about the founder

meet the founder

Beatriz McNelly

A versatile and savvy entrepreneur, Beatriz founded the Immigrant Businesswomen Circle (IBWC) to create a safe space for immigrant businesswomen to bond and share experiences. This was also fueled by her passion to contribute to area causes, including the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, the Loudoun Literacy Council and the Arc of Loudoun. She is a board member at both The Arc of Loudoun and The Loudoun Literacy Council and loves being involved in her community.

Beatriz says, “And I am extremely blessed.”

Beatriz’s Story

how it all began

Determination and Perseverance

In the mid-1990s, when the internet often moved at a snail’s pace, Beatriz McNelly and a colleague had what proved to be a good idea: to provide fiber-optic cable to government agencies and businesses. In 1995, she co-founded FiberGate and started working from her basement. She worked hard to keep up with the technology offering a quality service to her customers. The company became successful and created excellent revenue. 17 years later, selling the company brought a prospect and created possibility for Beatriz to follow her passion and become a philanthropist.

During the years that she led Fibergate, Beatriz noticed that clients would often direct their questions to her male colleague but not to her. Often when clients visited the office, they thought I was the cleaning lady,” she says. “I was Hispanic and female.” Beatriz did start her career in America as a cleaning lady.

Born in Argentina, she came to the United States at age 11 — in 1969. Her father, an engineer in Rosario, a large river-port city in the Santa Fe province, wanted his three daughters to have access to careers that were effectively unavailable to women in Argentina. “At that time, the only options were to be a teacher, nurse, or mom,” Beatriz says. Sponsored by a relative, the family settled in Vienna, Virginia. At Beatriz’s new elementary school, no one spoke Spanish. “For months, I didn’t even go to the bathroom because I didn’t know how to ask,” she says. “By the end of the year — and I remember it distinctly like it was yesterday — I was able to give an oral presentation on Rembrandt’s paintings.”

Mother, Mentor & Friend



how her story unfolds

vision, leadership & hard work

Beatriz credits her success to hard work, and the opportunity America so often extends. When she entered the workforce after her children started school, she cleaned houses, rang up fast food, and worked for United Airlines, helping to open new offices in Uruguay and Chile. But without a college degree, she was blocked from advancement. In every opportunity, she showed her determination to build a better life.

A day after Beatriz accompanied her husband to a dinner interview, the prospective employer called her with a job offer. The executive had admired how she helped her husband focus. “Our president needs that,” he told her. “So, they hired me as an executive secretary,” she says. “I had never even been in front of a computer.” Almost two years later, Beatriz, her husband, and a colleague split off from that business to form their own fiber-optics company, launching out of her basement with $5,000. Seventeen years later, with fourteen employees and contracts across Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, they sold the utility company for $117 million.

“I worked extremely hard; when I didn’t know how to do something, I researched it and learned it. But I wished for a supportive network.” she says.

“I was willing to work hard, but I was given a chance.”

Beatriz said when she mentioned how important it was for her to maintain her deep connections with family and friends while working hard and how she wished more support for self-care and from like-minded women.

After some time off, Beatriz found herself helping friends with their businesses and opened a consultancy called BeLogic. Her business success allowed her to follow her dreams. She started The Immigrant Businesswomen Circle (IBWC) as she envisioned the need to have a safe place to bond and support for entrepreneur and business immigrant women. IBWC provides the environment for you to lean, support, and learn from this powerful women network Beatriz once longed to have.

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