I was a young child when I began my businesses career. It wasn’t what you’d expect and it definitely wasn’t glamorous, but hard work almost never is. I started out in the streets of Bridgeport, CT, collecting trash alongside my father and grandfather, some of the city’s first African-American business owners. It was those early days in the trash business that taught me the value of hard work and discipline. I spent my early years getting my hands dirty, while other kids were learning to keep theirs clean.
I’ve been an entrepreneur right out of the gate. I learned quickly how, with a little ingenuity and motivation, I could turn trash into treasure. Starting with what I had, I began by finding a market for old newspapers and soda bottles. It took 100 lbs. of newspapers for me to make $12 and I got 2 cents for every soda bottle. This was too small for most people, but I saw it as $12 more than zero. This system became my first entrepreneurial enterprise, gave me a hunger and thirst for success and the drive to make my vision become reality. Once I hit high school, the thing that made it real was when I drove past most of the kids on their way to school and pulled into the parking lot with my brand new Camaro.
It’s ok to be different, in spite of what everybody else might think. I had to believe that in order to launch my business. I still believe that. That’s why I allowed myself to step away from a profitable job in order to launch my first company, Computer Consulting International Inc. We became one of the largest privately held information technology consulting firms in the Northeast. After success there, I went on to develop a strategy for helping connect companies who were interested in working with minority-owned businesses. Diversitybusiness.com was born and became the place every media outlet from Forbes to CNBC would go to for their facts and figures and it even won several awards for its content and design.
I’ve been awarded a lot of things in my life. Most of these are business awards, like congratulatory letters from U.S. Senators, being named ‘Top Black Entrepreneur’ and having my business named ‘Top Minority-Owned Business in the U.S.A.’ by the SBA. I’ve done well for myself and I’ve always worked hard to support my family and those around me.
Recently, I began to really revaluate who I am and what I represent. What do I want to be known for? What difference does my life make and what legacy will I leave? In that place where professionalism and personality meet, I came up with a plan to offer something no one has ever offered, in a way and to a degree that no one has ever been able to offer before.