Brandie de la Rosa: Transforming Trauma in the Workplace

By Katy Macek | Photography by Hillary Schave

Years ago, Brandie de la Rosa was a victim of domestic violence. It impacted every facet of her life, including at work, where she couldn’t find the support she needed.

So, she’s founded a company to be that support for others.

“I became what I didn’t have and needed at the time,” de la Rosa says.

To fill this much-needed gap in support, she co-created Purple Evolution, a mobile app that provides help for domestic violence victims at the push of a button, and then went on to found E3 Inspire, an organization that works with companies to create trauma-informed policies and practices in their workplaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates intimate partner violence affects about one in four women and nearly one in 10 men.

Those numbers are not only personally devastating but also have economic consequences. Between medical costs, court cases, lost productivity and other issues, the CDC estimates current economic costs of intimate partner violence at about $3.6 trillion.

De la Rosa shares similar statistics with companies interested in working with E3 Inspire: It’s estimated that employers lose about $8.3 billion in costs per year related to domestic violence — a combination of lost productivity and higher overall medical costs.

“Employers don’t realize that,” de la Rosa says. “By educating their entire staff on what to look for [in domestic violence situations], how to support that, it makes employees comfortable to bring it up and leads to solutions.”

E3 stands for educate, empower and engage, all of which are needed to successfully incorporate trauma-informed practices. It’s not just handing an employee a brochure and giving them an Employee Assistance Program number to call.

“It’s having a full-scale approach,” she says. That could include adjusting hours, providing a safety escort or offering domestic violence case management as a benefit to employees (a service offered by E3 Inspire).

Jessica Cavazos, CEO of the Latino Chamber of Commerce and a 2021 BRAVA Woman to Watch, was de la Rosa’s first friend in the city. De la Rosa also sits on the chamber’s board of directors. A survivor of domestic violence herself, Cavazos is continually impressed with de la Rosa’s passion and business plans.

“She’s thought it through based on her experience,” Cavazos says. “She’s solutions-driven, because she’s lived the problem.” De la Rosa has big goals for her company in 2022, including acquiring real estate to start a transitional housing program for domestic abuse survivors. She’s also hoping to start a seed foundation arm of E3 Inspire that will provide funding and resources for survivors to start their own businesses.

“I know some of the red tape, because I’ve gone through it,” she says. “If I’m able to financially support them, help them get a plan and coaching, now they’re inspired — and they can create something that really gives back to their communities.”

Cavazos would expect nothing less. She thinks E3 Inspire is a physical manifestation of de la Rosa’s passion for uplifting others.

“As women, we’re supposed to care for our own, invest in our ecosystem and help women become better versions of themselves,” Cavazos says. “Brandie does that every day.”

It may take time to implement, but de la Rosa’s vision is crystal clear. She knows E3 Inspire is vital to the workforce, and she’s going to get it there.

“The same way you go to a company and expect regular healthcare insurance,” de la Rosa says, “I expect E3 to become a standard part of companies.”

Read about all of our 2022 Women to Watch here.

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