Lilly Cabrera: The Origins of Our Founder

Reilly SmithGeneral1 Comment

Lilly Cabrera painting

Lilly Cabrera is the Founder of LILLY + Associates International. Now, ShipLilly is an international transportation and logistics company founded off the work ethic of one amazing woman, Lilly. Lilly’s incredible journey began in 1979 when she moved from Peru to Miami. She had three children to support in a tough economy while lacking support. Many would be discouraged in her position but, this was her biggest motivation. She worked in offices, cleaned apartments, and waited tables for hours on end. Doing this Lilly was able to provide for her family, but she was not able to support her family in the way she had been supported throughout her own childhood. She began searching for answers. During this time, her father’s words returned to her mind: “Regardless of how advanced society becomes, humans will continue to be relied on in the shipping industry.”

By 1986, Lilly broke into the industry with her first job as a receptionist for a freight forwarding company. In this role, she learned and gained as much experience and insider knowledge as possible about how the shipping industry worked. Entering the industry from the bottom would prove to be invaluable for her future.

Learning From her First Company and Climbing the Ladder

While running her first company, Lilly persisted and earned the respect of her colleagues in the shipping industry. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Lilly went back to work as a purchasing agent. She took a job with a local company to get prepared for her next venture. Starting over as a receptionist was not easy, but she persisted, and later, her hard work paid off and she became the Ocean Freight Manager in just three years.

After moving on from this company, Lilly reached out to one of her former employers in the transportation industry. She was aware of their stellar reputation in the industry and knew that they could be a stepping stone for achieving her goals. While at this company, Lilly became the top customer service provider due to her extensive knowledge of the industry and the great relationships that she had built with colleagues over time. One of her notable innovations was contacting a Japanese company that was experimenting with container seals. After noticing how many containers were being broken into in South America Lilly started her second company, “Surveyors,” which specialized in selling container seals and running inspections for clients. 

Lilly & Associates International

With the experience gained from working in the logistics industry, Lilly knew that Miami was soon going to be a capital in the industry. With tremendous foresight and experience in hand, she decided to use her life-time savings and skills in international trade to start her own company with her son Nelson R. Cabrera in 1996 creating Lilly & Associates International.

Despite her deep experience and knowledge of the industry, this proved to be no easy task. Global Trade and Shipping industry is a male-dominated industry. Therefore, Lilly was a pioneer by being a woman breaking into the industry and managing hew own company.

Lilly had the amazing foresight to understand that the South Florida region, being the main gateway to South and Central America, was about to be the game-changing factor in the shipping industry, so she strategically decided to headquarter her company in Miami. This foresight didn’t take too long to pay off, as the exponential increase in demand for logistics started to happen, LILLY + Associates was perfectly placed to offer superior services to all the clients that were flocking to Miami. 

Gaining Industry Knowledge and Leading Innovation

One of the guiding principles and values that drive Lilly is the need to operate a business with integrity. Her company offers personalized services and yet can handle some of the most significant commissions in the industry. No customer is too small or too big to help. One of the enduring and endearing traits of LILLY + Associates International is how the company takes time to know their customers inside and out. In this way, LILLY + Associates can identify any missed opportunities and potential savings through efficiency measures. 

The ratings and reviews speak for themselves. As a testament to the company’s hard work and innovation within the logistics industry, LILLY + Associates International was named a finalist in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Top Minority Business Awards in the category of “On the Map – Miami and Beyond.” This company has made it to the South Florida Business Journal’s list of the Top 100 private companies in South Florida and Florida Business Journal’s list of the “Fast 100” multiple times (which refers to the fastest growing companies in the state). LILLY + Associates International is honored to be included among some of South Florida’s greatest companies.

Reilly Smith

One Comment on ““Lilly Cabrera: The Origins of Our Founder”


    my best honour and salute M/s Lilly
    your life is almost same to my life.Still I am using my all efforts to educate my society about maritime industry,the article about you giving courage and motivation to move forward

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