Alejandra Zertuche, CEO, Enflux
If you’re adding a new product line to your business by the age of 12, then expanding again when you’re 16, you might have a future as an entrepreneur. That’s how Alejandra Zertuche began her path to CEO of Enflux: seeing a need and working to fill it. From selling treats at the age of 8, expanding to own in-store gumball machines at age 12, then purchasing her own vending machines at 16, each step was logical because she saw a need – and an opportunity.
Flash forward, and Zertuche began her adult career as an industrial engineer, becoming a data wizard. “Now they call us data scientists. Back then, a wizard was able to collect a lot of information about the plant and the factory to pinpoint where problems were and where we needed to make improvements.”
She decided to pursue her MBA and could only work on campus due to her student visa status. She interned at St. Mary’s University, a lucky turn of events as the self-described data nerd discovered a powerful way to integrate and analyze data from assessment systems across the university. Her idea ultimately became a product at Enflux, where she now serves as CEO.
“Deans, faculty, academic program chairs were drowning in data, with no way to reliably convert it to actionable insights. The process felt broken, and I was determined to solve the problem. How can I find a solution with the ultimate goal of being to help students achieve educational success and track their progress along the way? That’s how it started.”
She finished her MBA in information systems, then earned a Masters in Applied Statistics. Last year, she added a Masters in Biomedical Informatics. Her commitment to education is all about solving problems. “I think our mind is the most powerful thing that we have. It’s a precious asset that, in time, we can train. STEM opens the door to so many opportunities because you learn about the scientific method of doing careful observation, being a skeptic, and asking questions of why we’re doing this, questioning the status quo. What can I change so that we can have a better and more efficient, positive impact?”
Zertuche encourages other young women to follow that path. “Young women should pursue their ideas. They should be passionate about it and not be afraid to fail. Failure is part of the process. You learn what works and doesn’t work. You have to embrace that to be successful with an idea. You need to feel comfortable with failure. You need to feel comfortable with not always winning and comfortable with not everything being perfect. Resilience is key because if you’re resilient, then you’re not afraid to fail.”