Tasha Reid is not one to back down from a challenge. After playing basketball at a Division I college, she went on to play professionally for a team in Barcelona, Spain.
After earning an MBA degree, she worked as a real estate agent and radio talk-show host. Today, Reid is the president and founder of Atlanta-based Visionary Management Services — a facilities construction, support and services company — and a self-proclaimed dream chaser.Last summer, as she was pursuing new opportunities for her company, Reid heard that the Many Faces One Dream tour was headed for Atlanta. MFOD is an LGBT economic empowerment tour created by the U.S. Small Business Administration in cooperation and co-sponsorship with the National Black Justice Coalition to bring attention to LGBT communities of color.
News of the upcoming MFOD event came at the right time for Reid. “It was as if the stars had aligned,” she said. Affinity Inc Magazine recently spoke with Reid about her experience with MFOD and the road to entrepreneurship.
Affinity Inc Magazine: Why did you decide to attend MFOD, and what did you hope to accomplish?
Tasha Reid: My decision to attend started with Sharon Lettman-Hicks of the NBJC making an announcement during Sunday service at my church. I saw a genuine concern for helping the LGBT community pursue their small business dreams. I felt like this opportunity would help my business go to the next level and connect me with people who were far beyond my reach.
AIM: What was the most important thing you learned during MFOD Atlanta?
TR: The most important thing that I’ve learned is that there are opportunities available for people in the LGBT and other diverse communities, and certification improves the likelihood that my business could be considered for contracts with major corporations and subcontractors. After meeting with Sam McClure [NGLCC vice president of affiliate relations and external affairs], I quickly realized that NGLCC certification would also be beneficial in achieving my dreams.
AIM: What has your connection with the SBA, NBJC and the NGLCC meant for you personally, as you continue to pursue your dreams?
TR: My connection with the SBA, NBJC and NGLCC allows me the opportunity to be an example for the LGBT community. It shows what these organizations are doing collectively to make a difference for the LGBT community. Working with the SBA, NBJC and NGLCC has and will continue to give me and the LGBT community access to more resources. It has given me the opportunity to be a great servant to God’s people on such a broad scale that I never would have imagined!
AIM: What advice can you give young entrepreneurs who are looking to attend future MFOD events or folks who don’t live near MFOD tour cities?
TR: The federal government wanting to assist the LGBT community feels like my oncein-a-lifetime opportunity. Every small business owner and aspiring entrepreneur should take advantage of the resources available at the local SBA office. For any young entrepreneur,it is imperative to get connected with SBA,NBJC and the NGLCC and/or attend the closest MFOD tour. Even if you have to fly, drive or catch the bus, just get there if you can. We have an opportunity to take control of our destiny, and we can’t expect anyone to hand us anything! No matter how bad things look, you can make it. Remember, faith without works is dead!
AIM: What has been your greatest challenge in business?
TR: My greatest challenge in business has been the lack of access to opportunities and capital. Before receiving my 8(a) certification, there weren’t any companies that wanted to work with me. There were too many obstacles and most opportunities were out of my reach. People are reluctant to do business with you if they think there is too much risk, such as lack of scale or capital. So, they are unwilling to take a chance on small businesses,especially when you are dealing with larger companies.
AIM: What has been your greatest reward in business?
TR: I feel that my greatest reward has been receiving my 8(a) certification. I have been awarded a multimillion-dollar contract and support from government-funded programs which I wouldn’t have been able to obtain before.