Brenda Medina is known throughout our sisterhood for her passion of giving back to the community and her small business, Greek Org Apparel. She has been providing custom para for sisters for over 10 years.
Tell us a little about yourself… I was born and raised in Hoboken NJ, I attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, originally studying nursing and then decided to switch to Sociology / Social Work because I felt like it fit more into what my purpose was, “to make a change and give back”. This is also one of the reasons I became a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha in Fall 1991 at our Eta Chapter. I have been fortunate enough to receive a college education and work at a Fortune 500 company. At Verizon, I oversaw Operations for over 25 yars and was given the opportunity to retire early. Since then, I have been enjoying my time traveling and focusing on my small business, Greek Org Apparel.
How and why did you get started in this line of work?
I used to go to Puerto Rico every summer and I had a family member that owned a small store that I would help out with when I visited. I realized that when I grew up I wanted to have my own store — whether it be a “brick and mortar” store or whatever, I could see myself doing this.
Fast forward to when I became a sister and received one of my first jackets. I first thought that it did not look burgundy — it looked kind of reddish. When I called the vendor and told them that it was not burgundy, they replied that “the color was in the burgundy family” — but I disagreed. At that point, I realized we as an organization needed vendors that understand our products, our colors and who knows what and what to not use.
Over the years, I ended up wanting to try it out and tried to figure out how I could financially afford this, etc. In 2005, while taking care of family, I also put a business plan together. I did a lot of research during this time the Internet was becoming available and more exciting to us.
Brenda took a pause on pursuing her small business due to family hardship but her resiliency did not stop, in 2009, she continued with her plan. After four years, I became active and in the summer of 2009, LTA had its Atlanta Convention. I contacted a friend who owned a screen printing business and asked if they could make a couple of shirts with our letters. To this convention, I brought a box of LTA para that included t-shirts, pencils, pens and some shirts that said “Alumni.” Within minutes I realized how successful this can be due to all the support from sisters that I was given. Shortly after, a sister from Kappa Chapter connected me with a lawyer that helped me get my business registered.
To what or whom do you attribute your success?
One of my favorite phrases is, “To whom much is given much is expected” and I truly believe that in my soul — You have to be able to deal head on with situations and not be afraid of, you know, taking risks. I think that is what I got from my mother, who was a strong powerful woman. A lot of her teachings I still put into practice today because she had a big impact on my life. I still want to continue giving back in whatever means I can.
I would be selfish to say that I did it on my own but there is no way you can get through life on your own — you can only do but so much, right? You can have a dream, but I think it is the people pushing you along the way that inspire and build on your resiliency… they are your support system.
Everyone goes through some really dark times but that support system of your friends, your family and the sisterhood, is what I truly attribute my success to. A lot of the things I was able to accomplish is because of them. I don't think I would have been able to do it by myself. You definitely need the support system. I think we have to continue supporting one another as women in the U.S and as Latinas because looking out for one another and supporting one another, is going to make a difference between a good day and a bad day. I feel blessed and I want to be able to bless others in whichever way I can.