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"It’s not just about the bus tour it’s about a
lifestyle of equality and I want people to know"




There is not much Black people
in the City of Tampa do not
know about Candy Lowe. Her
name continuously came up in
every conversation I was having
surrounding Black people in
the City of Tampa. I must say
to a certain degree I was even
surprised to hear several White
people reference her as well.
“Have you talk to Candy Lowe
of the Black Business Bus Tour?”
This was a frequent question
since we decided to do a
combined Superbowl Theme/
Black History Month Issue.

Well, you guessed it, we sat
down with Candy and we were
taken not only a Black Bus Tour,
but we were also taken all the
way back to King High School
where she once ran track. She
reflected upon how shy she was
in High School and how she
and her friend Lori Larry dug a
hole in her yard, lined it with a
tarp and filled it with water. Just
when you think you have heard
everything about someone
something else is revealed.
Candy is outspoken about Black
Owned Businesses and her
passion toward their success,
but that is not what she wants
as her legacy. She would like her

legacy to be known as a loving
mother, grandmother, one who
loves to just be still, listening to
Kenny Chesney and enjoying a
full moon.
Just like candy, we learned that
beneath the wrapper of life is a
sweet woman who just wants to
see things better for Black people.
Named either by her Grandmother
or Father she got emotional
discussing her Mother. She
recalled a time when her mother
came to her Tea Shop and gave
her paycheck to her to ensure her
business would survive. A mother’s
love for her daughter runs deep,
literally, to the last penny.
Why do we need a Black Business
Bus Tour? A loaded question you
would think, but Candy was ready
for the answer. Paraphrasing,
“look around everyone else
has a community, we don’t, we
are spread all over the place,
so in order for people to know
where our Black Businesses
are, I thought it was important
to take them there.” The Black
Business Bus Tour runs primarily
with volunteers and a few
staff members ensuring that
businesses like The Ward’s Robe
can meet their rent for the month.

Volunteers and staff like Delores
Grayson, Jarvis El-Amin and
Connie Burton to name a few
have witnessed businesses
toured account for upwards
$2000 within the 45 minutes
shoppers spend at their location.
This is a significant amount of
money especially in an economy
we are in today.
Black, Black, Black unapologetically
are words you will always hear
Candy say without hesitation. These
words have shaped her existence
today and in her own words, “I will
run this race until I am on 43rd
and can’t get out” she will forever
be known for her contribution
to Tampa’s Black Entrepreneur
Ecosystem in Tampa, Florida. For
more information about the Black
Business Bus Tour visit: www.



She is not an Entrepreneur, she is
not a sports personality, but she
most definitely is a Pioneer. She is
also the Mother of Clemmie Perry,
Founder of Women of Color Golf
and PGA Tour Charity of the Year
2020. If you are fortunate enough
to meet this Tampa Pioneer you
will quickly begin to identify that
you are in the midst of a giant. As
my team and I sat and learned so
much about this wonderful woman
I could not help but notice that her
house is somewhat of a museum of
memories that only she could tell.

With her Sash entitled with words
literally stapled on it, from winning
the Miss Bethune-Cookman contest
in 1946 sitting beside her, we
began to ask just enough questions
to ensure we did not tire Dr.
Reddick as well as bore her with our
overwhelming interest in her life.

I fired off the first question, “you’ve
been the first of many things in
your life, why do you think you were
chosen for such?” Without hesitation
Dr. Reddick replied, “I don’t know
why I was chosen”. Dr. Reddick
has been the first of many things
throughout her life. From Kingston,
NY to Tampa, Fl. Dr. Reddick has
always found herself in the midst of
being an agent of change.

Dr. Reddick began going to
elementary school as early as
age 4. She would accompany
her mother to Lomax Elementary
School as sort of a daycare for her,
but one of the teachers insisted

why don’t you allow her to sit in my
class while you work. As the school
year came to an end and students
promoted, so did Dr. Reddick. Dr.
Reddick was one of the youngest
students to attend Bethune-
Cookman University at the age of
16 earning her degree which bears
the actual signature of Dr. Bethune.

Students from all over the country
who attended the following
schools’ lives have been forever
changed as a result of Dr. Reddick’s
ability to transform lives.

Simmons School, Dunbar,
Meachum, College Hill, George
Washington Elementary School

Retirement is a time for relaxing
and enjoying life. However, that was
not the case with Dr. Reddick. She
was yet again, first. She became
the First Black Woman to Chair
Hillsborough County School Board.
As the Chair-Woman, Dr. Reddick
noticed that there was a major
disparity in the amount of money
Black contractors were getting paid
versus White contractors, causing
her to question the unspoken
reasons why this was the case. She
tells Tampa Pioneer that she has
always been known as “The Human
Questionnaire” a name she has
been known for many years.

Dr. Reddick’s insisting on getting
answers to why were Black
contractors getting just $1000 for
services rendered “Were some
of the zeros missing” she asked?

This led to her founding the Office
of Supply and Diversity ensuring
minorities have an opportunity to
bid competitively on contracts. “It
was about seeing a wrong and fixing
it” she stated.

At a time where White Teachers
could not understand the dialect
that Black Students spoke, she and
a friend decided to write the very
first book to help White Teachers
understand Black Students, entitled,
“Let’s Cross Over the Wall” the
language in this book is now being
called Ebonics. Dr. Reddick, you
guessed it, was the first to write
such language.

On the cover of her self-titled
book, “The Doris Reddick Story”
the words, “One Person Can Make A
Difference” is the legacy she would
like the world to remember her as.
This Pioneer has shaped the lives of
so many people throughout Tampa
that we at Tampa Pioneer was
honored to meet her and call her
Tampa’s Pioneer.



Angel Shackleford-LeCount, one
full of energy and agility. As
the owner of five independent
businesses, the primary
employee of each, and a mother
of five children, her business
ethics are impossible not to
admire. However, this hectic
lifestyle is second nature to
Angel. Youngest of five children,
she began working at eleven
years old when her mother
would bring her along on
housekeeping jobs. She credits
her mother as a detail-oriented
mentor, who held her to the
same high standards of any
professional housekeeper. She
brings this attitude to her own
cleaning business.

“I clean your house like it is
my own,” Angel says. Her Buss
Down, Scrub Down Cleaning
System leaves your home
polished and organized, with
no area unattended. Clients
are encouraged to provide
constructive criticism. Angel
cites trust between her and
the clients as the foundation
of a successful business
relationship. Clients can also
follow the cleaning process
of their home with Angel’s
live photo and video updates

providing unparallel confidence
in leaving their home to Angel’s
Cleaning Services.

All five of Angel’s children work
within her cleaning business, just
as she and her sisters did with
their mother. One day she hopes
to leave her businesses to them.
Her youngest daughters, ages
twelve and thirteen, are already
on track as young entrepreneurs
running her second company,
Kid Clean Kamp. This business
teaches children strategies for
cleaning and organizing in a way
that is relaxing and fulfilling. “I
chose my kids to teach Kid Clean
Kamp because you do not want
another parent, like your mom or
dad, telling you what you need
to do, so when you hear it from
another kid you can relate to
another child,” Angel explains.

In addition to Angel’s Cleaning
Services and Kid Clean Kamp,
Angel also runs The Art of
Pixeling Photography, Angel’s
Braiding House, and a senior
citizen care service called
Angel’s Companionship Services.

Angel’s dedication to education
and training extends beyond
her own businesses as

well. Recently, she began
collaborating with other cleaners
in the Tampa area, as well as
people in related businesses
like yard maintenance and
pest control, to collaborate,
share resources, and train each
other in business operating
techniques. She advises new
entrepreneurs, “don’t be afraid
to talk to someone in the same
business as you.” Angel wants
to see house cleaners and
similar Entrepreneurs working
together rather than viewing
each other as competition.

Believe in your brand, that sets
you apart. She advises other rising
Entrepreneurs, “once you start to
believe in yourself, nobody can
damage, hurt you or make you
feel some type of way.”


As the Superbowl was approaching
and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were
playing some of the best football they
have played in a long time. It felt like
a homecoming event on the horizon.
Speaking of Homecoming, Mr. Carter,
the NFL Alumni Association President
in Tampa, (FL) had a lot to share about
Homecoming Events.

History has been written in the books
of time about the many Homecoming
football games Mr. Carter has played
in and no I am not talking about
the NFL. I am talking about his alma
mater Maggie L. Walker High School
Richmond, Va. There were two
predominantly all-Black Schools in
Richmond at that time. This tall and
muscular young man would go on to
be a star football player. His name
would soon be echoed in the halls
just as those gone before him; Arthur
Ash, Willie Lanier, and Bob Dandruff
to name a few, all attended Maggie L.
Walker High School.

During his time at Walker High
School, he learned some valuable
lessons, both on the field and off the
field. He recalls having to sacrifice
playing in the Regional Championship
Game due to a traditional Football
Game between the two rival teams
played annually.
This year, it happened to fall on the
date that they were scheduled to
play in the Championship Game.
The traditional games would peak
an audience of over 30,000 people
annually. In life, you sometimes,
must sacrifice big wins to maintain
invaluable traditions.

Our interview with Mr. Carter was very
eventful, we started talking about life,
and how we have both experienced
life-changing events that have
made us who we are today. During

the conversation there was a loud
boom, I jumped, and it was literally
right in synch with our discussion
about life and death. We both got a
chuckle out of it. If you have ever had
a conversation with Mr. Carter, you
know you are in for a ride.

Mr. Carter offers a different
perspective on Entrepreneurship, his
demeanor, poised, and responses
to our questions appeared to be
somewhat rehearsed. He shared
with us about being in the package
distribution business, and how he
leveraged a relationship to begin his
Entrepreneurial experience. A simple
dinner with a colleague can change
the course of your life. I am reminded
of the book, “Never Eat Alone.” As a
business owner, it is nearly unethical
to eat alone.

No one would have told Mr. Carter
he would be the President of the NFL

Alumni Association after a long tenure
with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He
and his team are responsible for the
upcoming events taking place during
the Superbowl Week. They have been
working tirelessly on ensuring that
this will be a week to remember.
The NFL Alumni Association is
comprised of both NFL Members,
Public Media, and anyone who
would be honored to wear the proud
badge of the NFL. Membership is a
privilege. Their members are held
with extremely high regard and are
expected to render respect to the
league, its rules, and regulations—
their primary mission is to take care
of their own.

Mr. Carter has been taking whooping’s
since he stepped on the football field
at the age of 14- years old, as well
as, he has handed some back, both
on the field, and in the community.
However, his biggest return is to the
Youth of Tampa..

Jobs to
A Winning Strategy for
Increasing Profitability

When you launched your business, I’m sure you started out
excited to trade your passion for profit. You were ready to
show people how much their lives had been lacking without
your innovative product or service. The plan was to build loyal
customers and then to enjoy the profit that would come from the
venture. Starting the business seemed easy-ish. Sure, you were
working long hours, but you were so motivated by your vision,
that you were riding on the energy of your dream.

Then it got a little complicated.


You like hats as a fashion
accessory, but probably never
realized you’d be wearing so
many simultaneously in the role
of entrepreneur: keeping your
books, being your own social
media manager, the never-ending
administrative work and piled up
phone calls and emails to return
just to name a few hats. Then
there were all the decisions. And
they all involved money, which
as a start-up or scaling business
is something you didn’t want
to waste, so you kept putting
on more hats. DIY became your
mantra. The problem is that be-

fore you knew it, you were doing
more of what you never intended
to do and less of what you set
out to do.


In the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I was certain that I could figure it all out. I could be all the things I needed to be or learn all the roles to play the
parts of web designer, public
relations specialist, and office manager among other jobs. In 2006, when I launched my business, social media for business was not even a thing, and I was
still overwhelmed.

Part of what I was hanging onto was
control. I had birthed this business
baby, and no one could take care of
it like mama could. Butttt….

I eventually learned the
meaning of two old adages.

Time is money. You pay for
what you get.

If I had the money back that
I lost in the time and
mistakes I made in trying to
do everything myself or in
outsourcing cheaply, well, let’s
just say I’d have more money
in the bank and might have
saved myself a few pounds
caused by stress eating.

This week, settle onto your comfiest chair with your
laptop or paper and pen. I want to challenge you to think
about all the hats you are wearing and list them. Then I
want you to decide if you wear that hat well, and if wearing
it is the most profitable use of your time. Keep in mind
that just because you can do something doesn’t mean
you should. Here are some jobs you may want to consider
outsourcing to professionals:


Turn over organized books to your accountant at the end of the year, and know your true financial standing on any given day by out-sourcing your bookkeeping.


maintain. Let’s talk logos.
A graphic designer is
going to give you a look and color palette to keep your identity visually cohesive.


Don’t skimp here. Your website and logo are often the first 
impression someone gets of your business.

Photography – In a
media-heavy business
world, having good quality
pictures of you, your
products, and services
will help you shine
over your competition
in visual appeal. There
are great stock photos
on apps like Canva (I
recommend paying the
monthly subscription for
the pro edition to unlock
thousands of great stock
options), but having
even a small catalog of
quality, branded photos
can make people stop
scrolling. Fresh photos can
also really polish up your

Consider investing in
a photography session
with a photographer
who specializes in
brand photography. A
brand photographer
can capture the essence
of your brand’s heart
and story. A couple
headshots (save the
selfies for your IG)

and 10 styled shots
can make a huge
difference in how your
business presents. Some
photographers will also
coach you in how to
take better pictures with
your phone for ongoing
filler pictures


Copy and Messaging – Did
you ever meet someone
with a gorgeous face you
could stare at all day, but
then find you couldn’t
connect deeper and so
the pretty face had to go?
Hang with my analogy! Your
visuals (pictures, website
design, and logo) may
attract a potential customer,
but if that person can’t
get deeper by developing
quick and strong chemistry
with your brand and
desire to be part of your
brand story, she’s going
to move towards a deeper
connection with another
brand (your competition).

A great looking website
and beautiful social

media feed comes to
life through the words
that breathe life into
the pages and posts. A
copywriter (like yours
truly) can offer a variety
of services from done
with you consult on your
brand story, general
messaging, blogging
strategies, social content
ideas or done for you
services. Invest in getting
really clear about how
you show up and what
you say to people. A clear
mind will say yes to what
you can offer them.


Bookkeeping – Let’s
talk about your money.
Bookkeepers help you
know exactly where your
money is going, what is
coming in, and how to
remain in compliance
with state and federal
regulations. Keeping
books takes a lot of time,
and if they’re not in order,
you really don’t know
where you stand in profit
margins, not to mention

Website and logo design It’s tempting to go cheap on a website and logo, but you will probably end up unhappy and
spending the money
again to redesign them.
I promise you you can
find affordable quality,
but you should have
realistic expectations of
associated costs and put
those into your start-up
or growth plan. For a
website, you can buy a
beautiful and easy to
build out template or
hire a web designer to
get your site built out on
a platform you can easil

I’m a huge believer in start-slim businesses and minimizing risk. Start-slim means you spend where you must and wait to reap profit before investing in other areas. But when you are ready to grow, figure out what you are willing to invest this year for quality and efficiency, and you’ll win in increased profits by using your time for your talents.

Outsourcing- it’s the key to bringing more money to your pockets and lightness to your steps by pulling off some of the hats weighing you down. Geneva Maresma is a Tampa-based copywriter who delivers creative messaging for stand-out brands. When you need a few choice words to convert the curious into clients for your website or other marketing collateral, contact her at:


Any other time suckers
– It depends on your
business, but you may
wish to outsource
scheduling, email
campaigns, social media
(get your messaging
together first to convey
to the person doing your
social media and email
marketing), payroll, or
housekeeping (for office
or home). If you can be
making more money per
hour doing what you do
than any of these tasks,
take the hat off and give
it away!

Most Entrepreneurs have never heard the term Succession Planning. These set of words have been reserved for major corporations who have been in business for several years, typically with a large staff and a pretty good revenue stream. New businesses rarely think about planning for succession; however, it should be part of your strategic plan as you begin to think about your business.

Successful succession planning
is related to leadership
development. It develops a
pool of talent so that there are
numerous qualified candidates
throughout the organization
to fill vacancies in leadership.

Succession planning used to
concentrate on developing
leadership at the top level, but
now it is building a strong talent
base, which helps to increase
employee loyalty and ensure
the longevity of the company.
This strategy requires recruiting
qualified talent, creating a talent
pool, and instilling loyalty.

Benefits of succession

• Decreased turnover
• Increased employee satisfaction
• Improved commitment to
company goals
• Enhanced image of the

What does succession
planning require?

• Identify the long-term goals
and objectives of the business:
The long-term goals directly
relate to succession planning. Is
the company’s goal to grow or
maintain its current position?
Will it expand into other fields?
All of these questions need to
be addressed before creating a
succession plan.

• Understand the developmental
needs of the company and
identify employees who fit
these needs: The responsibilities
of employees change over
time. Some positions may be
eliminated in the future while
others will be added.

• Recognize trends in the
workforce and engage
employees to build loyalty:
Understanding workforce
trends will help you predict the
needs of your organization. For
example, are your key employees
nearing retirement? Have you
invested in talented employees
to take on additional roles?

Deciding What You Need

There are several different
factors that indicate when a
company needs to implement or
re-evaluate succession planning.

• Turnover becomes critical:
The number of high-potential

"New businesses
rarely think
about planning for succession;
however, it should be part of your
strategic plan as you begin to think
about your

workers leaving is higher than
average workers leaving. (This
can happen in any economy.)

• Employees feel undervalued:
When a majority of your
employees feel that there is no
room for advancement or that
you choose too many outside
hires, there is a succession planning

• There are no replacements for
key talent: Should a valued
member of staff suddenly leave,
there is no one able to take his
or her place.

• Managers notice that there
are not many candidates for
promotion: Employees who are
not developed for leadership
will never be promoted.

• The time to fill metric is high or
unknown: The time to fill metric
is the average length of time
that it takes to fill a position.
A high number means that the
company needs to focus on
succession planning.

• The retention risk analysis
is high: A risk analysis uses
different factors to determine
the potential number of
employees who will leave.

These will factor in retirement
and other trends.

For more information about
Succession Planning visit


How one woman’s charisma, faith, and
adaptability is building a food empire


“God told me to ask you to be my mentor, I don’t know why, but don’t say yes yet. I want to earn it.” This is how Lennise Jackson Germany,
Founder of Livy O’s Catering first approached her would-be mentor Thomas Huggins III, a man she had 
never formally met.

Lennise left her job at Tampa
General Hospital she had no
savings, no goal, just a yearning for more, the support of her family, and faith that God would
provide. For the next six months she dabbled in event promotion, restaurant and bar management, anything to make ends meet. In her own words, “I didn’t have a plan, this was just something to do
so I didn’t have to go back to work until God showed me the way.” Facing foreclosure several times and many frustrating days and night did not hinder Lennise from
pushing toward her passion of self-employment. Her temporary managing of a restaurant during its final days had finished and she
did not have her next job lined up. If she did not find something else soon, she would be back looking
for employment.

Lennise was not having it. “I woke up the very next morning and said,
okay, I’ll sell some meals.” That day, she bought the ingredients for her first menu with food stamps and
advertised on Facebook, receiving twelve orders in that first week and

within a month she was receiving more than ninety orders a week. She says, “It was like God himself came in that kitchen and said, I can do this, for the rest of my life.”

She started Livy O’s Catering Co.
in 2015 along with her husband
Omar and their children. The
name derived from their eldest
daughter, Olivia. Lennise has taken Livy O’s from a small operation out the back of her trunk to a business renowned across Tampa. Those lucky enough to be at the Raymond James Stadium Superbowl Tailgate for vaccinated
healthcare workers last month may have had the pleasure of tasting Livy O’s divine food, as they were one of only twenty caterers chosen for the event.
During the COVID-19 pandemic
Lennise had to pivot their
business strategy, a strategy
many companies were forced to
implement during this horrific
time in American Business History.
Faced with a difficult decision; lay
off the dedicated team, who would
often work without pay was not
an option for Lennise. She recalls
a conversation with a member of
a local church informing her about
the National School Lunch Program,
a government funded program
that provides free or reduced
cost lunches to school children
in need. This was the pivot she
needed to remain relevant during

such turbulent times and continue supporting her team.

The National School Lunch Program allows private caterers who meet their nutrition and safety standards to become vendors and provide food to
charter and non-profit private schools in exchange for a government stipend. Livy O’s was already a licensed vendor, having served a low income
school in 2019.


She realized that many schools around her, despite moving to virtual teaching, were still providing drive-up or walk-up boxed lunches through the National School Lunch Program and saw an opportunity to both secure work for her team and give back to her community. Within a few weeks, Livy O’s was the proud provider of hot lunches for low-income students
at nine schools in the Tampa area.

This pivot has now berthed a brand new aspect of her business strategy, Livy O’s Contracting. “I love the power that food can bring,” she says. “Food brings differences together and that is something I can share with the world.”

"I didn’t have 
a plan, this was just
something to do so I didn’t
have to go back to work until God 
showed me the way.

Being Lakendria

Bay Chamber, why is there a need
for such a position?

Lakendria: Tampa Bay Chamber
did not have a program like this, the
reason it is important is because it
renders a power structure to close the
gap for minorities. If there is not topdown leadership by in, this does not work. Many organizations are adding diversity to their structure.

Interviewer: What qualifies you
to speak on business owners as a
non-business owner?

Lakendria: I am not a business owner; I speak on behalf of those who are business owners. I speak to the people who can make the difference for the business owners. I advocate for them in spaces they are not in. I have a unique perspective because I speak on what the business owner needs and bring the right people to the table. My bias is to ensure that the match is made.

Interviewer: What are the barriers
for minorities to overcome?

Lakendria: Number one barrier is
access to capital or even knowing how
to structure business and setting things up properly.

Interviewer: How to create capital

Lakendria: We are often at a
disadvantage, because a lot of family
businesses may not have run it by the
book, not having the proper resources
to help them create the proper
business structure. These can cause
problems with growing their business.
The other barrier is they do not have
access to human capital. Not being
exposed to the network is a barrier as
well. Lack of time management and
delegation, because it’s their business.

Interviewer: The world will be
looking through Tampa through
your eyes as the Superbowl Week
begins, what will they learn
about you?

Lakendria: It does not matter where, what the size of the event, or my passion and drive is to provide access. They will learn that I know how to pivot on a dime. The program has changed dramatically since inception in 2019. Because I understand what businesses need. I have created some very creative virtual events, spinoff events, a restaurant week, encompasses all kinds of restaurants. My ability to advocate and pivot 

Interviewer: Why do you people
take the risk of entrepreneurship?

Lakendria: Because they have not found that thing that make them click. That thing that makes them be who they want to be. I think the mindset has shifted; they are looking for more than just the benefits organizations offer. People see the gap on how they serve their clients, they fill that gap. They want to be their boss to fill
that need for the people they serve, they see a need in the market they can fulfill. Also, it’s kinda cool, it’s cool to say, I am an entrepreneur, I work for myself, I did that.

Interviewer: What time do you get
up in the morning?

Lakendria: I get up at 7am, but two
weeks before this interview, I began
to shift and wake up early at 4:30
because it releases the stress of the
day and I do not have to be up late at night anymore, I’m able to get more accomplished during the day now

Interviewer: Do you have any closing comments?

Lakendria: I am a Pioneer, if there is
a new or emerging program or even
and idea that an organization does not know how to bring it to pass, I am the person to make it happen and make it impactful and sustainable.


“This is what I do” words spoken by
Mrs. Lakendria Robinson. If there was ever a cliché about the proof is in the pudding, well, Lakendria is the epitome of such truth. As the brainchild behind many successfully ran organizations and events attributes such success to one simple word, “passion”. In our
interview with Mrs. Robinson, who by the way is not an Entrepreneur, she shared a wealth of information that will help any budding Entrepreneur succeed. You will be able to hear the passion each answer she rendered.

Interviewer: What is your passion?

Lakendria: being able to provide access to underserved and unrepresented communities to help them sustain more productive lives. Take a look at my positions I have been a part of rather it be Superbowl or non profit organization
have given me the opportunity to sit in rooms to advocate for people who look just like me.

Interviewer: How important is
networking as an employee or as
an employer?

Lakendria: Networking is critically
important no matter the class of
employment or self employed. I can
always fill in gaps with people who are
smarter than I am. I do not have to be
the smartest person in the room but I do need to know who’s in the room

Interviewer: As the Director for the
minority business accelerator and
economic inclusion at the Tampa


During this interview we learned who Lakendria is and we were excited to share this transcript with you. Lakendria is currently somewhere in Tampa, Florida changing lives for someone, right now, if not, she would not be, “Being Lakendria”.

These Five
Letters: NAACP

Yvette Lewis is the epitome
of Non-profit Organizational
Leadership. She was born into
one of the oldest organizations
in American History and now
holds the position as the
President of the Hillsborough
County NAACP Chapter. She
has and does take on the cares
of those who’s voice has been
silenced in society.

Yvette was born and raised in
Tampa, Fl in the shadows of the
Jim Crow south literally on the
picket lines. She describes in
vivid details the memories of
her holding her mother’s hand as
she walks back and forth along
the sidewalk watching people
being stopped from going into a
local grocery store.

How does one remember such
an event, you might ask; the
answer is not that perplex, it was
in her DNA. Yvette Lewis has
been on the front lines of the
local chapter for several terms
fighting for justice and equality
for Black Owned Businesses as
well as fighting for the rights of
local students in Hillsborough
County Schools. As she was

in the becoming phase of life,
she recalls always gravitating
to those who needed the most
help. She was not one to sit
around idle and let people get
bullied or pick upon in school.

As the nation celebrated the
100 year anniversary of the
Women’s Right to Vote last
year Yvette had an interesting
respond to that, stating, “I see
leaps and bounds for everyone,
there was a voice for Women
movement, but it did not include
Black Women”. Those leaps
and bounds benefitted White
Women in her opinion, because
Black Women did not suffer as
White Women did, Black Women
began receiving their benefits
during and after the Civil Rights
Act, she recants.

During her tenure as the
President she has witnessed
the continuous improvement
with Law Enforcement Officers,
particularly Tampa Sheriff’s
Department. Membership has
grown from 130 members to
nearly 1500 members during her
tenure. Yvette shares with Tampa
Pioneer that there is no other

membership in Tampa that offers
the many benefits and features
as the NAACP with a membership
cost of only $30 annually.

Members are able to take
advantage of the Empowerment
Center which is Chaired by
Robert Irvin which provides
educational trainings, contracting
assistance, RFIP assistance and
many more services for Tampa
residents. Nobody cares, nobody
cares, nobody cares about the
problems plaguing Black people
are the words Yvette echoes,
but these 5 letters NAACP. For
more information about how
to become a member of the
Hillsborough Chapter please
visit and request
a membership. So the next time
you see Yvette Lewis please
remember “These 5 Letters”

"I see leaps
and bounds
for everyone,
there was
a voice for
but it did not
include Black
God Speaks

Zechariah 4:10 “ Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin...

What are the small beginnings
of being or becoming an
Entrepreneur you may ask?

The small beginnings can simply
be getting the idea/vision
from your head to paper, doing
the research and getting the
knowledge you need for the
business. The will to tell yourself
“yes I can” and having the faith
it takes to make that first step
toward Entrepreneurship are just
a few of the small beginnings

Many people who desire the
freedom of working for themself,
the independence of being “The
Boss” and creating your own
wealth do not fully understand
that it takes time, trial and error,
and patience with yourself. Trust
the process and the journey.
Small beginnings are just that,
small steps toward the bigger
picture. Try not to be so hard on
yourself, don’t allow thoughts
of failure, thoughts of my vision
is too big for my budget, or any
negative discouraging thoughts
make you retreat


Encourage yourself, be your own
cheerleader, write encouraging
affirmations down on posted
notes to where you can read it
anywhere & anytime to remind
yourself “Do Not Despise the
Small Beginnings”!

Rejoice just as God does in the
fact that you began. Rejoice in
the small accomplishments and
the small victories

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