Blogs by InnovatorsBox®


This is InnovatorsBox’s “IB Backstage series, where in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

Sara Piedrahita and Flor Lievano are agile and thoughtful. I’d be stuck in an array of day-to-day tasks with a big sigh if I didn’t have them. They make any backend activity, editing, social media management, and project administration feel like a breeze. I’m thankful that they allow me to continue dreaming and ideating without stress. 

When Flor first shared her vision of wanting to build OrangeUp, a program to provide excellent virtual assistance support to busy entrepreneurs, it got me excited and hopeful. And I’m glad it’s been a fantastic way to work with her and her team – Sara today and Paula before. Get to know the pair and why you’ll want them in your team if you want to streamline, optimize and make things seem less difficult.

In my Q&A with Sara and Flor, we go over the topics such as why creativity and innovation is crucial to what we do, what are the skills that’s key to best perform as a VA, what are some current trends in the VA space, to what they’re reading & listening and where they find their inspiration from. 
MONICA (to both): How would you describe yourself in three words?

Sara: Smart. Responsible. Sweet/Nice. 

Flor:  Enthusiastic. Fun. Confident.

MONICA (to both):  Why is creativity and innovation important to you?

Sara: It’s crucial to what I do. Whenever I design or edit something, or make a proposal for a client, I must be creative and try to present something new and fresh.

Flor: Creativity helps me improve the process of solving problems as an entrepreneur. Both are important skills for me to run my business. It helps me think outside the box and helps obtain better results for my business.

MONICA (to Sara):  Why did you want to become a virtual assistant? 

Sara: As I just graduated college, I found becoming a VA to be a great opportunity that helps me too gain some exposure and experience in my field, as well as learn to work with real life projects.

Trend about work:

MONICA (to Flor): Why did you want to start your VA company? 

Flor: I started my first business in 2013 and built multiple businesses using the outsourcing model. With a decade of experience in outsourcing, I saw an opportunity in the USA market to provide offshore staff directly to companies, and hence started OrangeUP.

I thrive off the challenge that creativity brings with its infinite possibilities.

MONICA (to Sara): What is a skill that you found to be key in being a virtual assistant (VA)?

Sara: To be able to take the knowledge you have of a specific topic and make great proposals to the clients that help them grow little by little. Also important to keep in mind that as a VA, all you do is in fact important for your client so that keeps you motivated to give your best.

As a VA, all you do is in fact important for your client so that keeps you motivated to give your best.

MONICA (to Flor): What is a skill you found to be key in managing VA and multiple clients?

Flor: The Ability to Plan and Strategize which helps to better support each client and each virtual assistant.

MONICA (to Sara): What is one hack that you’d share for VAs who are starting off?

Sara: Try to give yourself ranges of time to work on specific tasks and try to improve that each time you spend on doing that.

Sara's Behance Profile
MONICA (to Flor): What trends are you seeing in the virtual assistance world that you are excited about and worried about?

Flor: Some trends that excite me about the industry predict that, by 2025, 50% of knowledge workers will use a virtual assistant on a daily basis. By 2023, 25% of employee interactions will be voice-based communications. Something that worries me is that the industry is growing fast and we will need to be ready to implement all the technologies that it will require. 

But on the flip side, I worry that many projects will go without seeing a proper conclusion due to the sheer volume and amount of competition. Every creator has their own unique story they want to tell; now with so much material out there competing for attention, those stories are being drowned out by “me too” versions or not getting recognized amid all the noise.

And I wonder how we can make sure those voices find an audience who wants them heard too.

Flor's website

Every creator has their own unique story. How we can make sure those voices find an audience who wants them heard too?

MONICA (to both): What was your favorite project, experience or memory working at InnovatorsBox?

Sara:  One of my favorites has been supporting the graphics to promote the new single/new music. When I heard the song, I felt so inspired, and the team allowed me to design something I felt matched the energy of the song.

Flor: It was the Rethink Facilitation course that we helped to put together in Kajabi, it was our first project and the beginning of our working relationship. The project was very challenging but also helped us to learn new tools that opened doors for helping clients with similar tasks. 

Getting to know Sara and Flor

MONICA (to both):  Who are creatives that inspire you?

Sara: Here in my city, there is a Film Production venture called “La Ruta Studio” the team that works there is conformed by young people that create exceptional music videos, commercials, and short films. The things they work on are completely authentic and original, and so aesthetic.

Flor: There are a lot of people that inspire me. Like Steve Jobs, Walt Disney

Robert Kiyosaki, Guy Kawasaki, and more. But some of the closest people that inspire me are Michael Batt and Hanh Haley. Michael empowers me to believe in my and my business ideas. Hanh always told me to dream big and never give up.  

MONICA (to both): What is a book that you couldn’t stop reading?

Sara: I’m really not that good at reading but the last book I read was Da Vinci’s Code that my best friend gave me as a birthday gift, and I like it.

Flor: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracy I discovered this book in a moment when I was making a transition in my life and really encouraged me to do what I really wanted. 

MONICA (to both): What are you listening to lately – music or/and podcasts?

Sara: Lately I’ve been on the hook with a podcast called “Hyphenated” produced by Pitaya Entertainment, in each episode the 2 comediants Joanna Hausmann and Jenny Lorenzo comment on what it is like to live in the hyphen that connects American and Latin Culture. I got to that podcast because I’m a huge fan of Joanna since she used to work making videos in a youtube channel called FLAMA and then followed her on to her own youtube channel. I think she does great content. In terms of music, I’m always liking different genres and artists from all over the globe, but my favorite song at the moment is “Mafiosa” by Naty Peluso.

Flor: I love music in general. A podcast that I have been listening to is called El Show de Superhábitos in Spanish. 

MONICA (to both): What are you watching lately that you really enjoyed? Why?

Sara: I just finished the last Marvel series “LOKI” . I really enjoyed it. And also just started watching the last season of Atypical which is a Netflix Series about a guy with autism, and is really entertaining and also interesting to get to understand a little more how people in the spectrum live and think in order to be more inclusive and thoughtful in our everyday life.  

Flor: I really enjoyed Disney movies. The last one that I watched was Luca. Disney movies always have something for everyone. I am very excited to watch the Encanto movie inspired by Colombian culture.

MONICA (to both): What is your favorite way to decompress? Why?

Sara: Ilike to watch movies and get really involved in the story, that way I forget the problems. 

Flor: Dance. It just makes me happy. 

MONICA (to both): If someone is visiting Colombia for the first time, where would you recommend they go, eat, or do? 

Sara: I will definitely recommend visiting Quindio and Risaralda which are both states where coffee is cultivated. The weather there is amazing, not too hot and not too cold. I will also invite them to try “Patacones con hogao”, a delicious typical dish that here in Colombia is eaten as a starter, it is made with fried green plantain and it is eaten with hogao, which is a stew made of tomato and dusty types of finely cut onion.

Flor: I will recommend you to visit my city Bogotá is the capital of Colombia. The museum scene is incredible, there’s a lot of history, a blossoming art community, an exciting food scene, a wild nightlife, and super welcoming people. Some of my recommendations are: stroll in the Botanical Gardens, climb Monserrate, visit the Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum), check out the Museo de Botero, wander the Usaquén Market, explore La Candelaria, discover the National Museum of Colombia, wander Plaza Bolívar. For restaurants and nightlife, explore Parque 93 and Parque El Virrey, head to the Laguna de Guatavita (Lake Guatavita) and  the Salt Cathedral. To live a very fun experience, dance, have fun and eat something tipicall visit Andres Carne de res an emblematic restaurant.  Once there try the typical dish called Ajiaco. It’s a hearty chicken soup made with potatoes and corn on the cob. Potatoes called papas criollas—they dissolve and thicken the soup as it cooks. Ajiaco is seasoned with a Colombian herb called guascas and is traditionally served with slices of avocado, capers, and mild sour cream. You won’t regret it. 

MONICA (to both): If you could travel anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you want to do? 

Sara: I would like to travel China with my mom and take her to the Great Wall of China. Is a dream of hers to walk this world wonder from beginning to end.

Flor: I want to go to India, it will be a very unique experience. 

Thank you, Sara and Flor for sharing your insights, and for being amazing at what you do! My days wouldn’t be the same without your efforts and I look forward to many more days of working together, bringing creativity to all. 

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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