Q: Provide a brief history of your career.
A: I have a B.S. degree in Textile Chemistry, and I worked in the textile industry in South Carolina for 12 years until I received notice that I was being laid off because my manufacturing plant was being shut down. I had never considered starting a business, but faced with limited options, it seemed necessary at that time. I founded Morgan Consulting, Inc. in October, 1997 to provide Lean and Six Sigma training, and we have had clients across the United States and parts of Europe, teaching even rocket scientists and nuclear physicists some new skills! The traveling got old after many years, though, so in 2008 I created a second company, Open Door Enterprises, LLC to invest in local real estate. This business allows me to work from home and get involved in the community.
Q: What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to focus on delivering exceptional value to your customers. If you do that well, you will be successful no matter what product or service you offer. Ask repeatedly what customers want and need, then use that insight to improve your business. It also helps to be adaptable because the market will change over time, and be brave because you will have to do and learn a lot of new things. Bravery is not the absence of fear; it is the courage to try something new in spite of the fear. Entrepreneurs who believe in their products and believe in themselves can use that passion to overcome their fears and succeed.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved with JA?
A: I started volunteering with Junior Achievement after seeing a request for instructors in the newspaper. I am concerned that there is little financial education in the public schools, because financial literacy is a vital skill for all citizens, and I want to help bridge that gap. I also want to encourage students to create their own security through entrepreneurship instead of relying on an employer to take care of them, because I know firsthand how quickly that safety net can disappear.
Q: What is your favorite JA memory?
A: My favorite memory of JA took place the night a former student approached me at a restaurant while I was getting a refill at the soda station. He told me that he had developed a plan for what he would do after graduation based on the JA lessons I had taught, and he was enrolled at Midlands Tech in a program that would ensure him a good-paying job. That is why I volunteer, and making a difference in the lives of these young people is incredibly rewarding.