As part of LIM’s first Entrepreneurship Week, Julie Koch-Beinke, Co-Chair of the LIM College Fashion Industry Advisory Board, moderated a panel on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): Passion and Purpose in Entrepreneurship.
Three great women -- Ilka Jordan, Lacey Horn, and Christina Hammond -- shared their career stories as entrepreneurs. They discussed the ups and downs and provided the Zoom audience with great advice and inspiration. I learned some amazing things from these women and was so inspired by their hard work, dedication, and creativity.
Ilka Jordan, the founder and CEO of Jordan Alliance Group Inc., shared her story of working in fashion and technology and eventually converging them and developing a successful consulting company.
What made Ilka so successful in technology was her problem-solving mindset and being able to look at the businesses as a big picture. Or, in her words, “how different functional areas connect to have an efficient company.”
This inspired Ilka to start her own company, where her product development clients have included Brooks Brothers, Hot Topic, and Talbots. From Ilka I learned about the importance of technology in product development and looking at a business from end-to-end.
Lacey Horn was next to share her story. She is the Founder and CEO of Native Advisory LLC, where she serves Tribal Leaders as a strategy and financial consultant
As a Native American woman, Lacey grew up with Cherokee culture and learned a great deal from her Mom, who is a nurse practitioner on a reservation. Lacey told the audience about some of the harsh conditions among Native tribes, such as substance abuse and mental health issues. Since last year, COVID has also left a terrible dent in their health and prosperity.
Lacey has worked with fashion brands and Native creatives, mainly on the financial side. As the Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation she gained an understanding of how financial legislation and budgeting needs to be changed to improve the Native American economy, which will in turn build up the U.S. economy as a whole. She said, “If I serve with the gifts and the talents I was given. I hope I can make Native lives better.”
Christina Hammond was the last to share her story. She is an LIM College alumna and a media and talent relations strategist for A x3 Studios. Christina started out working in retail, but she did not like it. So Christina left retail and set out to work in entertainment. She built a successful career doing so. She said she got over others' expectations and did what makes her happy.
Now she multitasks as a strategist and mother. She recently published a children’s book titled Dear Little Black Girl, where she shares affirmations for young black girls. Christina said that too often Black women are beaten down, so she wanted to create a book to build them up. She also started a virtual book club for her daughter, based on the book, to bring girls together.
All of these women are so strong and inspiring. I am so happy I tuned in for this session of Entrepreneurship Week.