Native Ecuadorian, Republican, and conservative Christian Rosie Paulsen has dedicated much of her career to helping her fellow immigrants in Pasco County, Florida start and grow their own businesses. It’s why, in 2009, she founded the Pasco/Hernando Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “There were a lot of international people that were here, and they wanted to start a business, and they didn’t know where to start,” she says. “So I felt that a chamber would be kind of like the stepping stone so they could be successful.” It was an especially big undertaking, because that same year, Paulsen quit her own $100,000 corporate job with Humana to start her own small business, Good Faith Insurance Services.
Entrepreneurship, in my family, was a taboo.
The company, which educates retirees about Medicare insurance options and benefits, has 10 independent agents. In 2010, Good Faith was named “Small Business of the Year” by the Pasco/Hernando Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and in 2013, Paulsen received the HPWA Excellence Award for Insurance Services. It has also expanded its services to help other small business owners grow their companies. In addition to holding seminars and trainings on how to increase production and sales, Paulsen also trains brokers and sales teams on marketing and consumer engagement.
Paulsen never intended to be an entrepreneur. “Entrepreneurship, in my family, was a taboo,” she says. “I always laugh about this because both of my parents are teachers, so they really never had good things to say about sales people, or not having a steady income, or a nine-to-five job. But I was actually a natural networker.” She’s seen that in other immigrant business owners as well, who contribute to their local and state economies by creating jobs for American citizens and paying taxes.
In addition to helping boost her community’s economic potential, she is also engaged in a number of civic initiatives. She has built a public speaking platform in her local community based around the idea of “Pure Positive Inspiring Ideas.” As a pro-life conservative, she’s worked with Oasis A Pregnancy Center and the Republican Leadership Initiative. But politics aside, Paulsen believes strongly in immigration reform. “We can’t move forward as a country without it,” she says. She strongly believes that everyone who comes here must follow the law, but also recognizes how frustrating the long wait can be.
“My cousin had to stay in Ecuador by herself for 15 years without her family, because her whole family moved to the United States. After waiting 10 years for a sibling to request them as legal citizens, she had turned 21 and no longer qualified to come as a child,” Paulsen recalls. “My uncle had to become a citizen and, after five years, request my cousin. When the family went to the U.S. embassy in Quito to finally receive documentation for her citizenship, her son had no eligibility. Approval for the family took another five years. “So 20 years later, she finally got to the United States, and now lives legally here, with her son and her family,” Paulsen says.