Inspiring Stories

How an idea became an opportunity of a lifetime

By Sergio A. Lagunas @salagunas

An all-around emerging leader in business, non-profit and public relations, Leslie Valdivia  is an entrepreneur that knows no limits. Leslie currently works at RSE, a marketing and public relations agency in Sacramento. She is also the co-founder of a new beauty brand, Vive Cosmetics. As described on their website, “Vive Cosmetics is a cosmetics brand created by Latinas for Latinas and the Latinx* community.” Leslie is also starting a nonprofit organization with Lucero Serrano that will be committed to serving career-minded Latinas, and they recently hosted their first annual conference that featured the legendary civil rights leader Dolores Huerta as their special guest.

Left: Leslie Valdivia, Center: Dolores Huerta, Right: Lucero Serrano

Leslie attended Lodi High School and graduated from Sacramento State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications studies with an emphasis in public relations. She also completed a double minor in journalism and Spanish. Leslie was heavily involved with student organizations while she attended Sacramento State. She participated as an undergraduate in MAR of Sac State (Mujeres Ayudando la Raza) and then she joined Sigma Pi Alpha, a Latina/Chicana Sorority.

Her career path, like many college students, was not evident during her first few years as an undergraduate student. Leslie switched her college major three times before choosing an academic program that she loved. According to the University of La Verne, about 60% of students change their major of study, and that the average student changes their major about three times during their undergraduate studies. Leslie started her college experience as a student pursuing a career as a pediatrician, then she changed her interest to becoming a nurse. Her academic and career goals changed completely, and she set her mind on becoming a TV reporter. Eventually her career goals evolved into focusing on public relations.

Leslie Valdivia during a speech.

Leslie uses her college education in public relations and her marketing work experience to promote her beauty brand. She made solid connections while in college that has contributed to building a network of supporters for her business. Leslie has worked in the nonprofit world for a few years, where she immersed herself in learning entrepreneurship and business skills.

It was also during this time that she realized the cruel reality that there are many people who have great ideas and never get to see them come to fruition. This is especially true for people of color and Latinos, who do not have the capital, organizational knowledge, or resources to start their own businesses and build wealth. Upon realizing all the opportunities available for anyone willing to take on entrepreneurship, Leslie had to engage and create something extraordinary, something she had never done before. This is how Vive Cosmetics was born.

Visit to view all of their beauty products.

Leslie is a master at managing her time, and she dedicates time after her day job to work on her brand, Vive Cosmetics. Leslie shares her inspiration for starting her brand, “For me, starting Vive Cosmetics has been a blending of my love for working with the Latinx community, and my passion for makeup and all things beauty. I am blessed in my privilege to combine my two loves, and I hope people love using our products as much as we loved and feel honored to bringing this dream to life.” Leslie’s company has been getting a lot of positive attention. Latina magazine featured the founders of Vive Cosmetics on their website: These Two Latinas Are Changing the Beauty Game One Lipstick at a Time

Founders of Vive Cosmetics. (Left: Joanna Rosario-Rocha, Right: Leslie Valdivia)

Leslie is definitely rising as an entrepreneur and public relations professional. She was nominated and won the 2017 Rising Star Award from the Sacramento State Latino Alumni Chapter. Her award recognition is proof that her inspiring work has produced positive career outcomes. Leslie wants to see Vive Cosmetics grow into a globally credible brand. She also looks forward to continue growing as a professional in the public relations and marketing world.

Leslie Valdivia graduated from Sacramento State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with minors in Spanish and Journalism. She works at RSE and co-founded Vive Cosmetics. You can follow her via Twitter @lesli_valdivia or IG @leslievaldivia