Discovering the True Ingredients of Success one Leader at a Time!
Identifying Successful South Florida Leaders and What it Takes to Accomplish the Unimaginable. This week meet Cristina Rodriguez and Lauren Koff (Mind & Melody, Inc)
Accomplishing your goals isn’t always as easy as it seems. Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you that get in the way of your true destiny. How is it that others face similar curve balls but go on to accomplish amazing things? What are the ingredients for success? Frankly, I’m tired of reading the same generic advice (work hard, never give up, focus, create to-do-lists, wake up early, exercise, etc). Anyone can do these things but not everyone can accomplish unimaginable things. What separates the focused, hard-working person who wakes up early to exercise from the insanely successful? Why can some people have a great idea while others can put these great idea into play?
I decided to explore South Florida people who seem to have found the true ingredients for great fortune in their life. For this first article, I wanted to write about a person who is pursuing their dreams with major accomplishments. After doing research in South Florida, I was impressed by all the people who were following their dreams with great returns. At the same time, I was underwhelmed by the female representation. Either there aren’t many success stories written or there is a huge disparity between men and women. Let me be clear, this article is not about males vs females. I want to be able to provide individuals the tools to recognize their passion and find the ingredients for success to Make It Happen!
I decided to dig deeper and find a female we can all aspire to be. Luck would have it, I found two working together: Cristina Rodriguez and Lauren Koff, founders of Mind and Melody. This non-for-profit was founded in 2014 but was thought of much earlier. I love this point because so many great ideas are thought of but nothing ever comes of it because they don’t have the “thing” to make it happen. The “thing” could be strength, resources, ability, or pure determination. These two had it all plus the ability to not let NO stand in their way. I think if you believe in something so much absolutely nothing will stand in your way. Any doubt will derail your plan.
What I learned from my research is Cristina Rodriguez, now in her early 20s, has played cello since was 10 years old. In 2009, Cristina volunteered at Miami Children’s Hospital when she thought to herself how great it would be to have a room filled with instruments where kids could learn how to play an instrument. She kept this idea to herself for several years but very much alive in her thoughts. During her Junior year of High School she tried to reach and share her idea to the volunteer coordinator she worked with at Miami Children’s but she had left the company. She proposed the similar idea to Jackson South Hospital, where she was now volunteering, for the psychiatric department. She was told NO since they thought there would be confidentiality and liability issues. Do you think No would stop her? Of course not!
Fast forward another few years and Cristina meets Lauren Koff in college at Florida Atlantic University. Together they were required to complete a thesis. Cristina presented her idea to Lauren and Lauren grabbed on. Although they found incredible benefits on the effects music has on neurocognitive disorders, they were unable to complete the thesis due to the nature of the experiment. Again, not letting anything stand in their way, they chose to pursue this as a side project. That is how the non-profit organization, Mind and Melody was born.
Now with over 200 volunteers and conducting music education programs at over ten facilities across Florida, these strong ladies are well on their way for success Lesson here is they believed whole heartedly in their idea and they never let “NO” get in their way. When I reached out to Cristina and Lauren, they were in Washington, DC advocating for Alzheimer’s disease on the hill.
I asked them what they thought it takes to be successful. Lauren eloquently stated,
“Success is directed by perspective. For myself, success has been achieving my dream of making a living doing something I am passionate about: helping others and growing leaders. There was real struggle and continues to be everyday to keep my dream a reality. My passion and the other co-founder’s devotion to Mind&Melody is what drives our success. Every time we deal with one set back we push forth to the next advance. For every grant we are awarded there’s over a dozen that turn us down. To be successful you must continue to motivate yourself to keep moving forward even when you fail. Loosing is hard, but it’s so important to view each “failure” as opportunity to grow. Mind&Melody has been successful because Cristina, I and our team of over 200 people utilize the best skills we each possess and find ways to collaborate and further grow our organization. We bring together talented musicians, dedicated and loving volunteers, and skilled business minds to improve and transform lives daily.”
I look forward to see how successful Mind and Melody becomes and I envision these two talented women will have other ventures we will learn about in the upcoming years. Keep them on your radar.