Story by Liesel Schmidt
We've all heard the question, "Why do you do what you do?" For Gabriela Q. Bell, the why of her company, Organized Q, begins with the desperate situation she found herself in as a single mother just trying to protect and provide for her children.
The daughter of a service member, Bell grew up understanding all that came with military life: the moves, the lack of constancy and the challenges of having and keeping a career. Marrying a military man meant all of that, but when she became a mother, Bell realized she had to give up teaching to stay home with her children—the cost of doing otherwise would simply be too great.
As it became glaringly obvious that she needed to support herself and disentangle her life—and that of her four children—from her abusive husband of 21 years, Bell discovered that remote work was the key to attending to the needs of her kids, one of whom was critically ill. Working as a virtual assistant, she pulled in enough income to provide for her family and support herself without her husband’s income. Not only did it give her financial independence, it also gave her freedom from the danger of a violent marriage.
“In 2019, I found myself in the parking lot of the hospital where my daughter was being treated for a very serious illness,” says Bell, a contributing author of Deserts to Mountaintops: Our Collective Journey of (re)Claiming Our Voice, in which she recounts the story of how and why she created Organized Q. “At that time, I knew that I needed to find flexible remote work that fit into my complicated life. Taking my background as an educator, program coordinator and executive director, I was able to combine those skills and marketed them to a handful of executives all from the comfort of my car. As long as I had a solid Wi-Fi connection, I was able to provide useful and meaningful services to my clients. I quickly realized that not only was there a need for these services, but there was a large population of other military spouses looking for flexible remote work that could fit into their lives.”
"...there was a large population of other military spouses looking for flexible remote work that could fit into their lives.” -Gabriela Bell
And so Bell launched Organized Q, providing virtual assistant services to companies in need of the various offerings these individuals could fulfill. “Organized Q provides virtual executive assistant services to small business owners, executives and social impact organizations,” she explains. “Organized Q's social impact mission is in providing flexible remote work opportunities to military spouses, veterans and under-employed professionals.”
That impact mission is particularly important to Bell. “I'm so proud of how we’re making a difference in people's lives,” she says. “Not only are we able to help other small business owners and leaders grow their businesses, but Organized Q has provided hundreds of flexible remote work opportunities to military spouses, veterans and under-employed professionals who are in need of flexible remote work that fits into their lives. When team members tearfully tell me that they appreciate that Organized Q took a chance on them after having been out of the workforce for years and that they feel like they matter and are part of a caring, growing team, that makes my heart soar. It also feels amazing to be recognized by the likes of Forbes and Google for Startups and to have won pitch competitions that have allowed me to continue growing Organized Q."
“Outside of my professional life, I'm most proud of building a sustainable business that has allowed me to be with my children while we endured some of the hardest family challenges in our lives,” she goes on. “With me as the only parent in their [lives], it makes me proud that they have seen the hard work, dedication and determination that has gone into us surviving domestic abuse, abandonment and poverty. It's not been easy, but when they tell me they are proud of me, it reminds me of why I am doing this. All of this hard work has been for them and to keep some semblance of peace and stability in their lives.”
Organized Q currently boasts 25 executive assistants on their team, with hundreds on a waiting list wanting to join the award-winning company. “Organized Q and other companies that provide flexible remote work are important because society is relooking at what work/life harmony means to them,” says Bell. “It's not about balance, but integration. Organized Q knows that with creativity, ingenuity and a drive to succeed, a lot of work can be completed in a different fashion than we've traditionally experienced. As far as hiring military spouses—who experience an unemployment rate six times the national average—we are enabling them to keep work positions that can move with them while supporting their military service member and building a meaningful professional career for themselves that integrates into their lives.”