Faces of Entrepreneurship: Ramona Cedeño, FiBrick

2024-04-25T13:28:05-07:00 April 25th, 2024|Business Planning/Strategy, Developing a Product/Service|

Ramona Cedeño is a highly accomplished CPA, CFP, and CGMA with over two decades of experience in accounting and finance. She is the founder and CEO of FiBrick, a prominent accounting and fractional CFO services firm in NYC. Known for her innovative strategies, she has a proven track record in improving operational and financial performance. Ramona is also an author, hosting the podcast “In Great Company” and writing the book “Simple Choices Big Rewards in Money.” Prior to FiBrick, she held CFO positions at Handy and worked for Fortune 500 companies, tech startups, and small businesses. She actively mentors through Women Entrepreneurs of NYC (WENYC), serves on the New York State’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Advisory Board, and contributes as a member of the Gusto Partner Advisory Council. Ramona’s contributions have been recognized, earning her titles like Notable Woman in Accounting and Consulting by Crain’s and the 2022 Empire Whole Health Heroes Award recipient.


What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Ramona Cedeño: For me, being an entrepreneur is all about waking up every day fired up to use my skills, my expertise, and my passion to make life better for me and everyone else, all through my business. It’s about making every single day count and boosting our happiness.

Tell us about your first experience with entrepreneurship.
RC: After over a decade in the corporate world I hit a point where my work-life balance just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So, I took a leap and left my job, not really sure what was next. While I was job hunting, a buddy of mine threw out the idea of starting my own thing. I’d toyed with the idea before but never really had the guts to go for it until then. Suddenly, it was like a lightbulb went off—I thought, “What’s the worst that could happen? If my having my own business doesn’t pan out the way I’d like It to, I can always jump back into the 9-5 life.” And let me tell you, the support was unreal. My family, friends, old coworkers, and the incredible energy of New York City itself—everyone was behind me. It was like the universe was saying, “Now’s your time.”

The early days were scary. Having one client or two at the beginning makes entrepreneurship lead to a feeling of instability. It required a lot of self-talk and trust that things would just work out.

What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
RC: I’d have focused on my growth plan from day one and would have designed It with a clear plan for achievement. Instead, I was taking it day by day for the first two years.

What does “success” look like for you? We’d love to hear your biggest, boldest dream. What do you think will help you achieve it?
RC: My biggest, boldest dream is to pass on my vision of what my firm should be and what it should accomplish to my team and successors so that it’s no longer just about Ramona but about the FiBrick approach and what FiBrick aims to contribute to the world.

What is your superpower as an entrepreneur?
RC: My empathy

What are your personal driving principles, your top values?
RC: Integrity, knowledge, community, collaboration, family, faith

How have your personal principles and values shaped your company’s values and principles?
RC: My personal values show up in everything we do at FiBrick, from the way we deliver our services and connect with our clients to the way we support our team members when they have a family emergency or need a day of rest to recharge. One of our client’s spouses was recently ill. They were going through a hard time as a family. I made it a priority to pick up the phone as soon as I saw her call come through. It was important to ensure we reduce any overwhelm related to tax or finance matters if we could. Some of our team members have young children. I understand how stressful it can be to have to show up to work when your kids are sick or the babysitter is not available. We come to the rescue in those situations and reassure them that focusing on the urgent family issue today will allow them to focus on their work tomorrow.

Can you share some insights into the market or industry you operate in? How have you navigated challenges and changes in the market landscape?
RC: Being an accounting and finance professional is very fulfilling. I knew I wanted to be an accountant when I was 19 and have never second-guessed my career path. But it is a fact that accounting can be challenging at times. The crunched deadlines, the ever-changing accounting and tax laws, and the number of software applications and processes needed to deliver in this industry can definitely wear anyone down. And let’s not forget about expectations of accuracy, timeliness, and the utmost trustworthy reputation! lol. Anyone who wants to be happy and succeed in this industry must be completely certain that this is their passion. I am.

Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
RC: I love sharing my morning routine! The first thing I do when I realize I’m awake is pray. I mentally recite three different prayers three times each. One of them is the serenity prayer. Then I meditate for ten to 20 minutes depending on how much time I have. I do guided meditations alternating between gratitude, visualization, and breathing exercises. From there I move to getting my son up and making him breakfast and coffee for me. I drive him to school and head to the gym after. I follow the same routine at least four days a week. The other days, I stop at the meditation. My work day starts at 9.30am, from home. I typically have my breakfast around 1pm – coincidentally doing intermittent fasting. I have never been able to eat early in the day. My breakfast is typically scrambled eggs with all the veggies I can find In the fridge, coconut water, and coffee. Recently, I started drinking green juice after finding the perfect mix of carrots and spinach.

How do you manage the work-life balance as an entrepreneur? What strategies have you found effective in maintaining your well-being?
RC: In addition to my morning routine, I am very protective of my personal time and my time with family and friends. Meeting up with the people I love is a driver for me, and so is traveling. I have weekly lunches with my 14-year-old son and meet up with my 23-year-old son as often as we both can. I get together with my sisters and friends for dinners, dancing, spa days and girls trips. I also enjoy planning vacations, organizing my walk-in closet, watching the sunset. My work-life balance is my top priority. Some strategies I have implemented to enjoy the right balance for me include: hiring the resources I need for my business, delegating, working with the right client-fit, and calendarizing my personal time.

Where do you turn for inspiration?
RC: Motivational speakers like Vishen Lakhiani, Tony Robbins, and Lisa Nichols, and entrepreneurship podcasts and courses.

Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or words of wisdom to get through the tough days?
RC: During tough days, I say to myself “I have been here before, I know there is a lesson or skill to be learned, and I know this will pass.”

What is a problem that keeps you up at night?
RC: Other people’s financial problems and not being able to help solve them.

How do you think about helping others through your work?
RC: I look to motivate and inspire others to be less afraid of financial challenges and begin taking steps to overcome them.

What advice do you have for fellow (and aspiring) entrepreneurs building and leading teams?
RC: Team members often become our second or third family. It’s critical to hire people who will not only share your and your company’s values but also share your vision for the company and the team’s culture.

What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as – as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
RC: I want to be remembered as the entrepreneur who used her passion for financial empowerment to help clients, employees, communities and her family live free of money worries and build a secure financial future.

Do you have someone you’d like to nominate to be profiled in our Faces of Entrepreneurship series? Please let us know by emailing media@thecenter.nasdaq.org or submitting your nomination using this form.

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