Name: LaKeshia Grant
Business: Virtual Enterprise Architects, LLC, holistic business strategies for public & private companies
Location: District of Columbia, U.S.
Reason for starting: I created the company to provide holistic consulting to integrate the strategy, business and technology needs of customers, specifically federal customers. I was constrained by my company’s structure from providing honest management advice that I believed the customers really needed to know and address. I knew the only way to create change was to lead the cause myself, which required me to go out on my own.
How do you define success? Success to me is accomplishing my daily goals and managing to balance work and life each day. I believe that life has cycles, but each day is never promised, so we must achieve what we can each day. As long as I can see that I’ve moved the needle each day, I feel successful.
Biggest Success: My biggest success is my company’s 2013 ranking in Inc. Magazine’s 500 list. Virtual Enterprise Architects (VEA) grew over 2,127% and was nationally ranked by Inc. magazine as the 195th fastest growing privately held company for 2013 and No. 1 in IT services in Washington, DC. VEA also ranked No. 15 of the top 100 IT Services companies in the US, number 5 company for the top 100 in DC; and No. 17 in the Washington DC metro area.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My largest challenge was securing financing as an entrepreneur. Because I have an MBA and B.S. Finance, I did not secure financing for quite some time. It took substantial growth to force me into securing financing. I had to change my way of thinking on financing and research the best lenders and terms that would be most advantageous to us.
Who is your most important role model? My most important role model is Oprah Winfrey. I love her tenacity, warm personality and professionalism. She’s effective without being abrasive and she receives respect from all who meet her. As a young, African American female, it’s hard to obtain respect initially because I am judged for things outside of my control. I admire how she was able to break through barriers and instill trust from others. I strive for that and thank goodness, I’ve been able to create new paths for others and myself.
Edited by The Story Exchange