‘I’m muy fancy now’

By: Taiia Smart Young

A day-in-the-life of a New York businesswoman who upped her digital marketing skills with Verizon Small Business Digital Ready

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Photo Credits: Michael Le Brecht

It’s 9AM and Yudy Carrera is power walking to the Beverly Hills Manor special events hall in the Bronx, NY, carrying brightly-colored flowers and waving to neighbors along the way.

“Buenos dias,” the entrepreneur calls out to her staff once inside. They greet her back, eager to share ideas for recipes and party decor.

For Carrera, the CEO of Events By Yudy, no two days are alike. She caters and designs events for all occasions, from weddings and baby showers to gatherings at Gracie Mansion for the mayor of New York City. “We are the bridge for every life event,” she says.

An hour later, Carrera is working with a photographer, capturing images that will give potential clients a behind-the-scenes look at her business.

While Carrera is an expert in crafting live events, she struggled when it came to digital marketing. She found new skills—and a hefty dose of confidence to apply them— through the free, personalized courses and coaching at Verizon Small Business Digital Ready. The courses taught her that sharing more about herself and her journey could be a powerful tool to connect with new clients. “I’ve learned about the importance of social media and telling my story,” she says.

That story began in the Dominican Republic, where she learned culinary arts at the knee. “My mother raised us in the kitchen,” Carrera says. “She was one of those ladies on la playa [the beach] selling fish.” From her mother, Carrera learned traditional Dominican recipes that she uses in her catering today.

When the family immigrated to the United States in 1991, Carrera’s mother came with her caldero—a cast iron pot— in hand. “She worried about finding a pot to make concón” Carrera says, referring to a crispy rice dish that originated in Dominican cuisine. Carrera went on to earn her degree in hospitality and get trained as a dietician, working full-time for private catering companies for 17 years before starting her own business in 2015. “I love to create things, talk, and be around people,” she says.

By late morning, Carrera has shifted gears again, creating an ornate tablescape to showcase a wedding cake.

Before taking Verizon courses, Carrera underestimated how much her social media followers would connect to images of her tablescape designs. Now she posts regularly —and not just with ‘likes’ in mind. “Thanks to these classes, I know what to post, what time to post, what to write for the caption and how to get people to my website,” Carrera says of the course entitled How to Spread the Digital Word: Communications Strategy.

She first learned about Verizon Small Business Digital Ready from the Bronx Business Outreach Center Network. The courses stirred an emotional reaction in Carrera, who knows all too well the difficult journey that entrepreneurship can be. “I identified with the courses,” she says. “You start a business with a dream and then you see how complicated it is.”

At noon, Carrera is having lunch with her sister, and the pair snap a selfie.

While Carrera thrives at in-person networking, she took advantage of the Verizon courses to learn new ways to boost online sales. “Before, I didn’t invite clients to my site to order,” Carrera says. “Now, I have a QR code that you can just click and go directly to it. I’m muy fancy now,” she cheers. Carrera says that she gleaned new financial skills as well, from a Verizon course called Getting Beyond Breaking Even. “I learned it isn’t just about making money,” she says. “It’s about how much is staying in your pocket.”

At 2pm, Carrera meets company chef Julia Sanchez to demonstrate a flambé and plating of dishes. “Whatever we do with a meat version, we can do for a vegan version too—and we make it taste good,” Carrera says proudly, of her jerk tofu kebabs with mango sauce, and sweet plantain stuffed with plant-based meat.

Along with her food, another passion of Carrera’s is giving back to the community. Prior to the pandemic, Carrera ran free weekly cooking classes in the South Bronx to help people start a career in catering. “Most of the people in my community are immigrants. This is my way of giving back," she says.

It’s 3pm, and Carrera wraps up her day by looking over a photo album from her daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party. “My most difficult client,” jokes Carrera, a mom of two.

Looking toward the future, Carrera says the marketing skills she learned from Verizon will help her meet a long-term goal: owning an event space. “It’s amazing what I’ve been able to accomplish—but I always like to think about what is coming next,” she says.

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready provides free personalized courses, live coaching, networking, planning aids, and grant opportunities for eligible small businesses. To sign-up for this program, click here.

About the author:

Taiia Smart Young is a content producer and editor for Gyrate Media.

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