I grew up in and around my family’s small businesses; it was just part of my life and became an important part of my education. It was all just fun and games at that age; I learned how to wrap flatware, bus tables, run a cash register and count change and at my grandmother’s café when I was in elementary school. I started helping in my parents’ shoe store by the time I was in middle school and within a couple of years I had learned how to do all the bookkeeping, deal with vendor issues, decorate the walk-in display windows and help with buying decisions. Starting in high school I managed the books (with pencil, “adding machine” and desk-wide paper ledger) at my father’s glass company, sent out monthly statements (back when they were hand-written!) and collected bad debts. During these years, I also developed a love of drawing and taught myself to draw by looking at other drawings. By the time I entered high school, I was quite proficient and even considered an art degree in college but decided to go with my other love; business.
While attending college I helped my mother open a clothing store, where I formed a “teen board” (all the rage in the 1980s – teenage girls modeling the clothes, receiving store discounts, etc.), arranged fashion shows, “live mannequins” in the store windows, and lots of small town press coverage. By age 20 I had a firm grasp of small business operations and with my parents’ financial help, I opened a 3,000-square foot department-type store geared toward the wedding market (top brand china and crystal, flatware and various home furnishings and decor for brides to register for wedding gifts). The business opened to huge buzz in the community as it was unlike anything in town. During the 7 years that I ran the business (before turning it over to my mother to attend law school), I created innovative ad campaigns, dazzled locals with creative window displays, created “products”, spoke to schools and women’s groups and participated in local business panels.
After a couple of successful years in this first business I decided to add another. One of my employees worked locally as a part-time print model which sparked my idea to start a modeling and personal development school. I spent weeks developing a curriculum and illustrating the “text book” we printed on a dot-matrix printer. We rented a former dance studio and built a makeshift wooden runway. I taught the personal development curriculum (charm school-type lessons in poise, etiquette, hair, makeup, wardrobe, etc.), brought in professionals to supplement my lessons and my partner introduced a little fun by teaching them how to walk and stand like a model. This business was wildly successful and even today, over 30 years later, grown women still tell me how much they learned and how much they enjoyed those classes. Additionally, since graduating from law school in 1994, during breaks from my practice, I started three different small businesses.
About 7 years after starting the first business I began my first year of law school. I had become very interested after a friend of mine from high school decided to go. I had never even considered it a possibility until then but became suddenly and completely convinced that I should apply to the same law school; Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. While there I became very involved in academic and student life, receiving a staff position on The American Journal of Trial Advocacy (one of the 2 law reviews/legal journals at the school), a membership on the Moot Court Board (appellate arguments), an American Jurisprudence Book Award and was elected Student Bar President.
In addition to majoring in business and excelling in every law school class in business, I’ve always been a voracious reader of business books (and now business blogs). I catch up daily on the latest business news through my Flipboard and Feedly apps (love them!). I stay on top of business trends and keep up with the latest thought leaders. All of this plus my in-house legal experience over the past few years in the franchising, distribution and medical/healthcare industries have further broadened my knowledge and understanding of a multitude of business areas. I’m anxious to do whatever I can to help you advance your business goals!