Building the Future Economy with Inclusive Entrepreneurship


I grew up on a corn and soybean farm in
northern Indiana. Growing up in the inner city, you always have a desire to want to do better. There wasn’t this adamant “You’re going to school.” In fact it was the opposite. My sister and I were told we’re girls, we’re gonna get married and
we’re gonna have kids. We just did not have the financial stability for me to
go off to college. I knew that if I was ever going to succeed in a big way in life I was gonna have to do it on my own. I was gonna have to start a company. I didn’t have money. I didn’t have an
education. I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. I was not a chemist,
but I had a problem and I had a purpose. I started out as a Dock Foreman in
Buffalo New York, working the midnight shift, and I worked my way up to Terminal
Manager. One day one of the VP’s from Newark tells me, “I’m sorry Jim, we gotta
let you go. Good luck to you.” I’d been a stay at home mom for 13 years,
but I went through a divorce. My house was foreclosed on. I watched them take my car away, and I was a mom of three kids with no car. I took the risk, and
most people, most my friends would say “What are you nuts? What do you know about business?” I spent 22 years in the Army, and before I left the military, you know, I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have no
business background whatsoever, zero knowledge of the food industry. I was completing a masters in traditional Chinese medicine. I was a student and a
first-time mom, but I knew what my daughter loved, and I knew what I liked,
and we wanted to share it with others. I remember being a young girl and my mom said to me, “One day you’re gonna walk in a room, and it’s gonna make you feel
uncomfortable because people won’t look like you. They might not talk like you,
but you have to go in that room, and you have to take your seat.” I could have gone
and gotten a sensible, you know nine-to-five kind of job, but I just felt
so passionate that this idea was going to work. You don’t have to overcomplicate it. You just, knowing what you’re doing and finding a
better way. I found myself actually growing the
company. I found faith. I found so many things that I didn’t know really that I
had. I didn’t know I’d be a good leader, and I’m a great leader. That’s been my overall intent and purpose, to be a entrepreneur is to be successful, give
back to my community and to my country. To start the day
I ask myself three questions. Am I guided by love? Am I serving a higher purpose? Am I helping to make the world a better place? Fundamentally what I believe, in
being an entrepreneur, so we have to invent the future we want to live in. I have wanted to prove that success is the best revenge,
and not in a really malicious way, but just to say like, “Hey you guys all
thought I was crazy,” and maybe I was, but it’s okay because crazy people are
amazing, and they’re the ones that get get stuff done. you

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