Mentors: YOUNG SMALL BUSINESS

Polly White

Polly White

Summary of Qualifications Polly is a veteran entrepreneur and consultant whose experience spans all industries and whose expertise focuses on people. She is a founding partner and owner of Gather, whose coworking spaces provide a community to more than 200 entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business people. In 2002, Polly left the corporate world to start her first consulting business serving large and Fortune 500 companies in the areas of leadership and organizational development. Her business continued to grow in both size and capabilities over the next several years adding services in HR, compliance, strategy and workforce development. In 2009, she joined forces with her husband, Doug, to form Whitestone Partners, a full-service small-business consulting firm. Together, they work with clients across all industries and have extensive experience in real estate, construction, the trades, professional services, non-profits, advertising and marketing, manufacturing and financial services. They help businesses that want to get to the next level as well as those needing to get back on track. Today, Polly is recognized as a small business expert, successful serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and founding partner of Gather, coworking spaces that create community for more than 200 entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses. She writes weekly columns (with her partner, Doug) for both RTD Business and Entrepreneur.com. She is a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and business consultant. Want to meet with this Lead Mentor? Schedule an...
Kimmie Lockett

Kimmie Lockett

Summary of Qualifications Kimmie Lockett is a Design Strategist, helping create more manageable products and services through a consumer-centric lens. She is hired for collaborative project-based work in concept and product development, branding, and user research. Kimmie uses Design Thinking as a framework to facilitate Innovation Management and Brand Strategy. With a User-Centered approach, she helps businesses discover and communicate their value. Her role is to help prepare the concept for market— enabling clarity, reducing complexity, and articulating opportunities. On Brand Strategy: She helps businesses identify their key values and differentiating factors which provide sustainable competitive advantages. By working with Kimmie Lockett, founders will discover ways to mitigate competition in their market and create brand resonance. This is achieved by translating business models into brand systems. On Innovation Management: Kimmie facilitates the process of discovering, defining, and designing products and concepts. She offers a structured approach to iterative cycles of exploration, knowledge acquisition, and rapid prototyping. Want to meet with this Lead Mentor? Schedule An...
Leah Fremouw

Leah Fremouw

Summary of Qualifications Leah Fremouw is a familiar face in the Richmond business community and has a rich history of managing dynamic, fast-moving projects with multiple stakeholders. Leah currently serves as an Assistant Vice President at Virginia Community Capital, a financial organization deploying loans and advisory services to projects in all regions of the Commonwealth. In this role, she partners with businesses in a variety of industries and growth stages to support their movement to the next level. Prior to this role, she led talent management and cultural initiatives for CarLotz, a fast growing Richmond business, served as an organizational development consultant with the Performance Management Group at Virginia Commonwealth University, and for three years worked in the city’s public housing communities. Leah’s commitment to the Richmond community brings her out of the office and into initiatives moving the greater region forward. She helps lead TEDxRVA, the innovative speaker series initiated in 2012, along with Impact 100, where she supports strategies to raise large grant funds for local nonprofits. Leah earned her Bachelors and Master’s degrees at VCU, where she was recognized as an L. Douglas Wilder Graduate Scholar 2008-2010. She is also a 2011 graduate of the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence’s Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program.   Want to meet with this mentor? Schedule an...
LaTilda Owens

LaTilda Owens

Summary of Qualifications LaTilda is an active member of the She Empowers Advisory Council, a business mentor with Richmond’s Office of Minority Business Development, a business consultant for Virginia Community Capital and a financial analyst for the Commonwealth of Virginia. LaTilda Hudnall Owens, MBA was born and raised in Northumberland County located in the beautiful Northern Neck region of Virginia. LaTilda attended Hampton University in Hampton, VA where she obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management. In 2004, LaTilda began her professional career at Wachovia Securities in Richmond, VA as a Brokerage Operations Specialist and a Corporate Accountant. Eventually, she moved on to Genworth Financial where she remained employed as Senior Financial Analyst until July 2013. During her professional career, LaTilda obtained her Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Accounting. In 2013, she established LHO Solutions, LLC, a small business consulting firm offering financial analysis, accounting, and strategic planning to area small businesses. LaTilda has a passion for helping others succeed and reach their goals. She believes she is fulfilling her purpose by touching one business at a time. Throughout her career, LaTilda has planned, organized and participated in numerous community outreach events which has served the underprivileged and at–risk members of her community. LaTilda is happily married and the Mother of four. In her free time, LaTilda enjoys serving in the Children’s Ministry at her church, traveling, acting, and being a Sports Mom. Want to meet with this mentor? Talk with your Lead...
Rebecca Thomas

Rebecca Thomas

Summary of Qualifications Rebecca is a veteran entrepreneur with experience in real estate, retail and most recently, restaurants. She is the founder of kybecca, a 150 seat restaurant and was a partner in a real estate firm. Rebecca opened kybecca in 2005 as a small retailer focusing on small production wine and beer. Over the years that expanded into a wine bar, and then a small restaurant. Today, kybecca is 150 seat restaurant with a craft cocktail bar. Through these various incarnations and receiving mentorship of her own, the concept continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of her clientele and fill a distinctive niche in the market. Restaurants, in particular, are challenging due to the volume of moving parts and decisions that each affect the bottom line. Her experience in building the business from the ground up, sustaining it and evolving it to meet a changing marketplace has enabled her to understand how important it is to set your enterprise up correctly. Structure sets success. She can provide mentorship in all aspects of understanding your business: each component, how they work together and where to focus your efforts to ensure profitability and steady growth. While not a specialist in marketing, working with Rebecca can improve your marketing efforts. Often businesses aren’t sure where profitability lies within their offerings. Narrowing what the customer wants and how to tell them about it has the result of quickly improving the bottom line. Rebecca has developed real estate for specific use both in residential and commercial, worked with cities to secure incentives, scouted locations, created a concept and brought it to...