Congratulations to Karen Rayo Santiago and Ruben Santiago, the first Executive Directors hailing from Chicago, Illinois! Read more about how hard work propelled Karen to this memorable honor.
A routine trip to the store prompted Karen to change her life.
Despite working as a hairdresser for 30 years, Karen had been financially struggling the day her granddaughter Malanie asked for a low-cost doll. She soon realized she couldn’t afford it.
“I felt like a complete failure! I promised myself [that] I would never feel that way ever again and they will never have to struggle alone if I can help it,” she said. “My five-year-old grandchild Malanie doesn't know how much that motivated me to make a definite change in my life.”
Karen started building her business with Stream in search of extra income. Since Stream was just debuting in Illinois, Karen was able to get in on the ground floor in this new territory. She received the 2017 Rising Star Award and sat on a panel during our Light Up Illinois Launch Event. The event is her favorite Stream moment.
“Being a newbie there was very exciting for me,” she said.
The excitement, though, was just getting started. Karen promoted to Senior Director in 28 days to become the first woman Senior Director in Illinois and qualified for the 300 Club a few months later. Although those feats are nothing to sneeze at, what really puts a smile on Karen’s face is that she was able to help eight team members rank advance to Senior Director, with four also making the 300 Club.
Of course, none of those accomplishments come without a lot of hard work.
“I work my Stream business every hour of every day,” Karen said. “I don't have the luxury to wait for things to happen. I have to make them happen for myself. I'm what I think I am and if I want to be a top income earner with Stream, I have to work hard until I get there.”
Her sponsor Oscar Rodriguez said her hard work has been the catalyst for their friendship. The two talk on the phone every day and have become really good friends in the process.
“I never met someone like Karen. When she says something, she gets it done,” he said. “I’m very happy for her because since she started the business, she’s been running.”
With Stream, Karen says she’s found a home and an amazing team she can call her family. Her life is different now, because she believes it’s never too late to do anything you desire.
“I believe that in order to achieve success you have to go through all of your No's first,” she said. “Once that is over and done with, believe in yourself, because if you don't, you can't expect for others to believe in you! Lead by example and make your own way, don't expect others to make a way for you!”
VP of Field Operations Adrian Avila sent his congratulations to Karen and Ruben for climbing the leadership ranks and becoming our first EDs in Illinois.
“Since joining Stream 14 months ago, they have blazed a trail, working their business with an undeniable sense of urgency and pouring themselves into the success of others,” he said. “We look forward to seeing the continued stellar growth of their business and the many more lives they are committed to making a positive impact on. Well done, Karen and Ruben!”