Women Making an Impact on Local Economy

The number of female business owners and entrepreneurs have grown significantly in recent years. Some reports estimate that women-owned businesses have grown 67% since 2007. Gainesville is experiencing and benefiting from this growth as well. GBP recently met with some female entrepreneurs that are making an impact on our economic landscape here at home.

Seyi Falade, Cornerstone Barricades

A maintenance of traffic provider, Cornerstone Barricades leases traffic safety equipment to general contractors during road construction.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

 My father, Christopher Falade, started Cornerstone Barricades after retiring from Florida Department of Transportation. He worked at FDOT as a Civil Engineer for over 22 years. His work with FDOT provided superior experience and understanding of Maintenance of Traffic, a niche field within

Civil Engineering.

In the summer of 2016, I began working for the company full time after consulting and spearheading the initial launch. When my parents asked me to advise them on the Cornerstone venture it was a natural response to invest my time to insure it’s success out of love for them. I enjoy working hard and seeing the fruit of my labor but my favorite part of owning my own business is job creation. As someone who has experienced unemployment and underemployment, I know firsthand the importance of work and having a job. It brings me internal satisfaction to have work to assign my crew laborers.

Do you feel that you have faced unique challenges as a female business owner? 

Yes, but I do believe that being a woman in construction affords me the unique opportunity to stand out. It’s easy to remember who I am and what I do because there aren’t many women in my field.

Dr. Geneva Stevens, Ocala Chiropractic and Injury

An auto-injury based chiropractor clinic, Ocala Chiropractic and Injury helps those with chronic pain as a result of an auto accident.  They additionally provide commercial driver, student, sports, and pre-employment physicals.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

I have always been a leader. I always strive for the best. As I worked for different doctors, I realized that some doctors only cared about numbers and some had great bedside manners but could not efficiently run the practice. I always stepped-up and did the best in these offices but I felt that I wasn’t doing the best for the patients that I treated. That’s when I realized, I can play by my own rules; I can treat “my patients” with a high level of compassion and run “my office” in an effective manner.

Do you feel that you have faced unique challenges as a female business owner?

I feel that as a female doctor and business owner, I automatically get dismissed as someone who is not as capable as my male colleagues and entrepreneurs. As a female in a profession that boasts a 79% to 21% male to female ratio, I have to work harder and more precisely. I also have to be more creative and steadfast when I market my practice/myself. But I use the delayed acceptance and learn from the mistakes of the privileged. I observe the pre-judging and turn it into motivation. I become better, more creative, more effective and more efficient.

Nouvelle Gonzalo, Gonzalo Law Firm

Gonzalo is a boutique law firm specializing in US and international corporate law.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

I have a passion for service through leadership and I wanted to disrupt the traditional law firm model.  After working in a very good law firm, in-house counsel for a corporation, and for the court of appeals, I found my passion for private practice was undeniable.  In firm work, I saw areas in how lawyers practice law needed to be improved.  As a firm believer that if I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem, I worked on how we could develop a firm that does things differently.  As such, I decided to start my practice and address areas where change would be most useful.

Is there anything else that you would want the readers to know?

One of the most useful approaches that I have found through the years of studying and working globally is that although we celebrate our differences, we do not want our primary focus on the things that make us different from others.  These include such things as race, gender, or beliefs.  Rather, we want to focus on the things that bring us to together with others, such as the drive for excellence.  That is something that has no color, no gender, and no political division.  When excellence is the focus, the differences become an afterthought that we can celebrate and appreciate.

Yvette Godet, DMD, PA

Dr. Godet’s privately owned and operated general dentistry practice provides preventative and restorative dental care to adolescents and adults.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

After graduating from dental school, I took the path that many young graduates take working as an employee dentist. I quickly realized that the vision and ideals I had for a practice could only be realized by establishing a private practice of my own. Ownership has its risks as well as its benefits.  However, I have never regretted launching out on my own.

Do you feel that you have faced unique challenges as a female business owner?

While I have certainly faced my fair share of challenges along my entrepreneurial journey, I count myself incredibly fortunate. I believe that success in my profession is not merely a function of gender or race but multifactorial. Today we are seeing changing trends in our profession that only several decades ago was almost exclusively male dominated. Women in dentistry have emerged as competent practitioners, leaders and business owners.

Ariel Williams, Danzy Bird & Co.

Danzy Bird & Co., is a digital agency that helps clients identify their target customer and write marketing copy for their new audience.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

In short, to help others and create new opportunities for myself.  I’ve known since I was 9 or 10 years old that I’d be a business owner. My parents opened a hair salon when I was a child and I spent a great portion of my childhood watching them conduct business. I remember being in awe every week as customers would come in for services and walk out totally transformed and feeling confident about themselves. I knew that whatever I did, I wanted to make my future clients feel that way – safe, comfortable, heard, and fully serviced.

Do you feel that you have faced unique challenges as a female business owner?

Yes, and I think many women business owners do at first. Initially some of my greatest challenges were lack of support, access to funding and having a mentor that looked like me and lived some of my experiences to guide me. Now, I have a better understanding of where to find those things and do my best to help other women who have goals of working for themselves. Today, my challenges are work and life balance and delegation, or assembling a Girl Tribe to run things more smoothly. However, being intentional and open to opportunities and other ideas are beginning to clear a path for myself and those around me.

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