Entrepreneur's purpose is to 'impact the lives of others'
Corey Jack is manager of Lafayette chamber affairs for One Acadiana and also owns Jack & Associates, a consulting firm for entrepreneurs.
I am originally from Mamou. The biggest influences in my life growing up were my mother and my grandmother. The person that I’m recognized for being today is simply the man that my mother raised me to be. My grandmother’s influence in my life becomes increasingly more obvious as I continue to grow older, and although she is no longer with us, I see many great things unfolding in my life, as she told me they would, because she was able to see what her grandson would become when I was still only a child. She always told me to acknowledge God in all that I do and that He would direct my path.
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in psychology because I’ve always had an interest in understanding how the human mind works. I determined after graduation that I did not want to become a therapist and instead wanted to somehow use what I learned in psychology to enter into the world of business, which led to me returning to college to get my master’s degree in business administration. I view these accomplishments a little differently now. Back then I was focused primarily on my career and climbing the corporate ladder, obtaining those degrees were major triumphs, which I allowed to define me. I now focus more on accomplishing my purpose, which I believe is to impact the lives of others. In doing this, everything else is falling into place, including my career and my entrepreneurial ventures.
Working in retail while I was in college made me pivot more toward entrepreneurship. Finding success selling someone else’s products and services let me know that I could perhaps be successful selling my own. The biggest skill that I was able to learn from those years in retail was how to provide great customer service and how to work well with others with different personalities and perspectives than my own. This is a skill that greatly benefits me today in working with my own clients and also with the work that I do at One Acadiana. I know that working in retail was simply grooming me for what was next to come. Every job that I ever worked added something to my skill set that I’m able to use today, although I was unable to see it at the time.
I believe that for most entrepreneurs, their business is ultimately an extension of themselves. The philanthropic efforts of my business are motivated by my personal conviction to impact the lives of the youth. Jack & Associates LLC contributes resources to help make a difference in the lives of families living in under-resourced areas in and around the communities in which the business operates. My company does this by partnering with others to teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship to the youth, covering topics such as banking, credit, taxes, investing and business ownership. Recognizing a need to equip the youth with this type of information years ago served as the impetus for me later contributing to the community in this way.
I believe that barriers in entrepreneurship are removed when organizations that provide resources to small businesses, like access to capital and specialized training, are inclusive in how and where they offer their services to ensure that those needing the resources most are able to access them. Barriers could also be removed with more successful, established business owners of color mentoring these entrepreneurs in the beginning stages of their business ventures, using their knowledge and experience to benefit another up and coming business. I believe these two things, along with the entrepreneur’s willingness to receive guidance on their business venture, could go a long way in overcoming these common barriers.
I absolutely loved the Nov. 2 article in the Acadiana Advocate about minority female entrepreneurs. I applaud this publication for shining a light on this trend and for acknowledging those three women for what they have been able to achieve as they represent a large number of women of color, both locally and throughout the nation, that are finding similar success in their own respective ventures. Black women have been excelling in the workforce and corporate arenas for years, so it does not surprise me that their success is spilling over into their own businesses and side hustles. Something that I notice with the black women-owned businesses that I work with is their tenacity and belief in the work that they do, shaped by their ability, education and experience. I believe that they bring so much to the table that it is a detriment to any organization that does not have a woman of color as a part of their team.