By Kyle Kennedy
The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.
It wasn’t long after starting her coaching business when Maria Martinez discovered that being your own boss can be isolating.
In 2010, she attended a local chapter meeting of the American Business Women’s Association, kicking off what she describes as a formative experience in her personal and professional life.
Her affection for the group was returned this month when the national ABWA named Martinez one of its Top Ten Business Women of the Year.
“I found myself being a solo entrepreneur craving that interaction and environment where I could be a cheerleader,” said Martinez, 47. “I just like to be of service. I want to be that positive role model.”
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Martinez is the owner of a personal development coaching firm, Inneractive Coaching, and also does staffing and recruiting work for Kelly Services in Lakeland.
Outside of those jobs, she splits her time between the ABWA and serving as the area public relations co-chairwoman for Toastmasters International, an organization that focuses on leadership and speaking skills development.
Martinez was a supply clerk in the Army and previously worked for Polk County government, where she was a supervisor for the Healthy Families program that offers in-home support to parents in need.