February 23, 2024, Silver Spring, MD. 15 years ago today, I started Laisar Management Group with little more than a hope, a dream, and a prayer. With 25 years of corporate experience, I was done punching the clock and knew I had what it took to start my own management consulting firm.

I registered my company, set up a home office in my kitchen, and got licensed as a minority business enterprise. Three months later, I landed my first contract. I haven’t looked back since.

I had no idea then just how many challenges I’d have to overcome in the process of making Laisar the success that it is today. But I had vision. I had faith. And even when the odds were stacked against me, I stayed the course.

There were times when it actually would have been easier to just get another job, but I knew in my spirit that I had to be on this journey. And that meant believing in myself and in my purpose, and keeping my eyes on the prize.

Not just for money or the freedom that comes with being my own boss. But to look myself in the mirror every single day and be able to answer the question, “How did I make the world a better place?”

In past work experiences, there were days I couldn’t answer that question. But in the last 15 years of running Laisar, there’s never been a day when I couldn’t confidently answer that question because I know the work we do is important and makes a difference.

And that’s what’s kept me going all these years. When people didn’t want to take a chance on me, when the doors slammed shut in my face, when no one would help me and I had to figure everything out on my own, I persevered because I saw the promise and potential of what Laisar would become if I didn’t give up.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Looking back, I can’t help but reflect on the pivotal moments over the years that laid the foundation for where we are today. With nearly every high there was a low, but it made our successes that much more impactful.

Like when monies were held up and I couldn’t pay my rent for five months, but my landlord told me that she believed in me. The next month, I wrote her a check for the full outstanding balance.

Or when a new client refused to accept a bad reference from a past client, telling them everyone deserved a second chance and that there are always two sides to a story.

Or all the times we somehow met payroll even when I had no idea where the money would come from.

I even remember the clients who ended our contract and then came back when they realized our value.

The clients who were hard on us and forced us to do better, to be better.

The folks who saw something special in me and opened doors for me.

The fellow business owners who understood the challenges of running your own business and encouraged me to be persistent.

The companies that were willing to take a chance on me when others said I didn’t have the right past performance to deliver.

But deliver we did, every single time. And it’s our tenacity and determination to impress—going above and beyond the call of duty to meet our client’s needs—that has gotten us to where we are today.

The Turning Point

No matter how many doors slammed shut in my face, I kept going after opportunities until I honed in on what makes Laisar special, our true superpower—storytelling—which marked a major turning point for Laisar.

We started digging deeper to understand what data meant and to help our clients tell the story of what the data is actually saying. Because when you humanize the numbers, you humanize the company and create an opportunity for connection. Storytelling allows people to see the value of supplier diversity programs, making a difference one company at a time.

Community engagement is about more than corporate social responsibility. It’s about identifying and appreciating the value of doing business with small, local, and diverse suppliers and connecting with people in the communities where you live, work, and serve. Highlighting their stories illustrates the power of making an impact in your local communities.

We don’t tell canned stories. Instead, we get to know you as a client, we get to know your employees, and we get to know your communities.

That’s the Laisar difference. And as we embark on the next 15 years, our goal is to partner with more companies to help them build their value proposition by telling the story of how they’re making an impact in the communities they serve.

A Word of Thanks

So as we celebrate this milestone year, I have no regrets. Only endless gratitude and expectation for what lies ahead.

Through prayer and God’s providence, we’ve experienced blessing after blessing, miracle after miracle. And we’re just getting started.

I’m grateful for every high and low, triumph and disappointment, victory and defeat that it took to build Laisar to where we are today. It was all worth it. And it’s all a part of our story.

To my incredible family, who have been in my corner pushing, believing in, and supporting me for the entirety of this journey, thank you.

To everyone who has been a part of Laisar’s 15-year journey, thank you.

To the people who stood by my side and pushed me to keep fighting the good fight, thank you.

To everyone currently working with Laisar or who has worked with Laisar in the past, thank you.

Thank you for the memories.

Thank you for your loyalty.

Thank you for believing in my vision.

I especially want to thank every client that has referred us. 80% of our business is because of your endorsement, and I’m grateful for your trust in sharing the Laisar name with your peers and partners. Thank you for being our most significant advocates and for believing in our vision and capabilities.

Lastly, I want to thank my brilliant, inspiring, and dedicated team. You are the best and the brightest and with your support, I am excited for the future of Laisar.

Let’s keep going.

Let’s keep making a difference.

 

Let’s keep telling stories that matter.

 

With gratitude,

Florence Amate

 

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Community engagement is about more than corporate social responsibility. It’s about identifying and appreciating the value of doing business with small, local, and diverse suppliers and connecting with people in the communities where you live, work, and serve.

Florence Amate

President and CEO