We had the good fortune of connecting with Roxanne Montoya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roxanne, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
AVEM Systems blossomed from a need in the small business community for a go to person, or set of people, that can provide small businesses with the technical facilitation they need to reach their next level of success. Small businesses often need the same resources as large businesses do to succeed. But small businesses don’t always have access to the same resources. AVEM Systems and our community partners and consultants facilitate those needs. AVEM Systems provides management methodologies, training, technical support, resources, referrals, and program development services. We specialize in working with small businesses, educational programs, and community organizations. We work with workforce development and community advancement projects. We advocate for education, community development, and small businesses. Successful small businesses have the power to help communities prosper. To that end, AVEM Systems is one hundred percent motivated by helping small businesses solve any issues that may arise. We can’t always remove hurdles, but we can help businesses clear them and move forward.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what sets us apart is the approach we take when working with small businesses to facilitate their needs. We meet them where they need us to be and move forward at their pace. Small business owners are often so grateful to get the assistance and support they need, they make us part of their professional family. Which is always an honor. We effectively become another partner, a top employee, or another trusted source equivalent. AVEM Systems works at the client’s pace and comfort level so that we build the kind of relationships they need.
What am I most excited about?
As an educator, I’m truly dedicated to life-long learning. So I’m most excited about all of the different things I get to learn while working with clients. I learn not only about the work they do, but about who they are, their goals, their dreams; I have the privilege of learning a lot about the communities they work in and serve. It’s cathartic. I learn to love what they love. I get to see everything from their perspectives.
How did I get to where I am today?
I first started consulting 10 years ago. I was working as an Instructor and Project Manager for a STEM Educational Program at Arizona State University in the Fulton Schools of Engineering. Part of my job was to take highly technical research content and break it down into understandable interactive demonstrations for K-12 students and their teachers. Then, each semester I trained about 25 ASU graduate and undergraduate, mostly engineering, students to help teach these lessons at schools across the Metro Phoenix area, and a little beyond. One day a former colleague of mine needed a training system and an onboarding system put into place for his growing technical firm, He thought my experience at ASU qualified me to do the job. I was a little nervous to say yes, but creating content, training, management, and onboarding was what I did every day. I learned about his business, needs, and what he wanted out of the project. We produced systems that matched his company and management style. I had the best time. One referral led to another and soon I was consulting on a regular basis. Education was a second career for me. I have a 2 year degree in Business Management, an undergraduate degree in Public Policy and Administration, and a Master’s in Education, Instruction and Curriculum.
Was it Easy?
The decision to start your own business is not generally an easy one to make, It is incredibly difficult to walk away from a dependable, secure job with benefits. For me, the timing was just right. I had to take nearly 9 months off of work due to an illness. When I was finally able to return to work, I decided that helping others find their success and assisting them in solving their problems would make me the happiest. Eventually my awesome network of support, provided the encouragement and/or mentorship I needed to make the decision to start my own company. The actual transition to business owner was easy for me, but there was 10 years of consulting and many additional years of skill building and development that preceded that transition.
What do I want the world to know?
What I would want the world to know about AVEM Systems is that we’re a small group of people making a big difference for many small businesses. Thanks to our partnerships with projects like NABEDC, AscendPhoenix, and the CARES project, administered by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we are able to provide many services for free to qualifying small businesses. Which is a huge benefit for the businesses who have suffered losses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Working with small businesses through such a difficult time helped reinforce my dedication to creating value for these companies and helping them reach their goals.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my city loving friends to my favorite downtown areas, I really enjoy Downtowns Scottsdale, Tempe, and Gilbert. But, I LOVE all of Arizona. I would take my more adventurous friends on helicopter and jeep tours in Sedona. I might take friends to visit the San Xavier Mission down near Tucson, or maybe to see Monument Valley up North/East, or to the cabins up in Greer so that we can visit the town of Springerville, Arizona, founded by my Great-Great Grandfather. It would depend of the time of year I suppose! But I would look for the places that show off Arizona’s beauty and history.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My story is filled with a network of people who provided all of these things and deserve all of the credit. If I was forced to pick a top handful I’d give a shout out to: My Husband, who puts up with my stress (good stress, but stress nonetheless). My Son, who never doubted me and is a Technology and Engineering Consultant for AVEM Systems. Sonia Hodgin & Lafayette “Fat” Lever, who inspire and mentor me. Kaaren-Lyn Graves, who also inspires me and helped me get started. Veronica Lamb, who is always my loudest cheerleader.