This month as we celebrate Black History Month, I would love to share why I am proud to be a black business owner and small business empowerment coach. These are amazing times for entrepreneurs. With a wealth of knowledge and support available, one can return to their dreams and go for them like never before. I am so proud for the opportunity to do what I love and what I believe is my gift to this world as my profession. As entrepreneurs, we are able to create, innovate and explore ways to not only make our lives better but our family and those whom we service.
I am excited each day by the creative freedom I have to grow my business and to truly leave a legacy in this world. My greatest joy as an entrepreneur is my contribution in helping everyday people tap into their greatness to build profitable businesses that matter and to provide them with the resources, strategies and support to live out loud and make money while they do so! There are so many amazing success stories of entrepreneurs that continue to empower me to continue on my journey. The mere fact that these successes began with an idea and belief in oneself is an incredible stride, especially in the African American culture where we are mainly taught to go to school, college at best and set out for a job. And if we followed this plan, in some cases we were considered above average.
We now have the opportunity to make more money than our parents combined! But it is an achievement that first begins with a mindset shift, in the way we see ourselves, others and our potential. To think, not too many years ago, equality was our biggest hurdle and now we are able to use life as a canvas to create endless possibilities.
African Americans continue to raise the bar in business but are not celebrated enough. Sadly, we have transformed into a culture that praises the reality TV star and those whose troubles play out in the media. We know the names of these celebrities, their kids’ names and relatives. So in closing, I would like to pay homage in this article to the top 20 African American CEOs in which we should celebrate for their amazing achievements. These are the names we should familiarize ourselves with as entrepreneurs in which we can gain inspiration from as African Americans.
A few trailblazers include: Jan Adams, Founder & CEO of JMA Solutions, Joseph B. Anderson, TAG Holdings, LLC, William Bailey, Rapier Solutions, Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey Network, Ulysses Bridgeman, Bridgeman Foods Inc., Ursula M. Burns, Xerox Corporation, Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., TIAA-CREF, Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck & Co., Inc., Ronald Hall, Sr., Bridgewater Interiors, Janice Bryant Howroyd, ACT-1 Group, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Magic Johnson Enterprises, Robert L. Johnson, The RLJ Companies, Kamoru Lawal, CAMAC, Alex & Feysan Lodde, MV Transporation, Inc., Harold F. Mills, ZeroChaos, Clarence Otis, Jr., Darden Restaurants, Inc., Jim Reynolds, Loop Capital, David L. Steward, World Wide Technology Inc., Don Thompson, McDonald’s
There are so many other private companies that comprise of thriving entrepreneurs. I encourage you to research these companies this month and continue to allow them to be your compass for growth in your respective field. I salute these shining examples for their strides in business!
Kachelle Kelly is founder of Kachelle Kelly International, Inc., a small business & empowerment coaching firm. Kachelle coaches career driven women & men to not only activate their hustle but faith by providing them with innovative ideas, strategies, resources and empowerment to achieve authentic success, profitability, peace and happiness in their business and life. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Women and the NAPW 2012-2013 "Woman of the Year" for Consulting & Coaching for Texas. Kachelle is also the author of "Pretty Painful" and "Boss Men & Women Pray: 31 Prayers to Increase Your Success & Spirit". For more information visit www.kachellekelly.com