Career Stuck in Neutral? CIELO Helps Entrepreneurs Merge into the Fast Lane

Through an office at the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living, the organization provides impactful mentoring and training.

At first glance, a home-care business owner and a professional truck driver might not appear to have much in common.

However, Mary Lopez and Ryan Stewart share a very important connection: both of their careers – and their self-confidence – got a major boost as a result of the impactful counseling they received at CIELO.

CIELO, which serves the community from several locations, including an office at the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living, is an acronym for Community for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Opportunities. Founded in 2015, CIELO is a collaborative venture between Oak View Renewal Partnership and Golden West Community College. In its young existence, CIELO already has helped launch numerous businesses and placed dozens of Orange County residents in fulfilling careers.

“Our mission is to help local residents achieve their dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs by unleashing their creativity and passion,” explained CIELO Chief Executive Officer John Hobson. “We do this by surrounding them with a network of established entrepreneurs who provide mentoring and training, and by providing them with the tools and resources they need to build solid career foundations.”

By investing time and resources in individuals, CIELO helps them attain dreams they may have thought were beyond their reach, while supporting and strengthening Orange County’s innovative business culture and economic vitality, Hobson said.

The Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living location is ideal for CIELO, Hobson said, because of the organizations’ shared mission of providing individualized services designed to transform residents’ lives.

“CIELO has empowered me to take ownership of my business,” Lopez said. She dreamed of expanding her home-care business into a holistic model that combined cleaning, organizing and caring for clients’ varied family needs. Realizing she needed more knowledge and support, she paid a visit to CIELO. In just three months, the one-on-one mentoring and training she received enabled her to develop a business plan that has positioned her business for solid growth.

Meanwhile, Ryan Stewart needed assistance getting his professional trucking career moving again. CIELO provided comprehensive services that included resume assistance, job searching, skill-building, and even professional wardrobe advice. The services Stewart received gave him newfound confidence, and helped lead to fulltime employment, with benefits, as a professional truck driver for Ready Mix, a concrete supplier company.

In addition, Stewart and his son benefited from the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy

Living’s model of one-location community services by receiving assistance from the Public Law Center and the Costa Mesa Family Resource Center.

You can learn more about CIELO and its many services by visiting www.cielocommunity.org.