40 Under 40 Class of 2020

Kyle Rodrigues

Director of Sales & Pop-Up Shops, Johnny Cupcakes; Age 30; Education: Framingham State University (BA)

Among her myriad roles — both with ‘the world’s first T-shirt bakery’ and volunteering in the community — Rodrigues travels the country monthly to conferences and events, working to inspire companies and organizations to collaborate with the Johnny Cupcakes brand.

Kyle Rodrigues

Kyle Rodrigues      Photo by Rachel Elliot Photography

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted nothing more than to be a fashion designer, so it’s pretty wild that, after working up the ranks in industries ranging from toys to candles to web development, I finally landed myself in the most fun clothing company there ever could be.

Who inspires you, and why? My parents are my biggest inspiration. Both of my parents worked so hard and taught me the value of that at a young age. Work to live!

What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far in your career? Landing my job. I was ready for a change and reached out to the owner of the company, Johnny, via e-mail. I gave him my ‘Portuguese pitch’ as to why I would be an excellent employee, a hard worker making his life easier, and why he should hire me. Fifteen minutes later, he FaceTimed me, and the rest is history. I always tell others to put yourself out there because the worst that happens is you are in the same spot you are right now, and the best is getting everything you ever wanted. Also, this past year, after hearing of the devastation in Australia from the fires, I sent my team an e-mail to see if we could produce a pre-order to help raise funds for relief efforts. After two weeks, we sold more than 1,000 T-shirts and raised $100,000 AUD to donate between three charities.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? It would be my grandmother so I could tell her about visiting her village and how much I love her.

What’s your favorite hangout or activity in Western Mass., and why? It used to be going out for karaoke and dancing with my best friend and sister, Erikka, at the Huke Lau. RIP Huke!

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? I relate to Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation the most, professionally and personally. She is always the most positive through adversity, and she is a fiercely devoted friend.

What three words best describe you? Optimistic, outgoing, resilient.