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In Entrepreneurship Start With What You Know


Hundreds of people have asked me how I launched and sustained my business, Change Agent Consulting, LLC, since launching more than twelve years ago. I’m always happy to shed light on my experience as an entrepreneur because much of what I know I had to learn on my own. In other words, it’s one of the ways I pay it forward. I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family and my background was in family studies and mental health, so business was nowhere on my radar. What I know is this-that when I started to fantasize about being in the shoes of organizational development consultants while I was working at a nonprofit organization-I felt compelled to to do something about it. That resulted in me doing research on the field of organizational development consulting, and opportunities I could potentially tap into to get started. I applied to be vetted in several consultant pools connected to organizations working to build the capacity of not for profit organizations. My very first gig was in Portland, Oregon for NeighborWorks America. When I was asked to go, I couldn’t have imagined at that time I would be selected, given an opportunity right away, get paid very well, and flown to another part of the country to launch my consulting career. The irony is, the consultants I would fantasize about all came from NeighborWorks America. 

All that happened because I started with what I knew. I knew NeighborWorks America had a consulting pool that I could apply for. I knew that there was a ton of information on the world wide web that I could glean from. And I knew that I had something to offer from the work I had already done in community organizing, resident leadership, homebuyer education, and financial management. No embellishment needed; when you start with what you know and tailor that information to each respective opportunity, you can’t help but win.   

And the funny thing is I’m back working with another client in Portland and I just got a contract to be a governance coach with the NeighborWorks America Excellence in Governance program. Full circle y’all. 

The nice thing is you don’t have to do it alone. The Be Well Fabulous Black Woman Tour will not only appeal to your wellness sense but your business sense as well. Yours truly will be doing a workshop called, The 10 Things I’ve Learned In Business. If you have a desire to start or scale a business, you will not want to miss this workshop. The tour is also an opportunity to be inspired by some of the best and the brightest in the business, leadership, and wellness world. See the video below to hear from those who’ve already attended.

Our last tour stop is in Grand Rapids on June 4 at the Crowne Plaza. You’ll hear from Dr. Lynn Richardson, MC Lyte’s business partner & financial celebrity expert (you may have seen her on the Steve Harvey Show), Dr. Geneva Speaks, Ms. Black Fine & Fit Beauty Queen, Lisa A. Smith, Professionally Fit, LLC and founder of the Black Health Academy, and more. There will also be networking, a strategy session, powerful breakouts, vendors, a live DJ, amazing raffle prizes, and fun! To purchase your ticket go here. We’ll be ending with a riverboat tour at 6 p.m. so even if you can’t be with us for the day, please join us for our after party. 

There are also vending and sponsorship opportunities available for the tour. If you want to be a vendor hereis the form. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, you can reach us here. 

Be well beauties,

Demarra Gardner


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