A life learner, business coach, philanthropist, polyglot and a successful Latina entrepreneur, Marcela Zuchovicki, CEO and Founder of Jalima & Associates, not only speaks Spanish, Portuguese English, French and German but she also runs a global management and advisory firm specializing in finances for small businesses.
What is the secret of her success? Marcela’s guiding principle that has allowed her to climb the arduous corporate world has been her father’s message, “Never go to bed without learning something new.”
A citizen of the world
Born in Argentina but raised in Mexico by a father who was an engineer and a mother who was a holocaust survivor, Marcela grew up in a middle class family and was expected to do well.
She completed her bachelor’s degree in actuarial science in 1987 and at that time, she was the youngest actuary at age 24.
Inspired by her mother’s philanthropic character, while studying mathematics and actuary at the Universidad Anahuac Mexico Norte, she served as tutor for under privileged children and adults living in dire circumstances in Mexico.
Her charity work did not end there, in fact it was just beginning; she later joined UNICEF and as a volunteer served on many missions in Central America.
Marcela Zuchovicki finds the path to entrepreneurship
However, she did not venture into the world of business until much later in life. It was only after she moved to NYC with her husband, an accomplished musician, that she became intimately familiar with the corporate world.
She recognized then she had the qualities to become a successful entrepreneur. While her husband was constantly on the move with his music business, she realized that it would be a lot easier if she started her own company. Initially she catered to individual musicians who wanted advice on finance management but later on, her consulting blossomed into a full time career. Her name became synonymous with honesty and trustworthiness and this led her to establish Jalima & associated in 2007.
Today Jalima & Associates offers bookkeeping services and expert financial advice to help both large and small businesses build a better infrastructure. The company also helps independent professionals make smart business decisions so that they can run their companies systemically and effectively.
Venturing in the world of business
Looking back, Marcela Zuchovicki states that success was a chance event. She had always been supportive of her musician husband whereabouts and during one of these travels, she realized she had a lot to offer to the corporate world.
In 2009, Marcela enrolled at the Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative at Rutgers University and realized there was an enormous potential for a business coach in the world of finance. However, just armed with a certificate did not immediately result in any gain.
While success did come eventually to Marcela, she also faced some obstacles during the initial phase. The biggest obstacle was finding clients for her business. She was a relative unknown in the world of business coaching.
In the late 2000, there was a global recession and people were not too trusting of financial officers. She overcame this hurdle by offering to volunteer in many practices in her community and soon word spread around that Marcela was genuinely interested in the welfare of her clients.
How Marcela Zuchovicki achieved success
Marcela has always attributed part of her success to her Actuary background and having studied in many countries, which allowed her to appreciate and understand different cultures and value their needs.
At the end of the day, her greatest joy comes from the fact that her clients have succeeded through Jalima Principles. In fact, Jalima has purchased a proprietary program called Jalima Colors, an invaluable tool for understanding differences in personality and temperament. During her workshops, Jalima Colors are used to analyze clients and help them understand and interact with others.
When she is not working, Marcela is involved with many charities and still lends her hands as a volunteer. In 2014, Marcela was recognized as one of Top 25 Entrepreneurs of Leading Women Entrepreneurs and was awarded the 2014 George Perrott Macculloch Award for Leadership by AJC, a Jewish advocacy group, for her history and contributions as an immigrant entrepreneur.
Advice for other Latinas who want to succeed as entrepreneurs
Marcela’s advice is simple, “Be focused, master the subject, and understand the pitfalls. Each one of us has the potential to do something extraordinary, no matter how much society is shifting or how different we think about everything,” Marcela stated recently. “I want to thank the USA for letting me call it my home. Being an American is a special gift and I’m very grateful for it.”