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Vision. Mission. Focus. Obtain Your Business Goals with 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

Taylor Ford knew she needed to find the time to slow down and work on her business because she was struggling to find focus. She owned one IT business that offered numerous facets of IT work. However, Ford struggled to create a clear direction for her services because of the company’s extensive reach.

Aware that she needed help to develop and focus her business, Ford signed up for Omicelo Cares’ 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program. This program centers on seven different business sectors, which are Strategy, Technology, Communication, Finance, Legal, Capital, and People, gearing toward each participant’s business’ unique needs. 

This program provided Ford with mentorship, guidance, and support focusing on the strategy and marketing pillars.

“My favorite part about that was actually the one-on-one mentoring with 7 Pillars™ Manager, Shannon,” Ford said about the Omicelo Care’s team member. “She became a real friend in my business; a real partner. And she helped me with my strategy, and she helped me conceptualize who I actually was in business and what I wanted to do and the impact that I wanted to make.”

Focusing and Strategizing Her Business 

Through the support of Omicelo Cares, Ford successfully separated her business into two distinct companies: Taylor Made IT Services and IT’s For Me. Both of her businesses are centered on giving technology access to minorities, but each has its specific focus.

Taylor Made IT Services offers IT managerial services with on-site help, unique from most IT companies.

“What differentiates Taylor made is we have a lot of on-site help,” Ford said. “We literally contract out our department. We come embedded in integral parts of our clients’ environments and ecosystems because we are their staff members; we are their technicians.”

Taylor Made’s next goal is to take over the charter school scene to make sure that there is a Taylor Made technician in every charter school serving minorities, Ford said.

On the other hand, IT’s For Me teaches the community how to utilize various mainstream technology through summer programs and after-school camps.

“The after-school programs help the children be creative and innovative using technology,” Ford explained. “It supports the theme that they don’t all have to be basketball players and football players. They can be astronauts, they can be engineers, they can be scientists, and allowing them the space to create, to be innovative, to think, has really changed the game for them.”

IT’s For Me currently partners with after-school programs, but they will host their own after-school programs and summer camps next year. At these programs and camps, the kids can work on varying projects, including designing websites, building fliers, working on their resumes and cover letters, learning the Microsoft Office Suite, and collaborating in a group. These events focus on varying sectors of technology.

Ford explained that her companies didn’t change all that much; they both still offered the same services.

“It was more so an internal separation that really needed to happen for our clients,” Ford said. “There was a service shift.”

This focus and separation improved her work environment by establishing a clear direction for her team by always relating their services to their mission. 

“It’s improved my overall quality of life because I have a tidbit of my sanity back because now I know which way I am going,” Ford said. 

Support On Her Business Journey

Omicelo Cares and their partners came alongside Ford to support her as a business partner to obtain tangible results by slowing down and working on her business.

“They helped me build upon what exactly my company does,” Ford said. “So, that’s why I separated them. They were able to help me to clarify my message for each of them because they don’t do the same thing. They don’t have the same clientele. They’re not the same target market.”

The program’s collaborative nature enabled Ford and other participants to focus solely on their business with the help of Omicelo Cares’ business professionals. 

Separating her two businesses clarified which services were being offered to each customer. 

7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business

Ford highly recommends the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program because of how the mentors support you and become your partners and friends. 

“[They] built a rapport with me that is very hard to build, and they kept that rapport,” Ford said.

The 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business is a hands-on, personalized experience that forces you to work on your business, Ford said. It teaches that with all seven pillars, your business can be structured to achieve income growth and sustainability:

The 7 Pillars™ include:

  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Communication 
  • Finance 
  • Legal 
  • Capital
  • People

Visit our website to learn more about the 7 Pillars™ of Sustainable Business program and how it can help you grow your business.

A Different Approach to Real Estate

In 2017, Tenika Chavis signed up for what she expected to be just another real estate training. With few expectations, she thought she might make a connection and, once again, talk about the basics of real estate investing. 

She recalls going to these series of sessions, thinking, “I shouldn’t take up space in something like this that’s meant for the community.” She felt her real estate knowledge was already “adequate,” not realizing the impact this series would have on her and her community.

Before taking Omicelo Cares’ Real Estate Co-powerment Series, cocreated by Neighborhood Allies, Chavis worked in property and project management and as an advisor for other real estate investors. Prior to her education with Omicelo Cares, Chavis, like most real estate professionals, was taught to buy cheap, negotiate low, and do as few repairs as possible to create the largest market value and purchase price gap possible. 

But during this series, she learned that this form of real estate investment was affecting her neighborhood’s demographics and causing displacement in her community. 

“It opened my eyes,” Chavis expressed. “I was part of the problem and that bothered me, learning that the median income in the area is $45,000 and hasn’t changed in almost 25 years but the prices of real estate have accelerated.” 

This knowledge propelled Chavis into her journey of learning how to be part of the solution. 

Improving Neighborhoods by Finding Real Estate Solutions 

Chavis left the Real Estate Co-powerment Series fully prepared to change how real estate was affecting her community. She became a real estate investor and changed her approach to real estate, ensuring a win-win situation for both the investor and buyer. 

“It changed the way that I approach real estate now because I will actually try to work with the family to give them what they need,” Chavis said. “Some families need monthly payments, some of them need a lump sum, some just want to get rid of the property because it’s a problem. I spend more time getting to know the family and what they need.”

She approaches the situation aware of the profit she needs to make, the median income in the area, and varying places she can take money from for rehab and repair. 

“I’ve found different ways to profit rather than just charging market-rate rent and overpricing each property,” Chavis explained. 

Expanding Her Real Estate Impact 

Five years later, Chavis has her own real estate business and construction company:

“My business in real estate improves my community because I can empathize with the end user,” Chavis said. “I have a different perspective than a corporate investor or an investor from another part of town. I feel that I can relate better to the circumstances on the ground in the area which make me a better owner and a better resource to the community.”

Before the series, she owned one property; since then, she has owned seven at one time. She also works with other private investors and asset-based lenders.

Additionally, she has become a trainer with Omicelo Cares for the Real Estate Co-powerment Series and, through this, has had the opportunity to share her real estate journey and help others build beneficial connections. She also speaks at other events about being a woman in construction and real estate.

“[The program] has made me more confident as a real estate professional because I have access to other services and professionals that I didn’t even know existed before,” Chavis said.

Real Estate Co-powerment Series

This program is a 7-week series that demystifies the real estate development process, demonstrating how community members can get involved in real estate. 

“It provides a good baseline of knowledge for putting things together,” Chavis said. “You get a great start to getting into real estate and a lot of connections.”

This program is excellent for:

  • Community-based organization staff
  • Property owners
  • Small business owners
  • Active community members 
  • Those interested in learning the real estate investment process

Learn more about our Real Estate Co-powerment Series and begin your journey of strengthening your community through real estate education.

Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives: Healthy Communities

Community is an essential part of who we are. Each one of us plays a part in sustaining the community in which we live. Without diverse neighbors with skills and talents other than our own, the mechanic wouldn’t have a doctor, and the doctor wouldn’t have a car. 

Each person is a vital part of the community.

Yet sometimes communities weaken over time without access to the care and resources needed to grow. That’s why neighborhood revitalization initiatives are crucial in supporting and uplifting areas that need some tender loving care. 

What Are the Goals of Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives?

The overarching goal of all neighborhood revitalization initiatives is to strengthen the community. This is done through various projects that help renew the neighborhood. 

  • Educate on practical knowledge and valuable skills
  • Own financial assets, grow businesses, and lift income
  • Support small businesses
  • Project completion
  • Increase the quality of life

“We all want our communities to be healthy.”

–Denise, past participant of The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

A Community’s Cornerstone: Education

Education is the pillar of all neighborhood revitalization initiatives because a community will perish without knowledge. Learning is a fundamental building block of society. 

At Omicelo Cares, we offer practical knowledge and specific skill sets that help individuals obtain financial assets, grow their businesses, and increase their income. Encouraging individuals to do this will, in turn, help the entire community rejuvenate and stabilize. 

Supporting and Building Small Businesses

Family-owned businesses are another major contributor to community revitalization. These businesses generate more jobs for the community, encourage neighborly interaction and development, establish an identity, and circulate money locally. 

By developing and supporting these businesses, community members can come together to form a shared identity. 

Ending the Demise of Uncompleted Projects 

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, unforeseen circumstances, weather challenges, delays in obtaining permits, and a change of plans cause uncompleted projects to line streets in neighborhoods. Risk factors such as these are one of the causes of underperforming and incomplete projects, according to KPMG’s 2021 Global Construction Survey. In 2021, 37% of companies said they missed their budget and schedule goals due to COVID-19. Risk management must be addressed to improve the organization and performance of construction projects. 

It may be debatable, but uncompleted projects are worse to look at than abandoned buildings. They saw the potential. They chased the potential. But then they quit. 

A vital part of neighborhood revitalization initiatives is project completion. Through Omicelo Cares’ partners such as Neighborhood Allies, we strive to bring every project to completion to build the community’s finances, relationships, and uniformity.

Omicelo Cares Courses 

We care deeply about the communities of Pittsburgh. Therefore, we have set our life’s purpose on increasing the overall quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods. 

Because a community deserves to be a community. 

Our courses help communities discover what they were meant to be: a place of identity, relationship, and purpose. We provide:

We also come alongside businesses to help them achieve income, growth, and sustainability in 7 Pillars of Sustainable Business. We also support community members, small businesses, and organizations bringing projects to completion in the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

Denise, a past participant of The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, said, “What followed after graduating from the Series was the confidence to believe in the process. Confidence then gave way to courage. Some folks participate in the cohort for personal reasons, some for professional reasons. No matter the individual purpose, we all want our communities to be healthy.”

Omicelo Cares Board Adds Two New Board Members

Omicelo Cares recently recruited two new board members: Jodie Harris, director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), and Morton Stanfield, senior vice president and head of community development for Dollar Bank. Both of these recruits have substantial experience building up communities. 

Jodie Harris
CDFI Fund
Director
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund

Jodie Harris’ Impact on Distressed Communities

Harris has filled many influential roles that have impacted distressed communities, including her current position for the CDFI Fund, which serves our nation’s disadvantaged communities by producing economic growth and opportunity. She has 25 years of experience in both the public and private sectors.

“It is an honor to join the Omicelo Cares board,” Harris said. “I am excited to work with an organization that builds agency and power in communities overlooked and underserved by traditional community investment models. I look forward to supporting the team with this important mission.”

In 2007, Harris joined Treasury as an associate program manager with the CDFI Fund, later becoming a senior advisor to the director of the CDFI Fund. She has focused her work at the Treasury on access to capital, community development banking, and financial inclusion.

Toward the beginning of her career, Harris served as president of a small non-profit consulting firm. Later in her career, she focused on low-income food programs working in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Morton D. Stanfield, Jr. 
Dollar Bank 
Senior Vice President 
Community Development

Morton Stanfield Serves Numerous Community Organizations 

Stanfield has been working for Dollar Bank since 2005 and, in his current role, is responsible for community development initiatives in all markets for Dollar Bank. During his time at Dollar Bank, he has served in many roles, including Vice President for their Corporate Banking Department, where he managed and grew a portfolio of loans and deposits for commercial clients. 

“I am excited and honored to join the Board of Omicelo Cares,” Stanfield said. “I look forward to helping the organization advance its mission – a mission that aligns with my personal passions and my professional goals.”

Stanfield has 15 years in the financial industry and currently serves on several boards of directors for community organizations, including vice chairman of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, trustee of Carlow University, member of the finance committee of the Poise Foundation, and board member of Landmark’s Community Capital Corporation and Humane Animal Rescue. 

Stanfield is a graduate of Carlow University, the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, Wharton Executive Leadership Program, and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association Advanced School of Banking. 

Omicelo Cares Seeks to Build up and Support Communities

Omicelo Cares is a non-profit organization that believes neighborhoods can create promise for all community members. Their mission is to support existing community members in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods to own financial assets, grow their businesses, and lift their incomes. Omicelo Cares has grown to be a leader in the Entrepreneurial Support and Economic Development sectors in the region.

Ways to Get Involved 

Omicelo Cares is always looking for individuals interested in joining our journey to support and build up communities. You can get involved in many ways: