By: Jessica L. Dupree|
Edited by Craig Dewey Stanley
Photo’s by: Mel B. Elder Jr.
Reality star Lateshia Pearson entered our homes and hearts at the start of 2021 as part of OWN Network’s “Belle Collective” successful cast. But prior to that, Pearson had already established herself as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and successful businesswoman in the state of Mississippi.
The Pelahatchie native says, growing up, she’d always been a highly creative visionary with witty ideas, feeling innately that she was destined for something much bigger than she could ever imagine. She was onto something; time would reveal her path to success to be television, entrepreneurship, and bridging the gaps between people, ideas, and business.
Seven years ago, Lateshia Pearson started her first business, Animated Blast, which provided entertainment services for children. In 2017, Pearson launched Women Brunch Mississippi to foster networking amongst aspiring and established entrepreneurs across the state. Along her business journey, Pearson realized the journey, itself, was worth sharing to inspire others to build and manage businesses, and in 2020, Pearson took all that she’d learned and established the National Women’s Brunch Organization Inc, a nonprofit created to ‘generate opportunities for women entrepreneurs to come together, network, discuss issues, deliberate solutions, and chart courses for change’ as well as connect those entrepreneurs with external banks, resources, and opportunities to support their growth.
According to ForeignUSA.com Mississippi has recently experienced a 2.06% percentage increase in small business ownership, the second-largest increase in five years. Pearson is leading the charge to further increase these numbers, one entrepreneur at a time.
As seen on “Belle Collective,” Pearson is a savvy go-getter who can be very direct. Still, she stands by her mission to challenge those around her to change their mindset. “Your dominant thoughts create your reality,” she told Heart & Soul. “You must have the right mindset. No matter how hard things may get, keep going and believing in yourself and in your vision.”
Pearson sat down with Heart & Soul to discuss her top rules for business success, how growing up in Mississippi shaped her as an entrepreneur, and how solution-based thinking and supporting one another can lead to success for black women entrepreneurs across the world.
What valuable business lessons have you learned along your journey?
Along my journey I have learned many valuable business lessons, but the most valuable lessons are to be consistent and intentional. To be coachable and a leader at the same time. That in order to grow in your business, you have to be willing to learn from those who have traveled the path before you. I’ve learned to create a team of skilled people that you can trust. And I’ve learned to focus on opportunities and not problems.
Belle Collective on OWN placed you in the spotlight as a thriving CEO from small-town Mississippi. In what ways has growing up in the south shaped and influenced you?
Growing up in the south has shaped and influenced me tremendously. I grew up in a small town in Mississippi called Pelahatchie, where everyone pretty much knew everyone. It was a town of love, faith, fun, and family. Mississippi in general has taught me hospitality, faith, love, and compassion, but most importantly it has influenced me to become the change that I wish to see. In my community you did not see many black entrepreneurs, nor hear of opportunities for blacks to elevate. However, I have witnessed close family members like my mom and my grandfather both work hard to provide and teach the importance of hard work.
I was determined to “be the change I wish to see” to inspire other women in small towns to think bigger and understand that you have the power and an option to not become a product of your environment. Basically, I believed in myself, I thought bigger than my environment and opposition. In addition, believing in myself, I also understood the power of breaking generational curses, even at a young age, and I was adamant about changing the narrative for my son and family members who will come after me.
What are some of the changes you want to see with black women in business?
I really want to see Black Women coming together and supporting one another! Actually help, love, uplift each other. Black women are so creative. We are innovators, and once we remove the stigma of black women not supporting one another, change the mindset on women working together and succeeding, and really choosing collaboration over competition, together we can create our own narrative and be an inspiration for other young entrepreneurs, and women in general across the world.
Even when you look back years and years ago at women like Sarah Boone who created a special ironing board. She was a dressmaker, and the ironing board she used did not work like she wished it to. So, she created what she needed. Thanks to a black innovative woman, we have an ironing board! Madam CJ Walker is another one, and the list can go on and on. Innovation! So in a nutshell, once we as black women really tap into our creativity, really start to walk in our purpose, and reach back to pull and encourage those who are behind us, we will reach another level of power, success, and unity!
Follow Lateshia Person on IG @lateshia_nechelle