Where were born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun?
LJ: I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. My mother moved our family (me and my 3 brothers) to Loudoun when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I moved to New York after college and after 27 years away, I came back to Loudoun in 2017.
When did you launch your first business and how did you get into your current line of work?
LJ: I launched my business in May of 2020. It’s a long story, but I got into this line of work after working on a temp assignment at a Goldman Sachs Conference Center. I learned that Goldman had outsourced the services to another company. I was offered a job with that company and after 6 weeks got my first promotion. This is where I began learning about operational excellence, outsourcing and Project Management. I have been working in Operations ever since, for more than 20 years.
Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that influenced your career?
LJ: Quite honestly, there were not a lot of people who looked like me in the world of Outsourcing and Operations at the Senior level, but once I started working with him – my dear friend Mike Mannix (whom I still talk to and meet with regularly) – was always supportive and a great advocate; Indirect inspirations: Ursula Burns, Janice Bryant Howroyd and Shaquille O’Neal. Most recently, those that have been a direct inspiration – Tina Johnson, Angela Mitchell, and Susan Mitchell – talk about powerhouses!! And of course, my mom.
What is the best part of your job and why?
LJ: The best part of my job is seeing an issue, or a broken process that a client has, proposing a solution, implementing it, and seeing the client breathe a sigh of relief when the process is back on track and working or just being able to jump on a call when a client reaches out just to get your feedback, thoughts or recommendation on an operational challenge is priceless. At that point when you feel you’ve been responsive, effective, and brought value to a client when they really needed it and they respect your opinion makes all the hard work rewarding and fulfilling.
What is it like owning/running a business in Loudoun?
LJ: Owning and running a business in Loudoun has been great! It’s definitely a challenge but I am here for it. There are so many good resources to tap into. I have met so many wonderful business owners who really work hard, care about their craft, their expertise and business and have truly been inspired to work even harder on my business. I am just getting started so I am looking forward to continuing to grow my business here in the community.
What does Black Business Month mean to you?
LJ: Black Business Month means a lot and it’s truly exciting! It’s a time to acknowledge the importance and celebrate the contributions of black owned businesses across the nation as well as support black owned businesses here in the Loudoun community. Supporting a black owned business means job creation, wealth creation, and more opportunities and support for the people and organizations in the greater community. When we create opportunities for everyone, we build legacy together. Now that’s an awesome demonstration of Diversity and Equality!
What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not working?
LJ: When I am not working, I love spending time laughing and having fun with my family and friends, volunteering at my church, attending anything performing arts related because I love music and love to sing and taking long walks while listening to music, a good audio book or podcast.
Thank you LaTonya for answering our questions! To get more involved in the Chamber’s DEIA Committee, click here.