Miranda Carter, the owner of Miracaza Real Estate Solutions, interviewed the founder of ShiftWork Consulting LLC (ShiftWork) for Miracaza’s three-part feature on Black-business owners in Arlington, VA for National Black Business Month.
Watch the interview here, or read about the main takeaways:
ShiftWork is a development consulting firm working to improve other organizations. Founded by a labor activist – Sukari Pinnock-Fitts – ShiftWork aims to empower individuals and maximize group potential.
More specifically, the firm is a full-range business with the following specialties: strategic planning; leadership development; coaching; and diversity, equity and inclusion awareness. ShiftWork cultivates and enhances the behaviors and actions of individuals so organizations can improve.
Consulting wasn’t Fitts first career. After working as a labor activist, Fitts decided to shift into a business for herself where she could be her own boss.
Fitts began planning her transition into the organizational development field 10 years before she retired. So, despite it being a change of pace, the field was one in which Fitts was familiar.
“I studied in the [organizational development] field, got my master’s degree there, [and] also acquired a number of certifications after I finished my master’s degree,” said Fitts. “All with the intent of retiring from my first career to start a second career [as a] OD (organizational development) consultant.”
More specifically, Fitts graduated from the American University Master’s Program in Organization Development (MSOD), according to the ShiftWork website. She is also an ICF-certified Leadership/Executive Coach.
Now a seasoned practitioner, Fitts is an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. She is also the Program Director and curriculum designer for the Georgetown Executive Certificate Program in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management, the website added.
It’s well known that minority-owned businesses do not have the same access to funds and work opportunities as white entrepreneurs. For Fitts, this means she has to demonstrate her ability to do the work successfully more than her white counterparts.
“I don’t have a black tax, per se, but I do have to work harder,” said Fitts. “I have to be able to demonstrate, I guess, that what I am able to do is equal to or, in many cases, exceeds what others are doing in the field.”
Yet, Fitts still remains hopeful about the futures of Black-business owners. To aspiring Black entrepreneurs, Fitts shares a piece of advice:
“[Do] not be discouraged,” she said.
Fitts notes that working for yourself is not for everybody, like those who need more boundaries around them or enjoy collaboration. But, for those who feel temperamentally suited to be their own boss and can do the work needed to be successful, the best advice Fitts has is to “go for it and [do] not let the naysayers keep you on the sideline.”