Tina Johnson, CEO Consulting Group, LLC
Know any local women business owners well? Then you are likely to have crossed paths with Tina Johnson. Partly, that’s because Tina is herself a “serial entrepreneur” in the midst of launching her seventh local business in 35 years. But, mostly, that’s because she gets up every morning asking herself the question, “What can I do today that is going to make a positive impact for another business woman?”
The answer, most recently, lies in the year-long one-on-one and in-person training encompassed by her upstart Women’s CEO Business School, soon to include an online academy. It all falls under the umbrella of CEO Consulting LLC (https://www.ceobusinessconsulting.com/). This year’s class is focused on women-owned micro-businesses, defined as having revenues of less than $250,000/year. Class size is capped at 12 to ensure that each CEO benefits from a large enough community to offer support and an intimate enough environment to draw out introverts.
Together, classmates “leverage their collective expertise to help accelerate business growth and empower each other." Collectively, the following handful of featured participants assert that it’s the accountability and business fundamentals the class provides that will turn them from “solopreneurs” to bona fide business execs.
Tina says her early training in triage as an emergency room nurse helps her meet student’s immediate needs, and help them “find clarity.... They all have 50,000 things on their to-do list, but I help them develop tunnel vision for what will move your business forward.” You can reach Tina at email@example.com.
Erica Rowe, Business Brand Ambassador
Asked how she became a celebrity in the Loudoun County business community, Eric Rowe says, “I don’t know; it just comes from relationships – having conversations and just being authentically me!”
In her early career, she says she let self-doubt about her lack of a college degree, “hold me back from doing what I wanted to do. I now recognize that that doesn’t define me and the relationships that I’ve built. I love people. I love what I do. And I’m an influencer!"
As a brand ambassador, she translates her own confidence into community enthusiasm for what her small business clients offer. Put simply, “I’m a champion of people!” Her endless energy stems from gratitude and expectation for God to do great things. You can reach Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon Curvey, Function-N-Fitness
Shannon Curvey is a healer. An athlete and personal trainer, she focuses the work of Function-N-Fitness (https://www.function-n-fitness.com/) on the gap between physical therapy and complete recovery. Too often in her two decades as a trainer she was called upon to help people after they were discharged from physical therapy, but were still “too delicate” to engage in full workouts. “Where do these people go who aren’t ready for the gym, but are too ‘well’ for physical therapy? I decided, I’ll fill that gap.”
Like many athletes, she has plenty of experience with both injury and recovery. “When you’re injured, you have one muscle that’s tight, one muscle that’s weak. When you address one and not the other, you’re never completely healed. I want to strengthen what’s weak and loosen what’s tight.”
After she trained in massage therapy, she learned “the effects of the body on damaged tissue by touch is phenomenal.” She became convinced that the combination of soft tissue manipulation, therapeutic touch, and massage brings healing in ways that simple exercise doesn’t.
Having practiced her skills for 5 years at 604 S King St #006, in the Waverly Park business center in Leesburg, she’s ready to take the leap from “owning a job to owning a business.” She wants to expand, but to do that, “...I have to be able to step out of the hands-on portion of the business. With training from Tina I’ll be able to do just that.” You can reach Shannon at Shannon.email@example.com.
Tyra Flynn, The Global Local
Traveling with her husband, who was in the foreign service, Tyra Flynn developed a love of Middle Eastern marketplaces. “We started out in India. I fell in love with the way people shop there – all the food, smells and handicrafts.” As they moved around, Tyra’s artisan directory and her business plan grew. When the family returned to Loudoun County after 15 years abroad, it was finally time for the plan to become reality.
In launching The Global Local (https://globallocalshop.com), Tyra combined hand-picked goods from socially-conscious artists, makers and vendors from both Loudoun County and abroad into an eclectic marketplace. Hand-made pottery, jewelry, tea, soap, beauty products and soft goods she carries provide a livable wage to women at home and abroad.
In keeping with the store’s value of “lifting others up,” it was one of her Guatemalan vendors who introduced her to a Loudoun business owner who now houses the business. The introduction came as Andrea Cubelo-McKay's Embark Center for Self-Directed Education planned to take her students to Guatemala to visit some artisan co-ops there. In planning the trip (delayed due to COVID), Andrea met Tyra's vendor.
Leasing an unused floor to The Global Local now gives students access to a home-town case study in Fair Trade sourcing, even as it provides a local presence for shoppers on weekends. (Global Local also provides online shopping and delivery inside Loudoun County.)
“What I really want people to do is connect with what they’re buying so whether the makers are local or global they’ll know their story. Everything in my shop has a story.” Reach Tyra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelsey Mitchell, Escape Room LoCo
After 10 years in a corporate aviation job, Kelsey Mitchell started her own business “because I can’t stand being told to do something by somebody especially if I don’t agree with them!” A love of challenges and having fun with friends led her to launch Escape Room LoCo, a live "room escape game" in downtown Leesburg that provides a fun, problem-solving experience for 2 to 12 people at a time.
“It’s a one-hour adventure that replaces a run-of-the-mill dinner and a movie night," Kelsey explains. "It’s more active, energizes your brain and gets you thinking. We do a lot of birthday parties and company team building." Seeking to expand, she bought out a competitor and moved to his facility at 201 Royal St. SE, Unit F behind McDowell’s Brew Kitchen. She says that, while she adores being her own boss, she has admittedly been “kind of winging it.”
Working with Tina provides focus. "She’s taught me to get out there and get what you want!” Call 703-468-8538 or email email@example.com.
LaTonya Jackson, L. Jackson Associates
For 20 years, LaTonya Jackson led large, regional teams of outsourced workers for investment banks, law firms, media and service companies. Contracts with LaTonya’s employer would typically run three to five years and cover an entire category of service for that period. Post-pandemic, LaTonya looks to leverage this expertise to build her own company, L. Jackson Associates (http://ljacksonassociates.com), helping businesses do more with fewer employees.
“I can help businesses manage, implement or restructure operations as cost-effectively as possible as they prepare to reopen,” she says. She also can help government agencies with their operations like call centers and mail teams.
Despite the fact that she’s managed hundreds of employees for many large companies, she’s never run her own business and is excited by the teamwork approach Tina’s CEO school offers. “Executives are busy so just meeting people where they are is so important, as is leading by example.” Amen to that. Reach her at LaTonya@ljacksonassociates.com.