Ana Carolina Lanuza, AIU’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, checks in to share her 2013 highlights and some words of inspiration for those pursuing their goals of getting ahead. Ana earned her Associate of Business Administration in 2007, her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice in 2008 and her MBA in 2009, all at AIU Online.
It is with great honor that I sit here and write this blog post for my fellow AIU classmates, professors, alumni and current students.
As I sit here, I reflect on all my achievements since I graduated from AIU in 2009, both professionally and personally.
As we close out 2013, I would like to share with you everything that I have accomplished just this year. I am not one to brag, so it has been a challenge to figure out what to say to all of you, so if my accomplishments help YOU, then I might as well share them with you, so that’s what I would like to do.
I’d like to start in August since that is a special month to me (it’s my birthday month)! It was just a few weeks before my 30th birthday that I received a call from AIU that where I was informed that I had won the Distinguished Alumni Award … but there was a catch (well, for me at least). I would have to prepare a speech to give to the graduating class! I said sure. Needless to say, in my mind, I was thinking, “I have never spoken in public!” I was still so ecstatic. I prepared my speech from my heart and just went with it.
AIU paid my way (and a guest too) to Chicago to attend AIU’s 2013 Graduation Ceremony, where I was recognized for all my hard work at AIU (I graduated with my associate, bachelor’s and MBA from AIU) and also professionally. I ended up speaking in front of about 1,500 graduates and their families. For me that was an accomplishment!
This year I also served my first term as the President of the Florida Association of Private Investigators (FAPI), which was very challenging, since I didn’t think I knew what I was doing. I also served on the Conference committee, and I think I got a few gray hairs from planning our annual conference. I also oversaw a few other committees because I wanted to be a part of everything to know what was going on and also to learn since this was all new to me. I was re-elected as the FAPI President at the annual conference in September of 2013.
I was featured on Pursuit Magazine (an online magazine for those in the investigation field). Just yesterday, two days before the end of 2013, I found out my story was No. 11 on their list of best stories in 2013, which is super exciting!
I also became a writer. I wrote two articles that were published on Entreprenista.com, an inspirational website for women entrepreneurs. I suggest you read their words of courage or as they call it, the Entreprenista Manifesto. Again, I jumped in head first and just wrote from my heart. When my parents read my articles, they were like, “We never knew you could write.” I said neither did I!
In April, my company, Leverage Investigations, Inc., celebrated its third year. Leverage is a full-service private investigation agency licensed in Florida that dedicates 40% of our practice to rescuing missing children pro bono (free).
In March, I met the love of my life, and now we’re getting married in 2014!
These are the biggest highlights for me this year and I am forever grateful for all these opportunities I have had, especially as someone who growing up was very shy and struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.). I have grown up to be a role model for many: I have opened my own business, received numerous awards, developed a huge network and appeared on television nationwide, which is a great accomplishment in my book!
So my advice for all of you that may feel discouraged or haven’t reached your goals in life: keep dreaming! Keep believing in your dreams. You may have to jump through hoops to reach them, but remember, you are not in this alone - ask others for help! I promise in the end it will all be worth it, and you’ll look back and feel proud of yourself!
May you have a great 2014 filled with good health, happiness and lots of good fortune! I am excited to see what 2014 may bring.
P.S. Feel free to reach out to me for any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org.