LIB Member, Gladys Vonglahn shares how she reinvented her business post-COVID

Latinas in Business Member, Gladys Vonglahn, shares how the COVID-19 pandemic pushed her to adapt and reinvent her cleaning service business. 

Adapting and reinventing her business post-COVID 

reposting, brand, Gladys Cleaning Service

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Gladys is the owner and founder of Gladys’ Cleaning Service LLC, a professional commercial and residential cleaning service with more than 18 years experience in the cleaning industry. Originally from Chile and a first generation immigrant, Gladys came to the U.S. to make a difference in the cleaning industry and positively impact the lives of others. 

At Gladys’ Cleaning Service, their core values are integrity, honesty and excellence. “We take care of our clients’ as our own, leaving a legacy to our future generations,” says Gladys. 

Since March 2020, Gladys and her team have had to work hard to adapt to the changes in the cleaning industry brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We had to be resilient and implement new cleaning protocols to stay in business and make sure we are safe,” Gladys says, “Not only for ourselves, but also to give confidence to our clients requesting our services.” 

Their biggest obstacle initially was that almost 95% of their clients were in the residential sphere. This made it difficult to continue performing their services when statewide lockdowns began. Gladys and her team stopped working for a week and during that time Gladys realized that she needed to adapt now and hear the needs of the market. She also realized that there was now a tremendous need for cleaning services in the commercial market, an area she had been working to tap into for years. 

With not everyone able to work remotely, commercial spaces were now in most need of reliable cleaning services to keep their employees safe and healthy. Gladys was able to meet this need in the industry by repositioning her business to cater toward the commercial market. 

“The main lesson of this situation is that we have to listen to our clients’ needs and adapt our services to satisfy the existing needs in the market. These obstacles make you strong and help you to go to the next level,” says Gladys. 

repositioning, reinventing, adapt

Gladys Vonglahn at one of their commercial clients facilities. (Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Despite the setbacks brought on by the pandemic, Gladys says she is so happy to have the opportunity to expand and grow her business. 

“We are so proud to be an essential job. Before the pandemic people took the cleaning industry for granted and did not give them importance until having a clean and disinfected area was a priority for everybody. Now, owners of businesses and corporations need our services to keep their employees, clients, and facilities clean. Thanks to the pandemic people now value our job!” 

“Dream bigger and dare to do”

This ability to adapt and reinvent is one of Gladys’ strengths as a Latina business owner. She is resilient and has always loved a challenge. She believes every day is a new opportunity to positively impact the lives of others, whether that be by giving them cleaning solutions, blessing them with a job, or just sharing her story to motivate them to do something extraordinary. 

Mother's Day

Gladys with her family, who help her run her business. (Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

“God gave us unique abilities to each one of us to succeed in life,” she says. “My main message to other Latinas is trust in God, believe in yourself, do not let people tell you what you have to do, hear your entrepreneur voice and have your own experience. Even if you fail you gain an experience. You will be more prepared for the next adventure. Life is not easy but it is good to live it with integrity, honesty and excellence.” 

Gladys encourages other entrepreneurs to always keep sight of their mission and vision as if it were the first day they decided to be in business. As with everything in life, there will be struggles and obstacles, some as large as a global pandemic, but with resilience and the ability to adapt, anything is possible. 

“Dare to do,” says Gladys. “Work harder and be determined to take your business to the next level not only because you want a profit. Do it as a lifestyle to leave a legacy behind for the next generation. Dream bigger, be visionary and eager to fight for your success in whatever you do in life!” 


Repositioning her brand, Gladys Cleaning Services faces COVID-19

Repositioning her brand in the face of COVID-19, Gladys Vonglahn, founder of Gladys’ Cleaning Services, rapidly changed the understanding of her target market’s needs, and how she and her family had been affected by the pandemic. 


(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

As a wife, mother, and business owner Gladys Vonglahn had to make radical changes to her life as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. From repositioning her business model to managing her children’s school schedules and daily routines, the past few months have been a time of great change, but also a time for self-reinvention. 

Looking to the positives, Gladys found that these unprecedented times have allowed her to grow in new ways. 

“My life in general has been impacted by this pandemic,” she says, “But on the positive side, I have been able to reinvent myself and be reborn, both personally and professionally.”  

Repositioning her brand did not happen overnight

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Repositioning her brand was the answer for her business. Gladys’ Cleaning Services, was greatly affected by Covid-19 as it’s main client-base is in the residential sector. As panic began to set in during the first few weeks of the quarantine, many businesses were scrambling to stay afloat and find ways to adapt. Gladys, too, had to make some important decisions. How would she continue to run her business when the majority of her residential clients were now under quarantine? 

Luckily, Gladys has always been quick to adapt to unexpected circumstances. Over the past two years Gladys had already been in the process of networking and expanding her client-base to corporate and commercial areas. From obtaining her SBE/MBE/WBE certifications and certification by the Port Authority of NY and NJ as MWMB to the trademark of the name and logo of Gladys’ Cleaning Service, she has been constantly working to push her business into the corporate sphere.

It has been a two year process of constant work, networking, and connecting with others in the industry. Gladys has also been working to help newcomers in the industry as well by sharing her experiences and expertise through seminars and personal coaching sessions. All of these experiences helped prepare her for the pandemic which was the final push Gladys needed to fully reposition her business toward the commercial sector. 

She quickly used her resources to radically reposition her brand and do a complete 180. Utilizing her eighteen years of experience in the cleaning industry and networking connections, Gladys worked to turn her business toward serving commercial locations that were now in need of cleaning services. 

When your family is your support system
reposting, brand

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Her husband, Kennedy Castro, and children were also quick to help her during this process, offering their unconditional support as Gladys transformed her business. Together they worked hard cleaning various commercial locations and office spaces that no longer had cleaning services due to the pandemic.

Gladys has found that one of the most important things during this time is maintaining communication in all aspects of life, but especially in her business. Communicating with clients about the changing situation has been key. 

“Communication has been the keyword in maintaining contact with my clients and informing them that we are working to update our cleaning procedures and preparing for the influx of demand in the cleaning industry that will come once the State of New Jersey reopens,” says Gladys. “We are working to maintain effective communication between our team and our clients to prevent the spread of this virus. We are educating and training ourselves to utilize the new cleaning products available in the market and practicing the new safety measures to keep both our clients and our team safe.”

Additionally, Gladys has used this time to collaborate with other friends and professionals on various projects to help support each other’s businesses at this time, which has been an uplifting experience. 

Adapting to social distancing
reposting, Mother's Day

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

On a personal level, adjusting to social distancing has been difficult as well. 

“I am a Latina and I characterize myself as being a sociable person,” says Gladys. Suddenly not being able to see friends or be close and affectionate was a big adjustment for sure. 

At home, many changes had to be made too, from practicing extensive hygiene routines when returning home from work before she can greet her children to regulating her and her family’s schedule so that everyone can stay productive while still being at home.

“‘Discipline’ plays a very important role,” says Gladys, “given that at home we have comfort and various distractions.” 

Still, despite new challenges, Gladys looks to the positive. She is glad to be able to spend more time with her children at home and help them with their homework and online schooling. She is also grateful to have been able to visit her mom in Chile before the quarantine began. 

In March, in the middle to the early weeks of the pandemic, Gladys traveled to Santiago to visit her mom. This trip had been planned in advance, long before the pandemic. However, on the third day of her stay in Santiago, she had to urgently return to the U.S. before the borders closed.  Though she was only able to stay for three days, Gladys was still tremendously grateful that she could be there and see her mom, especially now that travel is not possible and the end date of this quarantine is uncertain. 

Embracing opportunities in unprecedented times

Gladys feels that despite the drastic life changes, she has been given the opportunity of reinvention and rebirth in all aspects of her life. 

Mother's Day

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

“I am ‘reinventing’ myself by creating strategies to reposition my brand in the cleaning industry. I’m looking for commercial contracts and creating business opportunities to keep the economy moving. I am working to create alliances and collaborations with other professionals and helping others who are just getting into the cleaning industry by sharing my knowledge and years of experience.” 

Gladys says the major lesson she has learned from this pandemic so far is “Unlearn what you have learned in order to learn again.” 

You might be interested: Victoria Flores: 4 Generations living under one roof a lesson learned

We are in unprecedented times, which means we must adapt and find new ways of doing things in both our personal and professional lives. For Gladys, that has meant embracing the notion of repositioning and embracing the changes. 

“This pandemic has made me have to completely modify all aspects of my business and life. But thankfully one of my strengths is that I am very adaptable in unexpected situations!” 

8 Latina entrepreneurs

8 Latina entrepreneurs announced as Pitch Competition finalists from NJ and NY

The 8 Latina entrepreneurs that will participate at the 2018 Pitch your Business Competition representing the states of New Jersey and New York were announced by Latinas in Business Inc, the national non-profit digital platform that advocates for the economic empowerment of Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs.

8 Latina entrepreneurs

(From L to R) Gladys Vonglahn, founder and CEO of Gladys Cleaning Service; Judy Perez, CEO, Judy’s Dream Cakes; Yenny Espinal, founder of Yenny’s Creations; Brittnie Reyes, founder, Britt’s Catering Services; Angie Piedrahita, Founder, Chivas Bar Bus; Laura Diaz-Alberto, founder, La-Di Clothing and Accesories; Samantha Cordova, founder, She Can Tutors; and Ramona Ferreyra, Founder, Ojala Threads.

Latinas in Business Inc., the national non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that advocates for the economic empowerment of Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, announced the eight participants in the 2018 Pitch your Business Competition. The event will take place at the Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk St., Jersey City, on November 8, 2018 from 3:00 to 7:00pm. Co-hosting the event this year are the Hudson County Office of Business Opportunity (HCOBO) and the Hudson County Community College (HCCC).

“These 8 Latina entrepreneurs are stepping up to promote their products and services to a Juror composed of media in the region and participating sponsors,” said Susana G Baumann, President, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Latinas in Business Inc. “They are residents of the states of New Jersey and New York, and they will compete for an opportunity to win this year’s Latinas in Business Best Business Award,” she added.

The Expo will also feature other small businesses and sponsors that year after year support these growing community of Latina entrepreneurs. “We will have DJ Music, sponsors’ giveaways for the first 50 visitors to the Expo, Latino food and beverages, and a ‘Dessert Reception’ offered by students of the HCCC Institute of Culinary Arts,” Baumann explained.

Visitors will also enjoy make-up touch ups and hair make-overs by beauty consultants and hair designers during the Expo.

“The Pitch your Business Competition is the signature event that attracts strong and established Latina small businesses for an opportunity to be promoted, while gaining business knowledge and exposure to decision-makers in the region,” Baumann said.

The participants –in registration order- are Gladys Vonglahn, founder and CEO of Gladys Cleaning Service; Judy Perez, CEO, Judy’s Dream Cakes; Yenny Espinal, founder of Yenny’s Creations; Brittnie Reyes, founder, Britt’s Catering Services; Angie Piedrahita, Founder, Chivas Bar Bus; Laura Diaz-Alberto, founder, La-Di Clothing and Accesories; Samantha Cordova, founder, She Can Tutors; and Ramona Ferreyra, Founder, Ojala Threads.

“I invite the community to support these Latinas Poderosas and all vendors, especially if you are looking to shop for the Holidays!” Baumann added.

The 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch competition will take place at the Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk Ave, Jersey City NJ 07306, on November 8 from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.

Students with ID can register for free, and all others who would like to attend can register using the code LIBFAN100 for a FREE Early Bird Expo and Pitch ticket (Reg. $10) until November 7 at

For exhibitors’ opportunities, please contact

About is a national non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that advocates for the economic empowerment of Latinas and other minority entrepreneurs. Susana G Baumann, President, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of is an award-winning business writer, published author, speaker and multicultural marketing expert. For this initiative, launched only four years ago, she has received the 2015 Hispanicize TECLA Award, the 2015 LISTA (Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology) Award and was named 2017 Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine and honored with the Red Shoe Movement Leader award in 2018.

Gladys cleaning services

Latina entrepreneur Gladys Vonglahn makes impact with cleaning services

Gladys Vonglahn, a Latina entrepreneur and the founder of Gladys’ Cleaning Service LLC, turned cleaning services into a passion for entrepreneurship and an established company in both residential and commercial services.

Gladys cleaning services

Gladys Cleaning Services use humor to entice their clients

Gladys began her business in 2003 cleaning homes and apartments, with the desire to turn her passion for cleaning into a career. Like many immigrants, Gladys came to the U.S. without much experience and could not speak English, but she did not let these obstacles stop her from her entrepreneurial ambition.

She began working in the cleaning business without much knowledge of professional cleaning, without access to capital, and with a language barrier. Little by little her business began to grow due to her constant dedication and from there she was able to structure her business into the company it is today.

The biggest obstacle she cites is the language barrier which made communicating with her clients difficult at the start of her business.

Gladys Vonglahn, founder and CEO of Gladys Cleaning Services

Gladys Vonglahn, founder and CEO of Gladys Cleaning Services

Though, it is thanks to these obstacles that Gladys became motivated to continue to push through them and constantly reinvent herself and adapt to the changes in her industry. “I have a good sense of humor and I use it to market my services and also create communication channels with my clients,” Gladys said. 

As a Latina small business owner she is very dynamic and multifaceted and she believes her flexible attitude and adaptability is one of her biggest strengths apart from her ambition. It is these qualities that have allowed her to continue to grow her business over the past fifteen years.

Alongside her entrepreneurial ambition is her genuine desire to help her clients. Her goal has always been to provide the highest quality service to her clients and adapt to their needs. “The customer is always right,” she says.  

She values her clients greatly and she shares one story with us about a special client.

In 2013, Gladys received a call from a potential client asking for her services. The client lived 60 miles away from Gladys and she unfortunately had to decline the job because she was unable to travel such distance to clean his home.

Later the client called back three more times asking her to come clean his house and that he would pay whatever was necessary. After insisting so much, Gladys decided she would make the trip. When she arrived at the house and the client opened the door she realized it was Jessie Armstead, a famous football player for the Giants. He thanked her so much for cleaning his home because he did not want anyone else to enter his house.

“I felt honored that he valued the service I provided so much and that he had the patience to wait for me to be available to schedule him,” she said. 

cleaning servicesGladys says her mission has always been and will always be to not only have a successful business but to also leave a legacy in her area of work. Seeing the impact of her work and how much she is appreciated by her clients motivates her to continue providing her services to others.

In addition to her business, Gladys also uses her life experience as a Latina woman who has been exposed to different cultures and social classes to give motivational speeches at Casa de Don Pedro to women who have been victims of domestic abuse. She also volunteers as Mantena Global Care and helps the Brazilian and hispanic communities in Newark.

Overall, Gladys hopes she can continue to help and inspire others through both her business and her volunteer work.

To other Latinas aspiring to start their own ventures she says, “I would like to motivate Latinas to  start their entrepreneurial dream. The hardest part is getting started….Little by little all is possible, and to do what one loves is not ‘work’ but instead it is a daily passion that you continue to feed throughout the years.”