Maria de Lourdes Sobrino is Founder and CEO of Lulu’s Dessert® Corporation. Established in 1982, Lulu’s Dessert®, is ranked among the top 500 Hispanic businesses in the United States. As Jim Hopkins from USA Today wrote she is “the queen of ready-to-eat gelatin and a force in the surging number of Hispanic entrepreneurs.”
Born and raised in Mexico City, Ms. Sobrino’s first business was in the tourism industry. She later expanded her business to a travel agency, which grew so rapidly that she decided to open an office in Los Angeles. In 1982, Ms. Sobrino had to close her Mexican travel business due to unstable economic conditions in Mexico; however, her entrepreneurial spirit grew stronger and she began to explore other passions and ideas.
Ms. Sobrino came up with the great idea of ready-to-eat gelatin when looking for the popular dessert while living in the U.S. A staple in her native Mexico, the concept was new to the U.S. and a novelty when she introduced it to American grocers in California. She recognized a need, filled it and revolutionized the food industry by creating the first-ever ready-to-eat gelatin category, based on her own mother’s recipe. From the initial production of 300 cups of gelatin a day, Lulu’s Dessert® has overcome many challenges and obstacles to become a leading maker of ready-to-eat desserts.
In her capacity as a Public Speaker, she was recently invited by Guadalupe Radio 87.7 fm to participate in the “Mujeres de Fe” conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This full day conference for women of faith, reached an audience over 17,000 women. Ms. Sobrino was honored to speak, educate and motivate Hispanic entrepreneurs with their dreams of starting their own businesses. Also recently, she participated in a panel for Baruch College in New York for their conference, “A World of Opportunity, The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs”. She has also been invited by Verizon Wireless to speak in Miami, Florida and Irvine, California, and Microsoft Corporation, to share her story as a successful Hispanic woman entrepreneur. Ms. Sobrino’s leadership also gained her recognition and an invitation to be part of President George W. Bush’s, Economic Forum in Waco, Texas to represent “Small Businesses”.
First Lady of California, Maria Shriver, has invited Ms. Sobrino to participate in the 2009 Women’s Conference on October 26, 2009 in, Long Beach, California. She will be joining a panel to discuss How to Start or Grow Your Own Business in These Uncertain Times. This annual conference celebrates its 23rd year and will be attended by nearly 14,000 women. www.californiawomen.org.
The Schlesinger Library at Harvard University honored Ms. Sobrino in a national traveling exhibit that reinterprets the History of American Women and Business. “Enterprising Women, the Businesswomen of America: 1750-2000” She was among 40 intriguing women who helped shape the landscape of American Business such as: Meg Whitman, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey among others.
Currently, she is on the advisory board for Nawbo-LA, Co-Chair for the (CWBR) Center for Women’s Business Research National Symposium, Rancho Santiago Community College Foundation and NHBWA as well as NAFIN (Nacional Financiera an investment bank in Mexico). Ms. Sobrino is also a founding member of the Working Families for Wal-Mart (WFMM) steering committee. And, is the California Chair for Femmes Leaders D’Amerique and is active in the promotion of the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
In her first book Thriving Latina Entrepreneurs in America Ms. Sobrino shares her story along with seven other outstanding Latinas and their business successes. The book is available through Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers nationwide.