.

Para empezar, ¿te importaría contarnos un dato divertido sobre ti?

Coordiné y soy parte del Libro Guinness de los récords mundiales para el conjunto de cuencos cantores más grande a través de Ten Thousand Villages.

¿Cómo se involucró por primera vez con EGBI?

Respondí a un anuncio de voluntariado porque quería experiencia en fotografiar para pequeñas empresas.

¿Por qué eres voluntario de EGBI?

Para conocer gente y usar mis talentos para ayudarlos. También quería ampliar mi cartera como fotógrafo.

¿Cómo te ha ayudado tu participación en EGBI a crecer profesional y personalmente?

¡Solo conocer a Mónica de EGBI me ha ayudado muchísimo! Ella me animó en áreas que no me di cuenta eran importantes. Ahora tengo experiencia trabajando con propietarios de pequeñas empresas y puedo ampliar mi cartera para incluir fotografía comercial. Además, he conocido a tantas personas maravillosas que han utilizado los servicios de EGBI. Es una comunidad de personas increíblemente cálidas, amigables y generosas.

Traducido al español por Marisol Klauer. Para leer el artículo en inglés, haga clic aquí.

How To Promote Your Business on Alignable

Are you starting your own business? Do you want to know if anyone around you is too?

Alignable is an online network that connects small business owners. It is a US-based company that went public in 2014. Now, it has more than 7 million members.

Imagine a LinkedIn but specifically, for micro and small business owners.

Here is what Alignable can help you with:

Make connections with other business owners

Alignable is meant to act as an “ice breaker” for this community by helping you make connections, post about your business, and refer others. You can announce new events or product lines to all your contacts at once.  

You can also create and join groups to connect with other business owners that have similar interests. When you first join, Alignable adds you to a community that includes the businesses in your general area.

This makes it easy for other owners in your area to seek out your business and vice versa. Once you establish a connection with each other, you can continue it through Alignable.

Contribute to your local community

Alignable is great to get you in contact with business owners in your local community.

It spans about 5 to 10 towns in your area and you can personalize your connections by specifying who you want to connect with.

These might be potential customers and partners!

Here are 3 Steps to Promoting Your Business on Alignable:

Step 1: Figure out the logistics

You need your post to communicate your event or announcement clearly. What is the title of your announcement? What is the date and time of your event? Who is it for? What are you promoting?

Step 2: Create art for your post

Unique social media art is a big part of catching your audience. Make sure your message is clear and the color palette is simple. Your design should be something that you stop scrolling to take a look.

Step 3: Share your post

Below is a list of all the different functions on Alignable. You are able to click what kind of post you want to share so your potential consumers can understand your post’s purpose.

The main difference between Alignable and LinkedIn is that it’s more casual. Since it connects you from town to town, it feels close knit.

If you want to contribute to your local community and connect with other small business owners in your area, Alignable might be good for you.

Small businesses deserve the spotlight too.

See if Alignable is a good complimentary platform for you.  

Meet EGBI Client – Luis Salinas

By Marisol Klauer

Luis Salinas is the owner of 24hr Passports and Visa Services. Born and raised in Austin, he graduated from St Edwards University with a degree in Business Administration in May 2021. He started his passport expediting business in April 2022 and has been in business for over 7 months. Luis says EGBI has been instrumental in his business’ success and has helped him every step of the way.

Luis shares his experience as a client of EGBI.

Do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I started my first business when I was 8 yrs old. I sold glow sticks and toys to kids at events where my mom was the photographer.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I got involved with EGBI through a friend’s recommendation, who was also a business owner. He told me how much of a positive influence EGBI has had on his business and convinced me to check it out.

Why is it important to support organizations such as EGBI?

It’s important to support organizations like EGBI because they support the wellbeing of our community, as well as foster economic growth and advancement.

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

My involvement with EGBI gave me the confidence to start my business and take a leap of faith. Thanks to them, I finally got the ball rolling.

Why is it important to learn information in your primary language?

Spanish is my first language and I believe it’s very important to embrace your roots. I was born in the U.S. and have lived here my entire life, but my parents are originally from Mexico. They would only allow me to speak Spanish at home and instilled a very deep sense of pride for my Mexican heritage. That is why I embrace learning in Spanish, and why I continue to develop my ability to communicate with others that share the same language.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI Clients – Owners Of Natural Healing Wellness Co.

By Marisol Klauer

Christina worked in Social Work for more than a decade and earned a Master of Science from UT-Austin. Christina then went on to work for the next decade serving the mentally ill population in various agencies in Austin.  Though she thoroughly enjoyed supporting her clients and empowering their agency for change, she felt she needed to transition to living her dharma by teaching various aspects of Spirituality. During this time, Christina began to experience a spiritual awakening that transformed her view of the world and her role in it. Christina enjoys spending time in nature so you can find her on the hiking trails in Austin.

Aaron Gobert is also a University of Texas-Austin Alumni, who previously worked as an Audio Engineer with his own record company, “ATX Recording”. Aaron later pursued a career in the medical industry and worked for various agencies in the Austin area. During this time, Aaron began to educate himself about the Alkaline lifestyle and its benefits. Aaron went on to share this valuable information with Christina and they founded Natural Healing Wellness Co. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys educating others about genetics and human history.

Christina shares her experience as a client of EGBI.

Do you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

My husband and I are both University of Texas Alumni.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I attended one of Monica’s Marketing classes online first. Then I started coaching with her and took the 90 day goals course later.

Why is it important to support organizations such as EGBI?

I love the work that EGBI is doing to support small businesses in Austin. Starting a business is a challenging task, but it is nice to know I can call Monica or Joni to point me in the right direction.

How has EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

EGBI has helped me to step out of comfort zone in advertising my business and reaching my goals.

I especially loved the 90 day goal course. Though I did not reach all my goals, I was able to create some serious momentum that propelled my business forward, in a way I may not have accomplished on my own.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

CONOCE A NUESTRO CLIENTE DE 24HR PASSPORTS Y VISA SERVICES – LUIS SALINAS

Por Marisol Klauer

Luis Salinas es el propietario de 24hr Passports and Visa Services. Nacido y criado en Austin, se graduó de la Universidad de St Edwards con un título en Administración de Empresas en mayo de 2021. Comenzó su negocio de expedición de pasaportes en abril de 2022 y ha estado en el negocio por más de 7 meses. Luis dice que EGBI ha sido fundamental en el éxito de su negocio y lo ha ayudado en cada paso del camino.

Luis comparte su experiencia como cliente de EGBI.

Para empezar, ¿te importaría contarnos un dato curioso sobre ti?

Comencé mi primer negocio cuando tenía 8 años. Vendí barritas luminosas y juguetes a niños en eventos en los que mi madre era la fotógrafa.

¿Cómo se involucró por primera vez con EGBI?

Me involucré con EGBI a través de la recomendación de un amigo, quien también era propietario de un negocio. Me dijo cuánta influencia positiva ha tenido EGBI en su negocio y me convenció de que lo investigara.

¿Por qué es importante apoyar a organizaciones como EGBI?

Es importante apoyar a organizaciones como EGBI porque apoyan el bienestar de nuestra comunidad, así como también fomentan el crecimiento y el progreso económico.

¿Cómo te ha ayudado tu participación en EGBI a crecer profesional y personalmente?

Mi participación en EGBI me dio la confianza para comenzar mi negocio y dar un salto de fe. Gracias a ellos, finalmente puse la pelota en marcha.

¿Por qué es importante aprender información en su idioma principal?

El español es mi primer idioma y creo que es muy importante abrazar tus raíces. Nací en los Estados Unidos y he vivido aquí toda mi vida, pero mis padres son originalmente de México. Solo me permitían hablar español en casa y me dieron un sentimiento muy profundo de orgullo por mi herencia mexicana. Es por eso que acepte aprender en español y por eso sigo desarrollando mi habilidad para comunicarme con otras personas que comparten el mismo idioma.

Traducido al español por Marisol Klauer. Para leer el artículo en inglés, haga clic aquí.

CONOCE A NUESTROS CLIENTES DE NATURAL HEALING AND WELLNESS CO – CHRISTINA Y AARON

Por Marisol Klauer

Christina trabajó en Asistencia Social durante más de una década y obtuvo una Maestría de Ciencias en UT-Austin. Christina luego pasó a trabajar durante la próxima década sirviendo a la gente con enfermedades mentales en varias agencias en Austin. Aunque disfrutó muchísimo apoyar a sus clientes y empoderando su agencia para el cambio, sintió que necesitaba hacer la transición para vivir su “dharma” enseñando varios aspectos de la espiritualidad. Durante este tiempo, Christina comenzó a experimentar un despertar espiritual que transformó su visión del mundo y su papel en él. Christina disfruta pasar tiempo en la naturaleza, así que puedes encontrarla en las senderos para excursionistas de Austin.

Aaron Gobert también es un ex alumno de la Universidad de Texas-Austin, que anteriormente trabajó como ingeniero de audio en su propia compañía discográfica, “ATX Recording”. Posteriormente, Aaron siguió una carrera en la industria médica y trabajó para varias agencias en el área de Austin. Durante ese tiempo, Aaron comenzó a informarse sobre el estilo de vida alcalino y sus beneficios. Aaron compartió esta valiosa información con Christina y fundaron Natural Healing Wellness Co. En su tiempo libre, Aaron disfruta educar a otros sobre genética e historia humana.

Christina comparte su experiencia como cliente de EGBI.

Para empezar, ¿te importaría contarnos un dato curioso sobre ti?

Mi esposo y yo somos ex alumnos de la Universidad de Texas.

¿Cómo se involucró por primera vez con EGBI?

Primero tuve una de las clases de Marketing de Mónica en línea. Luego comencé a entrenar con ella y luego tomé el curso de objetivos de 90 días.

¿Por qué cree que es importante dedicar su tiempo al voluntariado con EGBI?

Me encanta el trabajo que está haciendo EGBI para apoyar a las pequeñas empresas en Austin. Comenzar un negocio es una tarea dificil, pero es bueno saber que puedo llamar a Monica o Joni para que me indiquen la dirección correcta.

¿Cómo te ha ayudado tu participación en EGBI a crecer profesional y personalmente?

EGBI me ha ayudado a salir de la zona de confort al promocionar mi negocio y alcanzar mis objetivos.

Me encantó especialmente el curso de objetivos de 90 días. Aunque no alcancé todos mis objetivos, pude crear un impulso serio que avanzo mi negocio hacia adelante, de una manera que quizás no hubiera logrado por mi cuenta.

Traducido al español por Marisol Klauer. Para leer el artículo en inglés, haga clic aquí.

Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Aamir Kutianawala

By Alison Flangel

Meet Aamir Kutianawala, a summer program intern at EGBI. Aamir has been working with EGBI for the summer. He is a rising junior at Westwood High School and would like to go more into business/marketing as he progresses with his education. Outside of school and EGBI, Aamir is part of his school’s debate team, robotics team, DECA team, and various others as well. He loves playing and watching sports in his free time, and has also been pursuing guitar on the side!

Aamir shares his experience as a volunteer with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I have been learning to play the guitar for 3 years.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I have been working on a variety of tasks, but mainly help clients/business owners with finances and marketing. I also provide broad support by making lectures for entire groups of clients, along with helping to complete any general tasks.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

I think it’s important to work with EGBI to support disadvantaged business owners, and help bridge the gap with underrepresented groups in business.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been taking and editing pictures for a client’s Etsy shop.

“EGBI helps you make a difference in the community.”– Aamir Kutianawala

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Shamitha Ramanan

By Alison Flangel

Hi! My name is Shamitha and I have been with EGBI for a month now and it has been an enriching experience. I am an incoming senior at Westwood High School, and as my education progresses, I hope to pursue a degree in finance or management. Outside of EGBI, I am in my school’s orchestra, Academy Ambassador program, GenShe, and several other clubs and honor societies.

Shamitha shares her experience as an intern with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

A fun fact about me is that I grew up mainly in London, England, and California.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I mainly do research and analysis for clients’ businesses to see where they can improve financially. I’ve also recently worked on importing and exporting goods, bookkeeping, and more.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

EGBI allows you to connect with people from all kinds of different backgrounds and changes your perspective on business and the world around you.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been attending the 90 Days business workshop. I’ve been able to connect with a lot of different people and learn about their businesses and inspirations. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with them one-on-one to help expand their businesses.  

“EGBI provides you the opportunity to learn new skills, communicate, and network.” – Shamitha Ramanan

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.