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CITB > Blog > Big Ideas > Why Might You Use CEOs in the Black?

Why Might You Use CEOs in the Black?

It all started during the pandemic

Why does CITB exist? This blog will tell you. It’s a white woman’s personal story about the journey… (if you don’t want to read it, jump to the section on What Do You Want Help With?)

Back in the depths of COVID, I needed to stay indoors and away from people. It was tough, but my tendency to pick up infections and have problems recovering persuaded me to do what was necessary. I was frustrated because, as the black community expressed itself more and more about injustice, I urgently wanted to do something to help. I happened to join a US Chamber of Commerce presentation where they launched their initiative to tackle the problem. They had four areas they wanted to address, but the space in which I had something to offer was entrepreneurship and economic equity. As a long-standing coach of CEOs and Business Owners, I had learned a great deal about growing a business and helping others build something of value. I also ghostwrote books for business experts, covering all kinds of topics. I had a lot to offer. I did what I always do—I pulled together a fantastic Steering Group from Education, Business, the Chamber of Commerce, the Police, Health Care, and on and on. What came out of our meetings was:

    1. We needed to gather data on what black business owners needed so we could create sensible solutions.
    2. We started to communicate with local black business owners by email, letters and going door-to-door.
    3. We interviewed roughly 20 business owners who were willing to give us their data.
    4. We connected with movers and shakers in the community, including pastors, activists, business leaders, non-profits, and chambers of commerce, to get the word out that we were here to help.
    5. I joined the Black Chamber of SoCal as a token white member. I know I’m the token because they quote my name if someone asks if they have white members. Love it.
    6. We created a Board to put together a plan for the organization and help us achieve it.
    7. We focused on helping people find the resources they wanted, especially resources who knew how to grow a business: marketers, operational people, finance folks, strategic experts. We also knew that businesses need funding to grow, and we committed to (one day) being able to work with them to take steps to be successful in getting credit cards, bank loans, lines of credit, grants, SBA loans, and the like.
    8. We created a group of small businesses that wanted to work together, help each other solve problems, and take action. This is the core concept of our CITB Mastermind Group (Small Business).
    9. We built partnerships with organizations that could help our members.

When black people got on a ZOOM with me and then started banging the table with passion, I knew I was part of the community. They’d stopped being polite and told it how it was. I spent a lot of time listening. So today, we have resources and people who give their time to help you. It’s about what you need now, that will build your future of business growth, creating something that has value. It’s all about actions that propel you forward.

What do you want help with?

Here are some things that might be on your mind: Specific help? A mentor with specific knowledge about a particular area of business (e.g., marketing, finance, HR, legal stuff, getting funds, and more.) Decisions you need to make? A group you can work with to process issues that you’re trying to figure out. Learning more about business? If you have your head in the sand about anything, we’ll help you learn what you need to know so you can be confident about your next steps. We have blogs, one-on-one consultations, or group experiences, like expert speakers. Dealing with imposter syndrome, plummeting sales, downright despair? You can talk to us about anything. Anything at all. By the way, Imposter Syndrome is the topic of one of our upcoming blogs.

Just Reach Out

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