Sisters who SOAR: Ilka Chavez – Community Leader and CEO of Corporate Gold

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By Ramunda Lark Young

Ilka Chavez

This column is a series created by entrepreneur and community leader Ramunda Lark Young, and is poised to connect and learn from extraordinary women of color who’ve surpassed obstacles and rose to great success.

Ilka is an entrepreneur and results-driven leader with superior communication skills in corporate and community settings.  She is also a sought-out public speaker with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.  Ilka led the development and completion of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Electronic Transaction and Code Sets regulation. By promoting the greater use of electronic transactions and the elimination of inefficient paper forms, the administrative simplification regulations were expected to provide a net savings to the health care industry of $29.9 billion over 10 years.

She is also an avid supporter of education and was elected to serve on the Manassas City School Board.

Currently, Ilka is the CEO of Corporate G.O.L.D. (Global Organizational Leadership Development). Her organization specializes in leading millennials with “baby boomer” strategies and helps align an organization’s internal values with leadership strategies that create sustainable development.

Ramunda:  So you currently live in Manassas, which is part of the Greater Prince William County area.  What made you move to Manassas and how long have you lived there?

Ilka:  I moved to Manassas from New York as one of my cousins moved there and asked me to come too.  I stayed because I wanted amazing public schools and Manassas City was perfect.  I’ve been here for 23 years now and enjoy it.

Ramunda:  You are an avid leader and entrepreneur.  What motivates you to do what you do?

Ilka:  I truly love exemplary leadership.  Historic leaders like John F. Kennedy, Jr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Maya Angelou inspire so many people.  My purpose is to grow leaders and when I see the tremendous legacy each one of the previous history makers left, it motivates me.  I am committed to showing our children what great leadership look like.  They need to see figures who are humble, live with integrity, and are respectful and honest.  This is my life’s work, my legacy; I must “make an impact.”

Ramunda:  Our entire Sisters Who SOAR series intentionally focuses on teaching women how to build relationships and create a network of value.  What three tips would you give women entrepreneurs to help establish authentic connections with thought leaders, and mentors?

Ilka:  My top three tips are:

  • Maintain your integrity. Never do anything that will keep you up at night!  However, we perform behind closed doors, should reflect how we are out front.  Authenticity is simply best.  We must simply be who are meant to be.
  • Relationships matter more than money! Focus on giving value and over delivering.  Anchor on mainlining your relationships and integrity.
  • Be yourself! Don’t pretend to be someone else.  Everyone else is already taken.  Go at your own pace and stay “laser focused.”  When you try to be someone else, or the competition, that’s when you begin to live a lie.

Ramunda:   The premise behind interviewing powerful women lies within the acronym SOAR which means Surpass Obstacles and Rise.   What was the most difficult obstacle for you to overcome in your career, and how did you surpass it?

Ilka:  I had to learn how to stop becoming my title and my job, because I forgot who I was.  Stepping away from an extremely powerful and high-ranking corporate position as Chief of Operations was crucial.  Often we become our titles and forget who we truly are. I was always concerned with putting everyone else’s needs before mine.  I ensured my peers and supervisors were in a position to shine while I stood in the shadows and dimmed my light.  In the end, I had to learn to understand that if what I was doing did not contribute to me reaching my personal goals, then it is ok to walk away… and fast!

It took me two decades to learn.  I stepped away from my elected position and a high-powered position with the government to go after my purpose.  I had to find my anchor in God.  I had to pray more and grow spiritually.  When I did this, I overcame my obstacles.  Obstacles are simply opportunities.  I now own Corporate Gold and allowed myself the space and time to change.

Ramunda:  What would you tell your 12-year old self about fear? Or success?

Ilka:  Fear, doubt, worry and procrastination are all sin! It means you’re not trusting God! The most important action you can take it to face fear in the face!  You have to trust and not be afraid because fear will inevitably come.  You’ll get naysayers and negativity, but you have to face it!  As soon as you face fear and surpass it, there will only be glory on the other side.  Don’t wait, face it now!

Ramunda:  What is next on the horizon for you?

Ilka: I’m always thrilled to work with new clients, teaching them how to see themselves as leaders.  My company Corporate Gold stands for Global Organizational Leadership Development. I speak Spanish fluently and am focused on international leaders around the globe who are looking to transform their lives.  I’ve also turned into a writing machine!  Below are some of the books I’ve been privileged to be part of.

  • The Innovators”presented by Pete Winiarski and Terri Levine – 3/2017
  • “Success University for Women in Business” by Jan Fraser and Catherine Scheers  (11/16)
  • “Permission to Win” presented by Kimberly Hart, International (12/16)
  • “Feminine Influencers” by Zaza Giroday (International Best Seller)

You can find Ilka Chavez online and on social media at

Facebook:  Corporate Gold

Twitter:  corporateg0ld

Linked In:  Ilka.Chavez

Email:  [email protected] gold

Office:  571.359.8370

Ramunda Lark Young

About Ramunda Lark Young: Mom, SocialPreneur, wife, community leader, lover of people and God. She is the Chief Encouragement Officer and Connection Strategist of Ramunda Young, Inc., a firm dedicated Encouraging Extraordinary Women to SOAR! Built on the premise that leaders can exceed beyond their expectations when given the proper tools and connections, Young has dedicated her life to equipping women for success

She and her husband co-founded MahoganyBooks, an online award winning bookstore whose books are by and about people of the African Diaspora.

Twitter: @soarwithramunda
Instagram: @soarwithramunda Facebook: Ramunda Lark Young, Connection Strategist


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