Featured Influencer – Laura Medina-Filipowicz – Family Vacation Hub

Laura Medina-Filipowicz has leveraged her influence to launch Family Vacation Hub, a travel site and ConnectHER Conference, an invitation-only event for influencers, brands and entrepreneurs. She is a Latina influencer who has leveraged her entrepreneurial expertise, social media savvy and ability to build professional relationships to launch several successful businesses.


Laura has been featured on LaCosmopolatina.com as one of the Many Faces of Latina Entrepreneurs, was named One of the Best Bloggers in Los Angeles by Red Tricycle in 2012 and voted Top 25 So Cal Moms to follow by Circle of Moms.  

Laura Medina-Filipowicz shares tips on how she leverages her experience as an influential brand ambassador and social media savvy to launch successful businesses:

What is the name of your blog?

I’m the founder of Family Vacation Hub where I share vacation ideas for Family Travel.  My experience with family travel inspired me to launch Family Vacation Hub, a resource for travelers with family friendly vacation destinations, unique places to eat, great places to stay, sights to see and things to do across the United States and abroad.  My mission is to help families plan the perfect vacation.

You have a business as well.  What type of business is it? How does your business set itself apart from other similar businesses?  

ConnectHER was formally BLP (Bag Lady Promotions) and we have been in business for the past 8-9 years. We were doing pop-up events for moms, brands and influencers before the words “mompreneur” or “pop-up event” even existed.   I started the business in an effort to connect local businesses, moms and influencers. 

How do you leverage blogging and social media for business?  How has blogging and social media strengthened your brand?

ConnectHER has a strong foundation and over the years has been able to maintain a solid database of influencers, brands and moms local to LA and more recently has established a national following. Our business, The ConnectHER Conference, is a merge of business professionals, brands, bloggers and women.

What is the #1 Social Media platform you use to promote your business?


What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

The ConnectHER Conference.  The ConnectHER Conference is an invitation-only conference event for Influencers, Brands, PR, Marketing and Entrepreneurs. This unique and exclusive event is designed to deliver rich content and facilitate direct interaction for those in attendance.  ConnectHER15 guests include writers, influencers, PR, marketing, entrepreneurs and brands looking to learn and engage in conversation. Our focus is on providing quality content and a unique environment where our guests are able to take the information from our event, straight to their projects. 

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Being a mom, entrepreneur, gymnastics mom, wife and teacher to homeschooler and chef.

What is your #1 blogging goal for 2015?  Are looking to make money blogging? More writing opportunities? More education?

All of the above! and a little secret – exclusive to Blogger Society – there are talks about hosting two events.   We are also getting ready to incorporate a collective of topics and guest writers on our site for ConnectHER that will provide information from top experts and writers.

What is your #1 business goal for 2015?  Are there any brands that you would like to work with in 2015?   

My number one goal is to have an amazing event in July in San Diego. We are very interested in working with brands that understand the tremendous amount of value that moms, bloggers and influencers carry and how important it is to have them as part of their marketing team.

We would welcome working with brands that understand that authenticity and collaboration go hand in hand. Some of the brands we’d really enjoy working with would have to be Dove, L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Kia, LEGO, Ford, Pine-Sol, Origami Owl, Mattel, You Tube, Blurb and so many more!

Who/What is your biggest influence for blogging?

My biggest influencers in the blogging industry are Romy Raves, Sarah Auerswald and Eva Smith.

Who/What has been your biggest influence for business?

The Shark Tank

There may be someone reading this post and considering leveraging their social media presence to launch a business or vice versa,  What business advice would you give them?

Do it! It’s always hard to take that first step, but it can be so worth it.

What is the best advice you have for influencers?

My best advice for all would be to stay authentic and true to whatever it is you decide to do. Stay true to you and always make your own judgments. Smile a lot.

You can connect with Laura on her blog at Family Vacation Hub or at ConnectHer conference.

Featured Influencer – Melanie Mendez – Qué Means What

Many influencers understand that finding your voice online involves identifying themselves at the core of who they are, and how that connects to their niche. Fifth generation “Texicana” (as defined on her blog: Mexican decent born in Texas, never lived in Mexico) and seasoned blogger Melanie Mendez from Qué Means What candidly discusses her blog’s transformation from the early days of her creative development into the multifaceted online business she continues to curate now.

Que Means WhatBingo!

“At first I didn’t know what I was going to blog about”, Melanie explained. Early progress cloaked her inner voice as she struggled to bring it to light. It was during this process when she recalled a defining moment from her childhood. Revealing that, “it was one of the most embarrassing moments” in her life as miscommunication led her to believe that an after schoolteacher was giving her a hard time for not providing the proper translation for the Spanish word Qué (which literally means what). Keeping the humiliating experience to herself, as an adult she later realized that the moment spoke about how she saw herself and about her insecurities. Recognizing that she was not alone in this process Melanie was able to breathe life into her blog Qué Means What by narrowing her niche around education, entertainment, and family life. “We should celebrate who we are. I’m free to be myself.”

Embracing Imperfections of Work Life Balance

Busy moms and work-at-home moms who home school their children can immediately relate to the need for prioritization. Melanie noted that homeschooling may not be a good fit for everyone, but it has helped her to insure that her children receive a well-rounded education. “It really takes a village…” With “tremendous support and understanding” from her husband and the assistance from her mother as well as her mother-in-law Melanie is able to create office hours and attend many of the events that add value to her blog and business.

Often time bloggers are expected to work for free (and many do before establishing themselves online) causing them to burnout quickly. Her desire to give it all up and quit every now and then was subdued by her persistence to keep pushing forward, “I always knew that I was going to get paid”. Sleepless nights and an untidy home are sacrifices that she makes to fulfill her daily goals. At the end of the day she knows that those things cannot compare to “being present in the moment” with her family. Melanie will point out to her children that attending exhibit opening nights at museums and other privileged engagements are a direct result from her blog business. This helps them understand the difference between office hours at home and family time.

Social Involvement

Participation on Twitter led her to the nonprofit organization LATISM who provides a forum that promotes and advances the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. Similarly to other multigenerational descendants of Mexico she felt disconnected, “when people are talking Latino they are not talking about me”. Attending a LATISM conference afforded her a type of rebirth boosting her voice.

Her involvement with LATISM inspired her to do her part towards helping to empower others in defining themselves without peer pressure to form into a specific mold.

Beyond The Comfort Zone

Sheltered among the vast countryside of Texas Melanie had never experienced camping nor the pleasure of exploring the high mountain peaks of a national park. The American Latino Expedition enticed her to face her fear of the unknown with an opportunity to visit The Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. A striking sharp contrast from home she was in awe from the experience. Blogging helps her to push herself to try new things she otherwise would pass on.

Targeted Future

Currently Melanie is in pursuit of helping Latino youth learn about who they are, developing skills in tech/coding, and their history. She knows that a healthy identity has a direct correlation with the day-to-day life of an individual, which eventually influences their career choices. Melanie also plans on working more in depth on science, art, and tech through speaking engagements including South by Southwest where she will focus on Latinos in STEM education. Her audience will also soon be able to learn more about STEM education on her blog.