Her husband, who she describes as brilliant, is her COO; her four-year-old daughter, Sofia, is her quality assurance manager; and her Shi Tzu dog, Aquiles, serves as co-worker and head of security.
And she’s the CEO.
Two years ago, Cristal Ordonez turned her daughter’s love of toys into a business. “We enjoyed seeing our daughter having fun with toys while learning,” she says. “Toys produced today delve into how they can impact a child’s learning process.it’s so much more than a cute toy.” If Ordonez wasn’t in the toy biz, she says she would work for a nonprofit on a worldwide level. “My passion is related to impacting the lives of children,” she adds. “There’s nothing compared to it in the world.”
Her online company, GigglingToys.com®, was awarded the Better Business Bureau Distinction for Excellence in Customer Service. The company, welcoming at least 300,000 visitors a month, offers award-winning toys from around the world for ages up to 15. Ordonez plans to open the company’s first retail location in 2008.
The Bauer College of Business graduate arrived in the states from Venezuela just ten years ago, and it was love at first sight. “I knew it was the best fit for me,” Ordonez says. She is the oldest of four, three of whom are Cougar alumnae-the youngest is a freshman at UH.
Ordonez wants future Cougars to know that alumni do care about the next generation. She hopes to inspire others to “pay it forward” with the GigglingToys® Bauer College Scholarship in which a portion of all Cougar-related sales will fund the scholarship for a student who is first in the family to attend college. “Education goes far beyond a degree,” she says.
Her favorite toy growing up? My Little Pony. It was green and smelled like mint.
Sheryl E. Taylor
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.
About the Bauer College of Business
The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.