It takes an extraordinary amount of courage to leave your home at age eighteen and start a new life. Imagine the challenges for a young Hispanic woman traveling to a foreign country with just thirty dollars and a limited grasp of English. The story of Jeannette Varela’s life is one of facing challenges and overcoming obstacles. She has succeeded through hard work, determination and a great compassion for others.
Over the past 40 years she has become a very successful businesswoman and is currently the head of a heavy equipment company in Miami. The world of bulldozers, cranes and dump trucks brings its own set of challenges; it is a macho environment and women are rare in this male-dominated field. Nevertheless, Mrs. Varela has honed her business skills and has a proven track record. She is the first woman certified in this type of business to provide equipment rental to government agencies.
Mrs. Varela was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She comes from a large family, the second of eight children. It was not an easy childhood and the hardships taught her perseverance and the power of determination. At the age of eight she took on the task of food shopping for her family in the marketplace of Bogotá, Colombia. Not only was she a natural negotiator, she also enjoyed bargaining. She came to the United States seeking a new life in the “land of opportunity”. Life in New York City was not easy, but her resolve kept her going. Her first jobs were often menial, selling popcorn at a movie theater and cleaning restrooms. She was fired from a job hand sewing zippers on dresses because she was not quick enough. However, Mrs. Varela has a head for numbers and was able to gain a position in accounting for RKO and later joined NAESS Shipping.
The winters in New York were too cold for this woman used to the tropical climate of Colombia, so she and her husband moved to Miami. They arrived without money. Mrs. Varela found work in various jobs to make ends meet. One of these positions was in the catering department of the Hotel DuPont Plaza, but she was fired when she became pregnant with her first child. After her daughter was born, finances were tight and she needed to return to work. Fortunately she was hired on at a bank as secretary to the vice president. Mrs. Varela was never one to settle for just being an employee. When she landed a job at a heavy equipment company she took a liking to it. The man running the company later became her second husband and business partner in a new heavy construction equipment company. She always refers to them as “the perfect business couple”; their strengths complemented each other and eventually they became the exclusive seller of used equipment to the CAT Dealer in Venezuela.
It turns out her most profitable business ventures have been her real estate properties, which have increased tremendously in value. She invested profits from the used equipment business in real estate, buying condominiums at pre-construction prices and homes in need of repair and selling them at a profit. She made her first real estate investment with only $500.00. Mrs. Varela attributes her success in real estate to her intuition and keen perception, quick thinking on business possibilities, and ability to make fast decisions when she sees the opportunity. This woman is convinced her many accomplishments are due to her negotiation skills and street smarts. She has faced her share of discrimination, yet is not embittered. She is an independent woman and savvy in business, but with a heart for helping others. Mrs. Varela has been recognized for her philanthropic endeavors and is a respected community leader. She opens her home for non-profit organization events, cultural events and seminars for young business owners. Her willingness to mentor others is a way of giving back to those who helped her when she was young. Not one to boast, however, she prefers a low profile. She believes in the rights of immigrants and human rights in general. When she first came to America she was idealistic, but today she is more pragmatic. She also has a strong belief in being positive and passing on her experience and wisdom. She was strongly influenced in this regard by her mother.
Varcamp Group, LLC
633 N. Krome AvenueHomestead
Miami, Florida 33030
Tel: (305) 601-9945
Design by: gmorales.com