Storytelling is a fundamental part of visibility. If you don’t believe us, just ask Victoria Carrington Chavez, a passionate advocate for brands’ power and presence.

A Colorado native, Victoria is a world traveler and story weaver. This queer, neurodiverse, and Afro-indigenous JEFA today leads La Mezcla Creative Collective and Lilac and Aspen Creative Co. Her portfolio of professional and creative content not only reflects her Afro-indigenous Latine roots (African American, Mexican, and Diné) but also brings much-needed representation to a thriving industry.

In honor of PRIDE Month, FIERCE spoke with Victoria about her background, her perspectives on diversity, and the importance of telling our stories.

Image used with permission from Victoria Carrington.

For Victoria Carrington, it all started in a classroom

Rita Pierson once said, “Children don’t learn from people they don’t like,” and Victoria Carrington never forgot that. Back when she was a K-8 Spanish educator, she didn’t have much time to devote to creative classroom materials. That’s when she developed key skills using Canva. People praised her beautiful worksheets and classroom decor for starting a side gig with her graphic design skills.

“While I loved teaching and often reflect fondly on my experiences with my students, I realized I had the potential to have a broader impact beyond the classroom walls,” she told FIERCE. “With a background in marketing and communications mixed with my creativity, I decided to pivot into this field, starting with very focused roles in social media strategy for various organizations.”

The 2020 pandemic further sharpened her content creation skills, especially in short, engaging videos.

“Listen, if you’re able to keep 8th graders interested in Spanish virtually through short videos, you can do almost anything with video content,” Victoria said.

Today, she thrives in communications, visual arts, and storytelling. This JEFA specializes in branding and marketing that fosters connection through creative collaboration.

Image used with permission from Victoria Carrington.

Taking a leap of faith

In 2020, Victoria Carrington found confidence in her abilities, which seamlessly transferred into the world of marketing and digital communications.

Three years later, Victoria took a leap of faith and launched Lilac & Aspen, a digital marketing agency committed to amplifying the voices of non-traditional entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and creatives.

“I founded Lilac & Aspen to shine a light on non-traditional businesses and thought leaders, particularly those in the Femme, Queer, and BIPOC communities who are driving inspiring change in their industries,” she said. “Our mission is to empower and amplify the voices of ambitious, creative, and innovative people through compelling communications strategies rooted in authentic visual and verbal storytelling.”

Victoria has since taken her vision to educational institutions such as Northeastern University. She has traveled to Amsterdam as a UGC content creator and worked alongside notable figures such as award-winning children’s author Alyssa Reynoso-Morris and TikTok influencer Mama Nous.

Image used with permission from Victoria Carrington.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing

Today, Victoria Carrington’s creative agency has a waiting list and is experiencing remarkable growth. But it wasn’t all like blowing bubbles.

Facing the professional world as an Afro-indigenous, queer, and neurodiverse Latina woman was definitely a challenge.

“To be honest, I haven’t always felt safe in the typical business world,” she confessed. “The complexity of my identity, which includes multiple layers that many of us navigate, made it difficult to feel truly authentic and supported in traditional corporate settings.”

“For example, the lack of accommodations for my neurodiversity significantly hindered my ability to thrive. There were many situations that drained my energy, forcing me to spend valuable brainpower on masking my true self rather than contributing creatively,” Victoria added.

As has happened to so many other Latinas, she often found that her contributions were overshadowed in her previous roles. Sometimes, her male colleagues were the ones who received recognition for the strategies and ideas she had developed.

“This lack of recognition was disheartening,” she said. I longed to reclaim my space and receive the recognition I deserved, not only for my own benefit but also to uplift others who felt similarly marginalized.”

Image used with permission from Victoria Carrington.

It was then that she decided to embrace entrepreneurship and her whole identity

For Victoria Carrington, the need to claim her space and receive the recognition she deserved was twofold. It was not only for her own benefit but also an opportunity to uplift others who felt similarly marginalized.

“This change has not only allowed me to fully utilize my creativity but also to manage my environment in a way that enhances my performance,” she said.

“My business has become a platform where I don’t have to compromise any aspect of my identity. For example, I can collaborate with an indigenous-led organization in Amsterdam for one month. Next, I’m involved in projects that celebrate African American culture or work with the Latine community. I really get to thrive outside the box and inspire others like me to do the same.”

Victoria Carrington and one of her premier pieces, “Decolonizing my School Mascot” at a Gala for Her Many Voices Foundation. Courtesy of Victoria Carrington.

Bringing LGBTQ+ identity into the professional space

For Victoria Carrington, starting her own business was a statement of independence and a step toward reclaiming her narrative. It was about becoming the protagonist of her story and celebrating her experience. Victoria was ready to create impactful work while fostering opportunities for others in her community.

However, there is a part of her tenacious character that was slow to come out.

“Growing up in a religion that was not accepting of LGBTQIA+ identities, I spent many years in the closet, feeling unable to be my true self,” Victoria shared. “Being mixed race and Queer felt like ‘too much’ for the community I was in. However, coming out publicly last year marked an important turning point for me.”

Victoria came out as queer publicly at PRIDE last year. Having attended the celebration for years as an ally, the party was now for her as well, as her “gay fairy-mother” told her. “This sentiment resonated deeply with me and underscored the importance of having spaces where one can be fully seen and celebrated,” Victoria added.

For her, the LGBTQ+ community has outgrown the need for “merely safe” spaces. “We deserve environments that are openly affirming,” she said.

“Many times, the voices of queer, BIPOC, and female-identifying artists and creatives too often go unnoticed. Yet these are often the voices at the forefront of social change.”