Connecting the dots between self-care, success in business
By Elaine Simon
Veronica Torres Hazley is the CEO of Dallas-based Torres Hazley Enterprise, a collective bringing community and well-being to life. Her portfolio includes V12 Yoga Studio, Workplace Fit Co., RedBird Rising and self-care brand Healthy Latina Lifestyle.
Hazley also runs a consulting business, which ties in her last 25 years of experience in several capacities, including community development, customer service, event production, content curation, cause marketing and wellness.
While wellness is the focus of her career now, Hazley started her career in hotels, at what is now IHG Hotels & Resorts, followed by 17 years at VisitDallas and a stint as the chief impact officer with ISP Creative, an Irving, Texas-based creative house.
Hazley is bringing her wellness expertise to Red Roof’s SHE Leads Forum on Sept. 28-29 in Dallas, where she will be presenting a session that leverages her own experience to connect the dots between self-care and success in business.
In this interview, she shares her journey to wellness entrepreneur and what’s next for her.
You started your career with a degree in hotel and restaurant management – what made you decide on a career in the hotel industry?
“When I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to open my own restaurant. One of my teachers recommended Johnson & Wales (Hospitality and Culinary School). After college I was recruited by a hotel company In Dallas and that started my hotel journey.”
You worked in the hotel industry for nearly five years before joining VisitDallas – what made you leave the hotel business?
“I worked in several departments with the intention of becoming a GM for a hotel, but then later was recruited by VisitDallas to lead their Diversity and Inclusion department. I thought it would be cool to sell the entire city and lead something new.”
It seems like VisitDallas really gave you the opportunity to spread your wings in a lot of ways.
“My CEO at the time, Phillip Jones, was a pioneer and was forward thinking. He was very committed to diversity and inclusion before it was even a hot topic. He knew the importance of attracting and servicing business with inclusion in mind. He believed in me and allowed me to come in and create something special. I was able to cross over and work in different capacities and learn a lot from engaging with several departments within the organization. I also grew a large footprint in the community and built lifelong relationships with corporate and nonprofit organizations in Dallas.”
Where and when did your passion for entrepreneurship come into play?
“I was raised by entrepreneurial grandparents. They raised all of my cousins and I in the business and taught us how to run a company by example. All of my cousins are
entrepreneurs. It’s really cool and very inspiring to see my grandparents’ hard work working for us all, even now after they have passed on.”
How about your passion for wellness and community building?
“While working at VisitDallas, I started my wellness journey and opened my own yoga studio. I would teach yoga and meditation at night.”
What made you decide to make health, wellness and fitness such a main focus of your career?
“I was very inspired by my own journey and knew that people like me, women especially, needed to learn self-care in order to sustain a fast-paced career, motherhood and just life in general. I wanted to help communities lean into their own journey in wellness and a healthier lifestyle.”
How has that changed your life? How has it changed others’ lives?
“After COVID, I think a lot of people became aware of their health and began to take it seriously. I was lucky enough to study my own path to better living and found that I can teach and walk in that purpose if I was authentic in my own journey. This way of living has progressed my relationships, my business and my outlook in life and in my business.”
Why is wellness in many ways so overlooked in today’s society?
“I believe people take their health for granted. There is deeply rooted trauma around how we see ourselves and our bodies. A lot of the oversight comes from emotional and mental thoughts that consume our minds, especially if we are distracted by work, life and other priorities.”
So much of your time is focused on the well-being and self-care of others, as well as just busy being involved in so many areas – how do you make sure that you are taking the time to focus on your own well-being and self-care?
“I really take my role in the community seriously and by that I mean, I want to WALK THE WALK. If I am sharing and speaking about a healthy lifestyle, I want to look and feel like the energy I am putting out. My husband and I make it a priority to work out, to read and to meditate. I also have my young kids join me in the backyard so they can believe in what I am saying and doing. It is crucial to our family unit.”
That holds true for so many other women—they are so busy focusing on others and other things in their life that it’s hard to focus on their own wellness. What is your advice for them to make themselves a priority?
“Your health is your wealth and if we are not FIT to lead, then someone who is will out work, out live and out play us. The moment that I committed to myself and my health I surrounded myself with that energy and my business grew, my body performed better and my relationships were stronger because I was present and focused. We cannot compete with anyone until we align with ourselves. That starts with mental, emotional and physical well-being.”
What are your top ways for women to include wellness in their daily lives?
“Start with a morning routine. Mediation, quiet time, journal and movement. This is the breakfast of champions. This will align your brain with your thoughts, then your heart and your body! GOLDEN.”
What are you most proud of in your wellness journey?
“I am proud of my healing. I have a long history of personal trauma that started from poverty, to being a teen mom, divorce, the death of my father and son, being laid off and breaking up with best friends. I knew that I had to heal and take control of my healing. This led to becoming disciplined and [prioritizing] my health and [finding] the path to fitness and mindfulness with intention.”
What’s next for you?
“The next thing is always the biggest test. I always like to leave a window of opportunity open. The journey to self is always fun. I don’t plan the next 5-10 years. I like to promise myself that I will become so open to surprises and allow my energy to attract the energy that I need to proceed with a clear path of progress. As long as I am creating, collborating and progressing, I am here for the ride.”
Why are you participating in the SHE Leads Forum?
“I believe in being of service. I want to continue to share space in the hospitality industry because I think women who own and lead in industries of service are God sent. It takes a special person to lead with service top of mind. It’s almost a lost art. If I can help women be better in that field by taking care of themselves, first—I know that will impact their family, community and guests.”
Tell us about your session – what will it consist of and what can attendees expect.
“My session will be about creating your own movement. Making self-care a core value with a clear intention to expand possibilities. I will lead a talk with mindfulness and sound healing. Everyone deserves to take a breath and align their energy with inspiration and reflection.”
What are you hoping that attendees get out of your session and from the event as a whole?
“I hope that they leave with a planted seed of hope and self-love. I hope they SEE themselves and reflect on their inner power to lead. Progress moves at the speed of relationships and the most important relationship is the one they have with themselves.”
Why are women-focused events like this so important for women in the hotel industry and in other industries?
“It’s all about service and experiences. Women in the hotel business give so much of themselves. Long hours, sometimes no days off. It’s important to learn life’s hacks that support the industry and pour in. When we gather in numbers, sisterhood happens, ideas are shared and business is made.”
Visit www.she-leads.com for more information about Red Roof’s SHE Leads Forum and for tools to help you manage your business, rise in the ranks and find the confidence to become a successful business leader.