Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: abelmancommunications@gmail.com Phone: 440.725.8861...

By Stephanie Davis   |   Photo by Jim Baron

LaShawn Reed-Kendricks dreamed of being a defense attorney as a young child. Although that dream shifted over time, a hint of that childhood vision later influenced grown-up career choices, as she now is blazing a path of defending and drawing out the entrepreneurial abilities and skills of women across Northeast Ohio as founder of Essentials 4 Success and Success Her Way Summit.

Through her small business she offers client-tailored one-on-one business consulting/coaching for individuals, families, groups, teams, and organizations. Offerings include consulting, teambuilding processes, workforce transition management, and processes to effectively reorganize or restructure with minimal productivity loss. The Success Her way Summit piece of the business encompasses an annual conference and varied training and networking opportunities throughout the year for “emerging women leaders.”

Dovetailing with her coaching business, Reed-Kendricks — the corporate relations director for Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council —is equally invested in helping minority business owners achieve their goals.

OMSDC was organized to create and support an environment for developing mutually beneficial relationships/opportunities between certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) and member organizations, potentially building economic links between minority suppliers and public/private sectors and supporting minority business development.

“More than two-thirds of MBEs confirm an increase in revenues as a result of partnerships with corporations after receiving their certification,” she says. “Minority business owners have an advantage of building relationships with corporate partners of the OMSDC by attending networking and educational events. This certification is recognized by every corporate partner in our network including several billion-dollar roundtable members.”

Examples of big-name companies that partner or participate as billion-dollar members include The Kroger Co., Procter and Gamble Co., Toyota Motor North America, KeyBank, Eaton Corp., Sherwin-Williams, Huntington Bank, Macy’s, and Honda North America.

Companies on this list are currently spending $1 billion or more with minority suppliers every year, according to Reed-Kendricks. “Having this certification allows MBEs access to connect with both public and private corporations throughout the state of Ohio,” she says.

Such a certification is designed to give minority business owners a competitive edge, according to Reed-Kendricks. “Minority businesses help make up the economic landscape here in Northeast Ohio. It is a goal to connect them to the right resources to help them gain access to larger contracts,” she says.

“MBEs certified with OMSDC, when given the opportunity to compete for business, have a positive impact on helping corporations reduce costs and better meet their needs. MBEs also tend to be at the forefront of innovation and creativity in their respective fields,” she adds.

As a minority business owner herself, Reed-Kendricks says an essential for her own success in her coaching business has been what she describes as “an amazing support system of successful business owners” and an understanding that you can’t do it all yourself.

“One of the major things that has allowed me to continue on my journey of entrepreneurship is connecting with other entrepreneurs, especially when you’re a one-woman show,” she says. “It can get overwhelming, doing marketing, selling, and relationship-building. It’s so important to have the support of others who have already gone down the path.

“I have both male and female mentors in my network,” she says, adding that her husband has been influential in the mentoring role, as he has owned and invested in businesses for 15-plus years. “He’s one of the smartest entrepreneurs I know. He knows when to take risks and when not to.”

She took a risk on Essentials 4 Success as a result of the Success Her Way Summit, which took place in May 2016. “I saw a need to host a conference that gave emerging women leaders an opportunity to focus on attaining their next level of success. Women came out in record numbers, with our event selling out at 155 women,” she says.

Afterward she surveyed women who attended the event. “I found that many of them came out because they wanted to make new connections, receive encouragement to keep pushing forward, gain knowledge on how to become a better business owner/ business leader, and meet other women who could potentially become customers,” she says.

Entrepreneurs at the event shared many general business concerns, such as how to start and structure a business, developing a business plan, knowing what documents to file with the state, and how to grow the business.

Her wheels kept turning. She soon made a connection between her first hosted event and converting her idea of a consulting business into reality. Now through Essentials 4 Success, she says, “I connect with those in the idea phase of a business who have a great idea. I help to connect them with resources through Northeast Ohio.”

Looking forward, Reed-Kendricks says, “In the next two years I plan to take the Success Her Way Summit to different cities throughout the country. Other goals consist of building my motivational speaking portfolio and opening up a unique gathering space that will allow entrepreneurs/business leaders to conduct meetings, and host seminars and other private events.”

For more info: essentials4success.biz

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