Owner, V Partner Solutions Insurance and Payroll
Through the support of her mentor, Vanessa Castro was able to launch her own business, V Partner Solutions Insurance and Payroll, in the middle of a pandemic. “I always knew I wanted to do something for myself,” she says. “My dream was always to open my own business, work for myself and have time for my son.”
Castro started off in the medical field before pursuing the business world in 2016. She attended the State College of Florida in the risk management and insurance program, graduating in 2019. During that time she was picking up side gigs and working at Prodigy, an administrative service provider and professional employer organization (PEO) consulting firm in Bradenton.
“I worked my butt off,” says Castro about attending school full-time and working part-time all while being a single mother.
Ryan Moore, Castro’s mentor and the owner of Prodigy, provided support the entire time. Castro says he would tell her to work when she could while in school. But in October 2020, Moore sold Prodigy. The move took Castro by surprise, but Moore encouraged her to start her own business. She remembers hearing him say, “I think you have what it takes.”
V Partner Solutions officially launched last December. Castro overcame challenges the pandemic brought, like getting used to using social media to connect with businesses and clients. “The next thing you know, the business is growing,” she says, noting she had to start hiring people.
Castro also took up a bartender position at Pacific Rim, a popular Sarasota restaurant, to make ends meet while creating the company. She’ll remain there until her business is more solid.
As Castro builds her business, the most important lesson she’s learned is referring clients to other businesses that can help if she’s not able to help them. “I’m not expecting anything in return," she says, "but I have had people refer back to me.”
Some days are stressful, leading Castro to question whether she has what it takes to make it work. But that’s where her son, Elijah, shows up. Castro notes there are times he’ll ask her, “What are you doing for it?”
That’s something she asks him when he’s struggling to overcome a problem. She’s always told him that whatever you put your mind to and work toward, you can do it. “I see myself in him,” she says. “He’s a huge inspiration.”
Name: Vanessa Castro
City of Residence: Bradenton
Employer: V Partner Solutions
Birthplace: Passaic, New Jersey
Years in the area: 20+
Marital Status/Children: Single with one son, Elijah
Alma Mater/Degree: State College of Florida degree in Risk Management and Insurance
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Bayside Community Church volunteering. Mission trips as well as serving in our community, I love being involved in the church.
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Translating from Spanish to English --- I have a passion for helping others so when someone offers to actually compensate me for translating for them I think it’s strange. It comes natural to me since I speak both Spanish and English fluently.
What's your top tip for being productive? Staying Disciplined; Waking up early and taking 30-45 minutes to myself every day is key. Planning out my monthly goals, daily devotionals, and light workouts really help with my productivity and focus.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Creating a children’s clothing line inspired by my son Elijah.
What's your favorite off-hours activity? When I’m not working you can find me at the beach or traveling. I have a huge passion for travel and love to explore other countries and their unique cultures.
Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? No, unfortunately I haven’t gotten to the movies yet.
What's the top item on your bucket list? Visiting the Giraffe Manor - Breakfast with Giraffes in Kenya. If you haven’t heard of it, look it up. It’s literally incredible.
What's your favorite podcast? Any self improvement / motivating podcasts, there are so many influencers, I like listening to everyones stories and what has work for them.
Where is your happy place? Anywhere when my son is with me. We love going to the beach to catch the sunsets.
Describe yourself in three words: Ambitious, passionate and loyal.
Who is your mentor for your career and why? Ryan Moore. He has been a great advocate in my career as well as in my faith. Pushing me to be my very best.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? Believing in myself and growing confidence. There are times when it's hard to believe in yourself and you start to question maybe quitting. Ryan has always believed in me and helped me to stay persistent, not ever giving me an option to quit. He is not only my mentor throughout my career but someone who I look up to. Not everything has come easy but believing in myself and staying persistent has brought me to where I am today and having that strong support helping me through it all is crucial to my success.