The Sound of Success
For Claudia Orci, the road to success as the owner of A Sound Start meant making some big life changes. After many years working in the corporate world, Orci was inspired by the birth of her first child to pursue a career in education. Woman-owned business and unique education program, A Sound Start, was the perfect place for Orci to incorporate music, her passion, into education.
A Sound Start opened its doors in Jersey City in 2006 as an educational program that integrates music into learning. Students range in age from birth to five years old and are accompanied by an adult. In order to make their experience more inclusive, Orci has stripped away the typical “mommy and me” title to include fathers, grandparents, nannies, and others. Through utilizing various instruments, students learn concepts such as numbers, colors, shapes, and the alphabet. “What’s unique about A Sound Start is that it’s not only a class to learn about movement, it’s a class to learn about music. I teach the kids and the parents about notes, about dynamics, and about the fundamentals of music,” Orci says.
Before A Sound Start, Orci was a member of the corporate world, where she always felt something was missing. It was only when she attended a class at A Sound Start with her newborn daughter that Orci rediscovered her love of music; she knew this was something she wanted to get involved with. Orci continued to attend classes with her daughter and became a regular at A Sound Start while simultaneously working towards her Kindermusic Educator License. Equipped with her new credentials, Orci joined the A Sound Start team in 2011. It wasn’t long before she moved up in the ranks; in 2017 she became the voice of A Sound Start as both the director and owner of the school, becoming the second female business owner of the institution. Despite her new career path, Orci’s years in the professional world were not in vain. Her experiences in previous jobs have helped shape how she operates A Sound Start. With a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Finance, paired with her professional experience in marketing and advertising, Orci learned not only how to run a business, but how to keep it running as well.
In addition to playing the guitar, the piano, and being a skilled vocalist, Orci incorporates parts of her own life experiences, new and old, in each class she teaches. As an immigrant from Mexico, Orci has integrated her Spanish background into her curriculum at A Sound Start. Students participate in Canta Conmigo, or “sing with me,” where they sing songs in Spanish.
View this post on Instagram
More recently, Orci continued her education and graduated from Positive Education at The Center of Positive Psychology. She has applied her knowledge of growth, mindset, and skills of resilience to every class. Perhaps her largest influences, however, involve being a woman business owner and a mom. Orci believes being a woman has had a positive impact on her students; she hopes to be viewed as a role model. As a mother of a 13 year old and a 10 year old, Orci can empathize with both students and adults on the importance of flexibility and being present in each other’s lives. “I’ve always tried to combine work with family and try to get that balance,” says Orci.
Although women only make up 40% of all US business owners, being a minority has never stopped Orci from doing what she loves. She believes that being a woman in such a male-dominated field can have many benefits, which she credits with her commitment to the business. Perhaps the greatest benefit is having a community of women to rely on. One of her biggest female advocates has been the previous owner of A Sound Start, Andi Guden. Additionally, Orci has strong support from other women-owned businesses in Jersey City. Orci describes their relationship as being part of a community, “We support each other; we know each other; we root for each other.” The support she receives inspires Orci to give back to the community. When asked if she had any advice for young women looking to own their own business, Orci divulged, “Owning your own business is challenging. It’s something you have to commit to; you have to prepare, you have to be very organized, and you have to be willing to put a lot of effort and a little extra time.”
Being a woman business owner isn’t always easy, however. Orci describes the challenges of being a woman in such a male-dominated field, “I think I’ve had to work double; I’ve had to put more effort, I’ve had to be more decisive, I’ve had to be more firm. I’ve had to build this path because sometimes doors close; I’ve had to face challenges.” Although it can be challenging being a woman business owner, Orci states that the Jersey City Community has welcomed her with open arms. She says, “The Jersey City community has always been so supportive, it’s a beautiful community.”
In summation, Claudia Orci is an inspiration to not only the students that she teaches, but to their families as well. As a working mom in Jersey City, Orci is a role model to her students, the community, and her family. She believes one of the greatest benefits of being a woman business owner is that you don’t have to fit one specific mold or follow one sort of pattern; you can be happy doing what you like. She explains, “I think doing what you love helps you to do it in the best way possible. I’ve had the fortune of doing what I love and being committed to what I believe in.”