I am Noëlle Jen-ai Santos: lover of books, business, and the Bronx. I’m 30, Puerto Rican, stolen African, and I fit most stereotypes about Capricorns. My 18 and 6 years old sisters are my heartbeat. I love the color orange and cheesecake.
At age 16, I was a high school graduate living independently and I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business/accounting (2009) and a master’s degree in human resources management (2012). I am a certified HR professional holding both the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society for Human Resources Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) designations. I currently work full-time as an HR Director for an IT firm; by night I’m a rebel bookseller working towards opening the only bookstore (and wine bar) in my borough, the Bronx, The Lit. Bar and the organizer of a 500+ member book club for women called Readers & Shakers. [I felt this need once Barnes and Nobles closed its doors in 2016 leaving the Bronx with no bookstore whatsoever! My favorite pastime is to read ( a have a glass of wine) and I am not alone in that so that is my reason behind creating a bookstore with a wine bar.]
2017 belonged to Cardi B and I. I raised $160,000 to start up my business, debt/investor-free, as a lone-campaigner. Just this year I’ve been featured by Forbes, The Today Show, Essence, Glamour, Ebony, Latina, The Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. I was a winner of the NYPL and Citi Foundation’s NYStartUp! Business Plan Competition and a recipient of the New York Yankees’ Hispanic Heritage Month Community Achievement award. My overnight success has taken over three years to date and it’s been one anxiety attack after another, lol. The biggest obstacles in my entrepreneurial journey have been very personal: managing relationships and burn-out. Fortunately, that’s been countered by my greatest strength–the ability to work and make sound decisions in the face of fear and overwhelm.
[I am PurposefullyPretty because I felt a need in my community and I found my purpose in fulfilling this need by bringing The Lit Bar to the South Bronx.] I’m most proud of my personal goals being grounded in creating real opportunities for others willing to put in the work. [I am grateful to my community in helping me succeed with this endeavor!] I wouldn’t be where I am today without incredible mentors, so I’m always looking for ways to play it forward in the form of sharing my experiences and resources.
The.Lit.Bar is an upcoming project, the goal is to have it opened by the Winter of 2018!
“Its Lit like Literature!’