Georgina Villarreal — also known as “Nurse Georgie” — is now a full-time entrepreneur juggling multiple businesses, but she also has years of experience as a Registered Nurse.
Initially, Georgie thought she might pursue a field in fitness or public health. However, after meeting a young nurse who inspired her, she switched gears and applied to nursing school.
Eventually, Georgie graduated with a Master’s in Nursing and Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education and Community-based Public Health, becoming the first healthcare provider in her family. She went on to work for two years in medical-surgical oncology, 2 years in telemetry and spent a couple years as a travel nurse in the Midwest and West Coast.
However, ultimately, Georgie’s dreams did not end with nursing. From a young age, she had been attracted to the idea of entrepreneurship as she watched her parents build successful businesses. Georgie was also attracted to the creativity and the flexibility to implement her own ideas as an entrepreneur.
“Nursing and entrepreneurship are very opposite in that sense,” Georgie says. “With nursing, I have patients’ lives in my hands and I have to follow a strict protocol, and if I don’t, there are hard consequences and I can’t take risks because I have patients who’s lives are in my care. With entrepreneurship, I can make mistakes and fail without the stress of anyones life at risk.”
While pursuing nursing, Georgie dabbled in entrepreneurship. During some free time between taking the NCLEX and beginning her first nursing job, she made hats she purchased in Downtown Los Angeles that said “Nurse Life” on them and began to market them on social media, prompting nurses to post photos after purchasing them and share why they support diversity in nursing.
In a couple weeks, Georgie’s hats sold out.
“It was at that moment that I learned the power of social media, network marketing, and creating a product or brand with a special message or mission,” Georgie says.
From there, she had a few more business ventures, including New Goals Apparel and Campainz, a mission-based fitness apparel brand for healthcare providers.
Flash forward to 2018 when Georgie was out to brunch with her friends, fellow Latina nurses Alessandra (read more about Alessandra’s story here) and Teresa.
“Alessandra had these really sexy photos of her in a bikini from a published photoshoot, ”Georgie says. “She showed us her stunning photos full of anxiety at brunch and said, ‘I really want to post these on Instagram but I can’t because people might think less of me as a nurse.’”
Alessandra expressed concern about the medical community judging her for posting the photos and deeming them unprofessional.
Then, Georgie responded: “Girl, you’re a nurse and a model — you can be both.”
She realized the same was true for her: “I’m a nurse and an entrepreneur — I can be both.”
“I’m so done with people thinking you can’t be sexy and smart,” Georgie says. “We should be able to embrace all the parts of us who make us who we are – who ever the heck we want to be.”
Suddenly, a new vision was born. That night, Georgie created the hashtag #shecanbeboth on Instagram, posting side-by-side photos of Alessandra, Teresa and other inspiring women in healthcare thriving in multiple roles. In a few days, the hashtag went viral as over 10,000 women used it to share their own stories.
“I was like, ‘Wow. This is so beautiful. Women resonate with this message,’” Georgie says.
Georgie’s entrepreneurship with She Can Be Both evolved over time, beginning with the hashtag and eventually resulting in clothing, jewelry and now a media company. Georgie also launched She Can Be Buff, her fitness transformation program for busy women in healthcare.
Her journey as a nurse and entrepreneur has presented some challenges, ranging from financial instability to mental exhaustion, but she has always believed in herself and purpose and that she was made for nurse entrepreneurship.
“I have faced many adversities before my successes. There was a time when I was pinching for pennies to afford my nursing program, but I worked 3 jobs to make it happen. I will never forget the times I failed my last nursing school course by 1% or failed my nursing licensure exam. At the time, those failures felt like some of the most painful moments of my life, but little did I know they were opportunities to show my strength because they proved that I was capable and worthy of whatever I set my mind to.
Although she no longer works in a hospital setting full-time, her nurse identity is intertwined with her entrepreneurial side. She views nursing as her necessary “stepping stone” to becoming a successful entrepreneur because it prepared her mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially to take on the challenges of building a business and confronting challenges.
Even though being an entrepreneur is demanding, she has never felt more passionate and fulfilled by her work. Georgie has a grand vision for the future of She Can Be Both. She plans to grow it into the largest network and multimedia company of women thriving in multiple careers. With a passion for health and wellness, she also plans to provide a variety of wellness resources for the She Can Be Both community on this platform.
“I believe anything is possible once you believe you are worthy of achieving it,” Georgie says. “It’s really exciting that this is just the beginning of something much larger than myself.”
Georgie is always looking for more inspiring women to add to the team, interview or collaborate with. If you are interested, email Georgie at [email protected].