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Being Heard and Giving Others a Voice

LaKeshia Grant founded Virtual Enterprise Architects as a place where she would have a voice and create an environment where others could be heard. She discusses her industry and encourages would-be entrepreneurs to incorporate their core values in their business. Grant’s mother may not know exactly what the information technology business does, but she instilled a strong work ethic and the spirit of entrepreneurship in her daughter. Created by Kauffman Foundation.

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Video transcript

- LaKeshia Grant, the CEO of Virtual Enterprise Architects. We're an IT consulting company based in the Washington D.C. area. Enterprise Architecture is a discipline within IT and which you take an organization's strategic goals and you sort of pilfer out those strategic goals and ensure that the operational processes fall in line with the strategy. We look at an organization and then determine whether or not their infrastructure and their technology supports their vision. The real callus for me was the fact that I felt that I didn't have a voice. I felt that I had good instincts and in most cases when I did provide recommendations, eventually they would adopt it. They would congratulate me and thank me after the fact, but you know I had that instinct to just go and be entrepreneurial. I really wanted to create my own environment where others can be heard, and if they have great ideas to really foster that and really help support them in those ideas. I can't be a jack of all trades anymore. Back in the day when, you know I was actually doing day to day work, I was the jack of all trades. Now, it's impossible. So now I have to really rely upon my staff and others within the organization to help guide our strategies and whether or not we should enter into new markets. We're always looking for our next customer. I am consistently out writing proposals, meeting new people. When I talk to other entrepreneurs and people who are just starting their own businesses, the first thing I ask, are you passionate enough to when you wake up in the morning, go straight to it? And then before you go to sleep, that's the last thing on your mind? The entire day, all 24/7, you're gonna eat, live, and breathe this business, but if you're really passionate about what you do, you're gonna love it! I can't give a generic response you know, for other, you know, young women, you know who may enter into IT because it's a difficult field. I think one of the issues with some women is the ability to assert themselves in certain environments. I raised to assert myself. Not a lot of women are as assertive in asking for certain things or maybe negotiating certain things, but I think that largely is a result of education. I'm already spanning multiple categories. I'm black, yes. I'm a woman, yes. I'm technical, I'm analytical, I believe and have faith in my own skills and abilities to be such a great entrepreneur. It doesn't sound humble to say that you know I'm a great entrepreneur because I have a lot of, you know, work to go but I'm proud of myself for being successful in running my business. So for other females, other entrepreneurs, other minority potential entrepreneurs, despite the industry, it's all about self. Once you're comfortable with yourself and your innate abilities, you'll make other people comfortable.