In early 2018, information technology project management expert, Jeannette L. Collazo, founded Lurdez Consulting Group as a boutique firm, aimed at offering services to one company at a time. By using this model, Collazo has turned the small IT company into a well reputable firm where clients can seek its services by name.
The mission of Lurdez Consulting Group is to get meaningful results for champion organizations relentless about innovation. The companies, which have worked with Lurdez Consulting Group, have benefitted from the experience, and continue to return as repeat clients.
Collazo is not just an experienced IT entrepreneur, but also a motivational speaker and author. She uses all of her incredible experiences to provide knowledge and insight for others.
Jeannette, you have over two decades of project management and bilingual expertise. First, could you tell us about your early career and how did you take the initiative in the IT field?
Before I decided to pursue my career in information technology, I was a very confused teenager, trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life. I thought about several careers such as joining the showbiz industry as an actress, then as an attorney. I ended up getting enrolled in accounting. Then, it took me one semester to realize that becoming an accountant was not meant to be for me. I then switched to information technology when I immediately discovered that it was my actual destiny. I am so grateful for that switch because IT has indeed been a blessing in my life.
What led you to the Lurdez Consulting Group company?
After almost 30 years in the IT Project Management field, I noticed there was a need to provide Project Management Services in a totally different way. I noticed that most consulting companies would place a resource to execute a series of tasks in a project, instead of leading a project. I also noticed they would force their resources into working on more than one project at a time to generate more profit, not allowing their resources to provide excellent customer service. From this observation I concluded that by placing resources that lead instead of following a series of tasks would add more value to my customers. I believe in doing everything you can to help a customer and if I limit my resources from actually leading a project, how can they fully satisfy the needs of the customer? Also, what will keep a resource motivated to stay working for my company? By following this approach not only have I been able to satisfy my customers, but I have been able to get repeated business. Lurdez Consulting Group is not focused on profit, but rather on providing the best consultancy services. The bottom line is, I founded Lurdez Consulting Group with the intention of providing services to clients where they could feel the added value, at reasonable cost.
As a company, what does Lurdez Consulting Group offer to its clients and how is it different from other IT firms?
Lurdez Consulting Group offers one hundred percent dedication to one client at a time. Contrary to larger organizations, we ensure our clients must have a skilled, trained project manager or engineers on site dedicated to a sole account, hence we do not split our resources into accounts.
Prior to founding Lurdez Consulting Group, Collazo had worked in management for a number of well-known companies. Since establishing Lurdez Consulting Group, Collazo has been wearing many different hats to get the small boutique firm to where it is today. Now, with over three years behind it, Collazo is expanding the company to reach more potential clients.
Could you tell us regarding the part you perform at Lurdez Consulting Group and what does it entail?
As a small company, I have played multiple roles at Lurdez Consulting Group. Not only because I have been attempting to expand the company, but also because I love to interact with my clients. I have been executing all my marketing efforts as well as all my accounting matters. This year, I started to delegate all administrative tasks, such as marketing, and I have taken the responsibility of finding efficient consultants to be part of Lurdez Consulting Group, thus I am able to offer the best to my customers. In short, my key role at Lurdez Consulting Group is to hire proficient personnel to represent the company. Having given my high standards, this is perhaps the foremost challenge for me at the moment. It is hard to find a resource that is knowledgeable to the field of IT, possesses customer service skills and could not easily run away from the demands of the field. IT is not a field for everyone but unfortunately people attempt to join the field because it is well paying. The people who wish to join Lurdez Consulting, have to be highly motivated, with the drive to learn and help our customers.
You have succeeded in a male-driven field, so what are some challenges for female entrepreneurs in an industry such as IT?
Great question! Yes, as a woman, I have been challenged to succeed in a male-driven field. The most common challenge has always been to prove that women are not always followers in a male-driven sector and that, although we may approach things differently, that different approach can also lead to success. I believe that my success in this field has been because I have always preferred to act rather than just talk to get the work done. By doing this, I have been able to prove that a woman can also be successful in the IT world or any other technical field.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs, seeking a career in IT or another high-level business field?
My generous advice for them is not to feel intimidated and understand that if there is a false belief that IT or any technical career is only for men, it is because somehow, society, at one point decided to make us believe that was the case. The career in IT is not any different than a career in coaching or healthcare. IT is a career for anyone, regardless of gender. As a woman, if you are a bit confused about any technical career, you should at least give it a shot. You might be surprised with what you would find out.
Collazo is not just an IT entrepreneur, but she is also a motivational speaker and author. She wrote the book, ‘T.E.A.M.: The IT Project Manager’s Secret Decoder for Increasing Relational Excellence’ and also contributed to the ‘Today’s Inspired Latina Vol. 4’ and ‘Latinas in
Aviation’ books. As a motivational speaker, Collazo uses her career experiences to help others achieve their goals in the business world.
Jeannette, you are not just the President and CEO of Lurdez Consulting Group, but also a successful motivational speaker and author. You have contributed to the book, ‘Today’s Inspired Latina Vol. 4′ and ‘Latinas in Aviation’ and are the sole author of ‘T.E.A.M.: The IT Project Manager’s Secret Decoder for Increasing Relational Excellence’. What led you to motivational speaking? What can people expect from a motivational lecture and how do you approach your engagements?
I decided to become a motivational speaker because I hoped that I would be able to share all my personal and career experiences to inspire, at least, one person’s life. I have always believed if I do that, I would certainly accomplish my goal.
My talks are very down to earth and based on my own personal experiences. I just share with the people what has worked for me to become successful in my life and my profession too.
My approach is to share the experience and let people determine if there is anything from what I share that resonates with them. Hopefully, my talks will turn on that light bulb within them and they will find clarity about anything they are facing in their lives at that time. I want people to comprehend that success is not a matter of luck but a matter of hard work and focus. It is also about being yourself and not trying to imitate somebody else.
Touching on your book, ‘T.E.A.M.: The IT Project Manager’s Secret Decoder for Increasing Relational Excellence’, can you tell us about it and why did you write this book?
‘T.E.A.M.: The IT Project Manager’s Secret Decoder for Increasing Relational Excellence’ is about how to work with different personalities, while managing a project. In the book, I have discussed the importance of relationships for the successful implementation of a project. After all, these resources are the ones who complete the projects and without the cooperation of all members of a team, no project can be successful. As a part of the book, I created a tool on my website (www.lurdezconsultinggroup.com) that is meant to assist project managers in figuring out the personality of the members of the team. I created this tool so that project managers could use it to break the ice into getting to know every member of their team. It is a fun thing to do and allows members to get familiar with each other, which in the end is crucial for the successful implementation of any project.
Collazo has been working in the IT field for the last two decades. She began with Deloitte Consulting and worked for a number of major companies. Collazo is also an official member of the Forbes Business Council. It is a membership that enables her to collaborate with other high-level professionals.
You started your career in 2000 with Deloitte Consulting. Prior to starting Lurdez Consulting Group, you had held some high-level positions with major companies. What lessons did you learn in the business world that prepared you and led to your success at Lurdez Consulting?
I believe that my success is a combination of a lot of things that I learned at different stages of my life. It started from my childhood when my parents taught me the importance of hard work and responsibility, then during my college years where I learned that maintaining a balance among school, work and social life were vital. Lastly while working in Corporate American and as a consultant for one of the Big 4 firms, that customer service and confidence in me were the key for obtaining respect from my clients. As an added bonus to my success, I always handled my career like I was running my own business.
In 2020 and 2021, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. How has the pandemic affected Lurdez Consulting Group and what are the company’s plans now that the vaccine is out and life is slowly moving back to where it was pre-COVID-19?
Yes indeed! We all have experienced something that we would have never thought we would. It has certainly been an eye opener for us, and most importantly an experience that I am hopeful people have learned a whole lot from and which also persuaded them to evolve.
Fortunately, Lurdez Consulting Group was one of those small companies that was able to continue to operate successfully during the pandemic. People in the IT world were key for the successful transition of working from an office into working from home. Therefore, Lurdez Consulting Group remained pretty busy during the pandemic. Now that this pandemic is hopefully ending, the work for IT continues to be of high demand because all those thousands of people that IT had to move from work to home, will have to move back from home to the office (most likely in a hybrid mode). That implies more work for IT. Also, technology has changed quite a bit since the pandemic and new technology will have to be introduced to allow corporations to work in a new environment successfully. In a nutshell, being part of the technology field, these days is in fact a positive thing in the years to come. The pandemic has forced corporations to adapt to new technology and in order to implement those technologies it will be necessary to have companies like Lurdez Consulting to execute all the work.
Jeannette, what is a day in your life like?
Great question. I am a planner and I try to plan my days to accomplish as much as I can, but as we all know, we do not live in a perfect world and consequently my day is never the same. I try to make the most out of every day, but I do not like the same routine. I try to balance my life with various activities such as flying airplanes, playing the piano, traveling, learning languages, and sharing time with friends and family including my little dog, Bentley.
Is there something which most people do not know about you?
I believe most people do not know that I am a pilot student and that my interest in aviation was never a dream I had as a child. People always take me as a tough woman who always accomplishes anything that she sets in her mind. Most people, who know me, do not understand that my struggles and fears are the same as anyone else’s and that the only difference is that I choose to conquer my fear instead of letting fear conquer me.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
This is an easy question for me.
“If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish all your dreams.”
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
As an added bonus: “I am Thankful, Grateful and Truly Blessed”
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
That only peace and love would exist in the world.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Yes. I believe that life is an incredible journey that has its ups and downs. The challenges that we face through our life help us grow and become the best versions of ourselves. They help us grow in Wisdom. Sharing such experiences is our legacy to pass on to others so that they could learn, be motivated, and perhaps find the answer to questions to fulfill their purpose.
Collazo has excelled in the IT sector and continues to grow Lurdez Consulting Group, taking it to new heights. As a female entrepreneur, Collazo has achieved many successes in a short time. As the head of one of the United States rising boutique IT firms, the sky’s the limit for the pilot student. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic slowing and an end in sight, Lurdez Consulting Group is ready for further growth in the industry.
Journalist and author. Contributor