Leila Cristina Velez

Founder and CEO, Beleza Natural

Leila Cristina Velez is the founder and CEO of Beleza Natural, a chain of beauty institutes and a cosmetics factory, specializing in curly hair treatments in Brazil. Beleza Natural currently has 4,000 employees, 47 locations in five states, a factory, five training centers and annual revenues of more than $100 million USD. More than products and services, Beleza Natural provides a full self-esteem experience for more than 130,000 clients each month. Leila started the company from scratch at age 19. Selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader (Davos, Switzerland), she was also chosen as an Endeavor Entrepreneur by Endeavor Global (New York, United States), a Rising Talent by the Women Global Forum (Deauville, France), awarded Female Entrepreneur of the Year by Endeavor (San Francisco, United States), Business Women Award by Veuve-Clicquot (Reims, France), and Best Entrepreneur of the New Brazil by Você magazine (São Paulo, Brazil). Strongly involved in initiatives to promote gender parity and entrepreneurship (CEO Champions, Mulheres do Brasil, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women), she is the mother of two wonderful teenagers, Pedro and Aliel.