46+ Moments as Told by Goodspero’s Google Business Calendar — The Year of the Global Pandemic
A Dated Timeline of 2020 Events from traveling to Spain for Video Production to COVID-safe Virtual Video & Editing from Home.
PREFACE : Goodspero (pronounced good-sparrow) is a video and digital team I co-founded alongside Nelson Vanegas, while I was entering my 3rd year in college and studying at the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. This is the 3rd business we’ve worked on together, and the 2nd in which I’ve held a stake in the company.
The first company — TTMR Studios. A music & audio recording studio in Alief, started by Nelson in partnership with a local Asian business owner. He also had a full-time job as a Production Director for Univision Radio (which he kept for 10 years while we built our businesses and I went back to college).
I’d barely met Nelson while working with friends at the radio station at the time and I had 4–5 other contracts working with marketing agencies around the country doing brand ambassador work, product research, product launches, promotions, and similar work— in and out of town.
I started helping Nelson and his partner with digital marketing, promotions, recruiting leads, sales & customer communications — all on social media. Organic. (Paid social and ads didn’t exist yet.) This “work” was fun for me. I don’t remember asking for compensation. I was 23 or 24 at the time.
The second company — Evident Empire Media. The first company we co-founded together, a 50/50 partnership. A video production + audio production + photography + media staffing company serving businesses in Houston. At the time of launch, we’d known each other for 2 years and had been living together a little over 1.
Third company — Goodspero. The second business we co-founded, starting as a 51/49 Limited Liability Company, eventually converting to an S-Corp. Woman-Owned. Hispanic/Latinx-Owned, “Minority”-Owned, Family-Owned. Goodspero is a video + digital team that specializes in digital marketing and content creation, training, and video+social media services for organizations and institutions invested in social impact. We’ve officially been in operation for 7+ years.
During 2020 we focused on supporting clients, partners, communities, and friends in the business and nonprofit worlds as everyone took operations online during the pandemic. We said yes to as many projects as we could and had to say no a lot too.
Any “spare” time was spent supporting our partners on annual retainers—we worked overtime on creating videos, trainings, digital ads, on-site video production spaces, virtual tech support and provided other digital content/services collectively valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars over scope of our contracts. We saw this time as our way of giving back to the community and as always, for much needed causes and initiatives, during a year when everyone suddenly needed video and digital support.
The following is a timeline of dates as told by our team’s shared Google calendar with some of the moments we spent working on various projects with all of you throughout the year. There are many moments left out but we appreciate you all and the work we all do together. ❤
Jan 4th, 2020— Last day to empty out our office storage to move across town, County life to City life once again (for me). Hello Texas’ 2nd congressional district! Fun fact time: From 1846 to 2005, this area elected all Democratic representatives. For 159 years! That is, until the 2003 re-districting debacle.
“The 2003 Texas redistricting refers to a controversial mid-decade state plan that defined new Congressional districts. In the 2004 elections, this redistricting supported the Republicans taking a majority of Texas’s House seats for the first time since Reconstruction. Opponents challenged the plan in three suits, combined when the case went to the United States Supreme Court in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006).” — Wiki
In 2012 the redistricting process radically changes the district. Federal Court says Texas redistricting discriminates against “minorities”. They’re right…and it’s allowed anyway.
Jan 11th — MFAH Latino Advisory Committee. Unknowingly the last time we set foot inside the museum for a long time. Even thought it’s the first year we became members (a birthday gift to myself 2+ months prior).
Jan 18th — Recording and editing a video of Houston in Action’s diverse canvassing team for the 2020 Census as they try to reach historically undercounted communities in Harris County. Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, Homeless, and other groups.
Jan 24th — Working on projects with our friends at JAB (Just Add Beats) and Creative Vida as they up-skill and support Houston’s youth through music production and various skill development sessions, respectively.
Feb 3rd — Social media video ads management session with Kevin, Founder of Soma Athletic Wellness and alumnus of WCE, c/o ’13. (We graduated from the same class). We sit in Doshi House’s new outdoor space. Last time eating here for a while (unknowingly). Check out this video we made for SOMA.
Feb 7th — WCEAN content meeting + coffee with Annie at Cascabel. Had I known it would be our last, I would have taken in the moments more fully. Had a 2nd-3rd cup of coffee. Another pastry. One last hug. ❤
Feb 11th — Photoshoot at YES Prep Public Schools before everything went virtual. Our last look at “normal” schooling before the pandemic.
Feb 13th — Recording and editing an EOY video with the BakerRipley team 5 days before leaving the country for another video project. The last time we see each other in-person for months.
Feb 19th — 29th — We head to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Geoffrey w/ Fat Cat Productions, Sean Kinney and Catherine Sbeglia w/ RCR Wireless News and Nelson, Goodspero, get the job done with enough time to spare for Geoff & Sean to make some awesome local food videos too.
Almost unaware of the growing threat of COVID-19, we all continue roaming the crowded, narrow streets of Barcelona, unmasked, sharing food, drinks and living spaces. We fly home 11 days before the U.S. blocks travel from Europe. Just in time.
March 2nd — 3rd — Recording and photographing celebrations at Wortham House and City Hall with the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, the Bauer College of Business, the University of Houston and WCE’s funders, faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The City of Houston awards a Proclamation calling May 3rd Bauer College of Business Day in celebration of Entrepreneurship. More here: A LANDMARK YEAR — BAUER COLLEGE’S WOLFF CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP MARKS HISTORIC YEAR
Also today: live streaming WCE’s Induction Ceremony on Facebook — where entrepreneurship students meet their personal mentors, get their jackets, and are officially inducted into a program that will change their lives forever.
March 4th — Shooting b-roll at BakerRipley’s Heart of Gold celebration, where 800+ of Houston’s community, business, and philanthropic leaders + local, regional and national elected officials comes together each year to honor donors and the work we all do together for our communities, our families, and our neighbors.
March 5th — Filming an annual O&G Poker Tournament at the Corinthian in downtown Houston which raises $1.67 Million for YES Prep Public Schools.
March 9th —11th — Recording several First Ladies for Census Sunday — a Houston in Action and PoliChic partnership project capturing messages for congregations about the importance of ALL OF US being counted in the Census. For each person that is not counted in the Census, we lose $10,000 per person over the census period. If you and your partner have 1-2+ kids, that’s $30K–40K+ in funding that your community can get, just for you filling out the Census.
Many thanks to Harris County’s local faith leaders: Pastor Suzette Caldwell of Windsor Village Church Family, Rev. Linda Davis of Boynton Chapel United Methodist Church, Tonya Bozeman-Dixon of The Community Of Faith, Dr. Charlotte Davis of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, and Arnaecia Aldridge of Lighthouse Church.
March 11th — Lizzo and the whole Houston Rodeo is cancelled, 3 days after a man tests positive for COVID-19 after attending the rodeo cook-off. Travel from Europe is blocked. Feeling grateful we got back in time.
March 15th — First Texan dies of COVID-19.
March 24th — Harris County issues stay-at-home order, closing most businesses. Energy, transportation, construction and food service industries are allowed to continue working. Grateful to have Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo at the helm, regardless of the attacks on her age, gender, experience, strategies or judgement that don’t cause her to flinch. It must be the Colombian American Woman blood running through her veins. :)
April 2, 2020 — Starting to sit in on college classes and corporate meetings via Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams is becoming the norm. We get to work making sure visuals, audio, streaming, social media and other video + digital resources are supporting clients’ operations since most projects and businesses have needed to go online. We spend most of the pandemic with clients and partners on annual retainers. We turn down in-person video production requests that involve filming with people or that aren’t outdoors.
April 8th — Starting to habitually order groceries online and picking up Curbside — never looking back. We eventually switch to mostly delivery.
Making a lot of videos remotely, recording b-roll and voiceovers around the house, changing clothes, nail polish and locations to appear as if we recorded different people, and other creative video tricks. :)
May 1st — Texas Governor Abbott begins pre-maturely re-opening Texas after pressure from the business community. Retail, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, libraries and malls can reopen at 25% capacity. Masks are encouraged but not mandated. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo continues showing exemplary leadership and making logical decisions for humanity.
Video Editing takes the front seat this year. Here’s a community fav from one of our last times recording with people and partners in person:
May 8th — Recording the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Director’s graduation ceremony speech. UH and other schools decide graduation will be virtual for the Class of 2020. We record, work with 10+ video content collaborators including students and keynote, to rush edit a 1 1/2 hour long docu-ceremony for 36 Entrepreneurship students, 6 days before their big day. The longest project we’ve ever done, expedited in the shortest amount of time.
May 14th — Multi-livestreaming arguably the BEST graduation ceremony of 2020. Privately to Zoom for students and mentors, publicly to Facebook for families, friends, alumni and supporters. Nelson Vanegas is at the Livestream Production helm in the studio. We’re all dressed up and sweating for a few hours.
May 23rd — Nelson on camera to help livestream the 1st Rooftop Drive-In Concert in Houston with Wonky Power at Axelrad. Cars park across the street, tune their FM radios in (and livestream video) to listen to live music, while watching band(s) play from a parking lot a safe distance away.
June 10th — Officially started working with La Fogata Colombian Restaurant. Video, photos, social media — it’s time to invest more time online. The owner, AC, went to school with Nelson in Alief…they were in theater together. Regardless of the challenges faced by local restaurants this year, AC has been giving where and whenever possible. To the nonprofit initiatives, to frontline workers, to his staff, customers, family, friends, fellow restaurant owners, to the Colombian community, and anyone else that crosses his path.
This year has been challenging for the restaurant industry. From city and state orders to shut down and then re-opening with safety regulations in place, to fighting COVID scares, and figuring out digital — running a small business during this time takes true leadership and faith. Much respect. Please go support the yummiest legacy family restaurant in Houston, La Fogata (they do takeout and catering too and yes — they’re on UberEats if you must use a 3rd party). ;)
June 22 — We begin talks in our home, with friends, colleagues, mentors and clients to take actionable steps in changing systemic racism and supporting economic opportunities for underrepresented communities: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), including Hispanic/Latinx, AAPI (Asian American, Pacific Islanders), LGBTQ, people with disabilities, Women and other communities. Almost 1 month after Minneapolis, Minnesota police murder Houston native, George Floyd, during an arrest after a clerk alleged he gave him a counterfeit $20.
August 14th — Publishing a student recruitment social media video made from footage recorded pre-pandemic + some stock video from Houston for the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship. Editing completely done on Canva.
This gets us thinking more about the future of video and Goodspero’s role in video and digital services. For the first time, we begin growth talks and actively begin looking for partners, mentors, and financial support.
I end up applying for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program to grow our company while creating more jobs, a Ureeka program to facilitate growth and investment in tech for our business, and several other growth and funding opportunities. Making it to the final round with Goldman Sachs I end up having to turn down the opportunity after recommendations from mentors not to commit to multiple projects at once. *Hint*
Sept 6th — Recording interviews online instead of in-person is now the norm.
Sept 13th —15th — Nelson recording Jewish services with Fat Cat Productions (childhood Alief friend), to be streamed online. In-person religious gatherings remain cancelled.
Sept 27th —29th — Attending the USHCC National Conference (virtually). Building America’s Business Future — Securing Wealth and Health for all Latinos. One of the speaker’s mentions Google is funding grants through Ureeka and HIP for Hispanic/Latinx small businesses. I open a tab on my computer, find it, and leave it there for a few days…later applying right before the deadline.
The PowerUp fund awards 500+ LatinX small businesses across Texas, California, and New York with a $5,000 grant, virtual coaching, and resources. Goodspero becomes a PowerUp grantee and we commit to a 6+ month program with a cohort of 15 other entrepreneurs to grow our business with the support of a BIPOC social impact network of mentors, coaches, and entrepreneurs with experience and funding from Google Philanthropy, Ureeka, Hispanics in Philanthropy, and a coaching curriculum from Kevin O’Leary, entrepreneur and one of the host’s of Shark Tank.
“Underrepresented entrepreneurs, women, people of color are time and time again barred from the type of access so many take for granted, whether it be financial, educational or otherwise. We have to do better. Ureeka is doing incredible work to make tools and connections that are usually reserved for the big fish, actually accessible and all in one place. I’m thrilled to be working with them and to be able to provide small businesses access to my all-star team and resources.” — Kevin O’Leary
October 4th — Virtual Training for Social Media Monitoring with Common Cause after signing up for volunteer support efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation related to and leading up to the 2020 Elections. They teach volunteers how to monitor Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Next Door, and TikTok to help assist voters posting questions about voting and elections online and to flag misinformation and disinformation.
Oct 8th — 10th — Recording outdoor interviews for LINK Houston’s Equity in Transit Report.
“Public transit connects people to opportunity and advances equity when it exists in certain places and operates a quality service. Achieving equity in and through transit refers to the fair and just distribution of benefits and burdens of transit services and infrastructure across communities. Equity in Transit: 2020 examines how to improve Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, TX (METRO) transit services, particularly for people who ride the local bus.
Over 4.5 million people live in the METRO service area and 69% are people of color (e.g., Black, Indigenous, people of color)...”
Oct 13th — Video Editing and Publishing English and Spanish voter mobilization videos for HiA
Oct 22nd — Starting to set-up on-site video production rooms with acoustic treatment and camera+audio+lighting setup for video meetings, presentations, interviews, video streaming and other in-house business video needs + Virtual Video Production trainings that we were doing in-person (pre-COVID). Demand is high — high quality custom acoustic materials will take months to be delivered from the manufacturer.
Oct 23rd — Drive-through voting on my birthday! Also began creating and sharing social media content + coordinating, producing and streaming daily Facebook Live interviews between BIPOC + AAPI community leaders and Houston in Action #HTownVotes artist grantees to mobilize underrepresented voters in Harris County. Little sleep from now until the day after Election Day.
Oct 26th — Investing more into XQ CPA services (referred by a WCE alumna CEO I graduated with in c/o ‘13). This year Charlene and her team at XQ helped us with an S-Corp conversion, bookkeeping, tax planning & prep, financial statements + projections for growth programs and grant applications, payroll, options for online merchant services and financial software that gives us an overview of our business’ financial state at any given time, with adjustable variables that allow us to make informed decisions.
Oct 30th — The Cyvia & Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Class of 2022 announcement . This day is always special. 38 additions to the ever-growing entrepreneurial WCE family.
Nov 6th — Beginning of our plant-based meal prep journey with Danielle, (@the_vegan_dan). Life changing service. Eating healthier, supporting local vs UberEats, saving money, saving time (no more thinking about what to make, no more grocery shopping, no prepping food, no cooking, way less dishwashing), and never going hungry because there’s “no time” to take a lunch break while working from home.
Nov 17th — Jump online for The Houston Innovation Summit. Grace and Michelle from Impact Hub Houston are hosting so we’re there. Catch a few sessions throughout the week. Here’s a good one, and the last we attended: THIS: Black Entrepreneurs Offer New Paths for Wealth Generation:
Nov 18th — PowerUp Coaching Kickoff with Antonia, our business coach for the next 6 months. Looking forward to plowing through Kevin O’Leary’s Bootcamp. Strategy, Customer Aquisition, Finance, and Management.
Nov 27th — USPS delivers a check from Ureeka + Google +HIP to invest in technology for our business! Yay!!
Dec 17th — Turned in our last video editing project of the year, a holiday message with our friends at BakerRipley. Dolores on script, Juan on visual content, Guillermo on branding, Michelle on project management, Steph on vision, Claudia on contracts, Brandon on camera, Nelson in the editing room, myself — production assist & comms. 4-day turnaround. Bravo team!
Dec 25th — A blessed day of gratitude and thanks spent at home with my best friend, business partner, and husband. Notable: We didn’t do any “work” today.
Dec 29th — 1st time ever doing Payroll. S-Corp life. Thanks Avery, XQ CPA!
Dec 30th — Finalizing our last (requested) proposal of the year: Video Production, Livestream Video Producing, Video Editing, Video Production Trainings, and more.
Also Talking TikTok, Clubhouse, Canva and the future of video, social media and content creation for social impact, economic impact, and other areas of impact. Environmental. Humanitarian. Racial Justice. Equity. Education. And more. Internationally. Google all the things.
Dec 31st — Celebrating with a YouTube countdown, our dog, and the neighborhood fireworks show. Ready for 2021 and all the projects to come.