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Community Spotlight: A Balanced Path to Success and Empowerment

May 28, 2021 ● By Carrie Jackson
A women looking at a paper while checking out an airplane

Jacqueline Ruiz

As a child, west suburban entrepreneur Jacqueline Ruiz felt a strong desire to make a difference and told her mother at an early age that she wanted to change the world. “In my heart, I knew I was here on the Earth to serve. I didn’t have a lot of money or possessions, but realized I could serve with a positive attitude and show up for people,” she recalls. Ruiz has gone on to publish 24 books, start two nonprofits, lead two companies, become a millionaire at 37 and become one of a handful of Latina sport pilots in the world. She was recently named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by NAWBO Chicago among dozens of other accolades, and she empowers myriad women of all ages to achieve their highest potential.

Ruiz credits her success to understanding the importance of duality in life—the things we have to do and the things we strategically progress with. “You have to put in the work of the mundane, the tasks that have to be done. But you also have to take the time to review what you have accomplished; a project or dream or passion that is whimsical and fulfilling. If you spend too much time on the mundane, life becomes robotic and you lose the sweetness, but if there’s too much dreaming, the vision can get lost,” she says.

Ruiz says that truly knowing how she is wired and connecting to her inner self allows her to see a bigger picture outside of herself, and helping others motivates her every decision. “I call myself a dreamcatcher and disperse micro-moments of happiness to people throughout the day. I know that a seemingly little action or word can make a huge difference in someone’s day. We have to remember that we are responsible for how we live every day and have the power to make decisions that are meaningful and intentional. The key is finding the balance of strategy and magic, and integrate that into each day,” she explains.

Her journey has not been without obstacles. Ruiz was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 21, and two years later doctors found that she was precancerous stage 4 and gave her a 30 percent chance of living. “I told my doctor that I needed to be out of the hospital by next week because I had to take my finals. I needed to graduate with honors and continue building my first business, and most importantly, raise my five-month-old son.” Being so close to death has helped Ruiz embrace life even more, and she makes self-care an important part of her routine with regular exercise, writing, massages, swimming, reading and other rituals that fulfill her.

With so much of her time spent in hospitals in her early 20s, Ruiz is now mindful of how she spends every minute. “The Greeks had two gods for time, and I aim to find balance with both. Kronos, the god of chronological time, counts every minute that passes and is very organized. Kairos is the god of opportune time, and seizes opportunities when things align and the time is right. The former is quantitative and the latter is qualitative, giving a holistic approach to the idea of time,” she explains.

Ruiz motivates others through workshops, book clubs, mentorship programs and her own marketing agency and publishing house. She is a motivational speaker who has presented to United Airlines, Facebook, Airbus, the Chicago Department of Aviation, Chicago Housing Authority, the University of Chicago and Macy’s, among others. She has opened up a door to elevate Latinas in aviation around the world with the first book and magazine that captures their stories, and a $5,000 #Pilotina scholarship for Latinas that want to enter the world of aviation.

She founded The Fig Factor Foundation, a mentorship program for young Latina women to receive guidance and support through exploring core values, discussing literature, creating vision boards and embarking on cultural outings to destinations such as the Lyric Opera and Ravinia. “I want to give these more than 180 ladies a chance to see that they can do whatever they put their mind to and opportunities to experience things they may not have been able to otherwise,” she says.

Ever the entrepreneur, Ruiz is always looking forward and ready for the next achievement. “To me, success means both profit and impact. If you focus on money, you will be overcome with greed, but if you only give all the time, it can lead to resentment. I aim to close each day with exponential growth, know that I have made a difference to someone and I’m going to be my best self when I wake up,” she shares.

For more information, call 630-441-6057, email [email protected] or visit

Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at

Watch this month's spotlight interview with Jackie Ruiz and Natural Awakenings Chicago publisher Peggy Malecki here: