How Virginia Toalepai Went From Penniless to Prosperous
Virginia Toalepai, founder and CEO of World Wide Safety (WWS), is the epitome of a positive role model for women both personally and professionally.
Toalepai has put together one of the most disciplined and successful teams in the safety consulting industry today, but she began with the odds stacked heavily against her. She started out five years ago, a recently divorced mother of four young daughters, with $12 in her pocket and the idea that she could help make a difference.
Today, at 36 years old, she has already founded five successful companies over a five-year period. Her drive to make a positive difference in this world is demonstrated through her widespread charitable contributions, starting her own nonprofit, and her involvement in numerous trade associations, charitable and networking organizations.
From her humble beginnings, Toalepai opened WWS in August 2013. WWS assists general contractors, subcontractors, corporations and businesses of all sizes. It has become the largest safety consultation company in Nevada and one of the most successful construction consultation companies in the U.S., a multimillion-dollar operation with 30 employees, and services more than 150 companies and 10,000 workers in several states throughout the nation.
With its corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, WWS also has offices in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Palm Springs and Livermore, California.
Toalepai had a big dream when she came up with the name for her company, World Wide Safety. She had the vision of being the biggest company there is and to be worldwide. She is passionate about educating her clients and assisting them with their safety, health and goals.
Toalepai is keen on saying she may have the very best job in the world because she helps ensure that her clients’ employees make it home safely to their families every night. She says nothing gives her greater satisfaction.
According to Toalepai, “If you desire to be a successful woman in the big business arena, I highly encourage you to do two things: surround yourself with a team that you respect, and that respects you, and always be giving back to the community.”
Toalepai has taken an advanced path to business development and networking. She said, “I met just the right people, joined them, found out what they were interested in, what their passion is in life; and I help support them in their pursuit to success.”
“I credit much of my company’s success to my amazing employees,” said Toalepai. “They are my company’s most valuable assets. You surround yourself with people who challenge you, are smarter than you, that focus on your company growth, and nothing can stop you!”
Toalepai and her team work closely with countless well-known general contractors, specialty trade subcontractors, corporations and businesses of all sizes in the development of safety training programs and practical hazard controls. These programs include health/safety program development and implementation, safety leadership training, job site safety inspections, regulatory compliance, emergency management, fall protection, construction safety, respiratory protection, forklift training, SDS/hazardous materials/waste clean-up operations, health and safety management OSHA-required training, and design and implementation of loss prevention initiatives.
“All of us at WWS are passionate about educating our clients and assisting them with their safety, health and goals,” said Toalepai. “That’s why I created my annual Safety Awards to recognize those companies and individuals who are passionate about keeping their employees safe, preventing accidents and clearly saving lives.” WWS will be hosting its Third Annual Safety Awards on January 17, 2019 at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort.
The celebration will be a traditional luau-themed affair, kicking off with a cocktail mix and mingle beginning at 5:30 p.m. The dinner and luau show will start at 6:30 p.m. The awards presentation, recognizing more than 40 organizations ranging from small boutique operations to large corporations that are committed to putting safety first, will follow. The luau show features a performance by Toa Luau, is hosted by “Cousin Billy,” with TV host/producer Courtney Perna from “Las Vegas Now” on KLAS-TV 8 emceeing the program.
WWS’s previous Safety Awards have attracted sold-out crowds with hundreds of attendees at each event. “It is my pleasure, and I consider it a privilege to award these local businesses and individuals that have demonstrated their commitment to safety excellence,” said Toalepai. “I am honored to host our annual Safety Awards to recognize those who make safety a priority by excelling at building, facilitating and promoting safety programs.” Additionally, WWS will honor two dynamic, non-profit organizations with funding as its “Giving Back” recipients.
WWS has opened nominations to the public for these awards. Visit their website at worldwidesafety.org if you know of a company or individual deserving of this recognition.
Though WWS keeps Toalepai busy, she is also the founder of 300 Productions, a music and record label, entertainment, film production and artist management company and LURYSHOC Cleaning Solutions, a cleaning company; she has created a nonprofit organization, RYSHOC Family—a name created off the first two letters of her children’s names—that offers career training to kids and youth, some who have been in foster care; and currently working on plans to build a hotel in her homeland of Samoa. Toalepai is the ultimate female serial entrepreneur.
Toalepai created her nonprofit, RYSHOC Family, in 2017 to engage at-risk and homeless children and youth by helping them create a future they deserve through life skills, career training and higher education scholarships. “I want to empower these Las Vegas kids by offering job placement and mentor them to pay it forward and be successful as contributing members of our community. Along the way, I strive to make them feel loved and embrace them like I do my family,” she said. Toalepai says she is currently working with a grant writer to obtain more funding for RYSHOC Family.
Toalepai has also just launched a #SafeKids2018 drawing contest where school-age kids submit drawings portraying safety first. She will be providing three $1,000 prizes for schools (grade school, middle school, high school) in the Clark County School District. In addition, the three winning kids will receive a $250 Visa gift card, trophy and certificate, and their schools will receive plaques.
She has been featured in numerous articles and writes a weekly column for the Samoa Observer, based on how women can use her success story to boost their businesses. Topics for her column include success of a woman running a construction consultation company, tips on how to be a successful business person, work of WWS and women in leadership roles.
Toalepai will be breaking ground on a beach-front hotel she is building in her homeland of Apia, Samoa at the end of this year. The first phase of the new hotel will include eight modern, private villas all overlooking the ocean, a guest lobby, pool, bar and two ballrooms for special events.
“I’m so excited about my hotel in my hometown,” said Toalepai. “It gives me one more excuse to get back there often to see my family and friends I don’t get to see often enough.” The official name of the hotel and project cost have not been released yet.
According to Toalepai, “It will take more than just women desiring to overturn years of inequality to create more leadership opportunities for female executives.” But she says, “We women can employ key strategies to help combat the leadership gap and move our workforce towards more balanced leadership: be confident, take control, speak up, generate revenue and ask for money.”
Toalepai sits on the board of directors for HomeAid Southern Nevada, a nonprofit that serves the homeless population and the Associated Builders and Contractors – Nevada Chapter.
She was a recipient of Nevada Business magazine’s Iconic Women of Distinction Awards 2018 and WWS was listed as one of the largest Minority/Women-Owned Businesses in 2018 in Vegas Inc.
She is also a member of numerous organizations including the Nevada Contractors Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Nevada Subcontractors Association, National Association of Minority Contractors, Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, National Association of Safety Professionals, American Society of Safety Professionals, HomeAid Southern Nevada, National Association of Women Business Owners, Salt Lake Home Builders Association and Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Nevada.
For more information about WWS’s progressive services, visit worldwidesafety.org or call 702-355-4979.