“Hello everyone, I’m Taneya Higginbotham and welcome to the RealiTea ProjecT, where our mission is to discuss racial injustice and racial inequity, to stimulate righteous actions and transform communities.” Taneya’s conversational piece highlighting her and her guests experience, is now available on Facebook @TheRealiTeaProjecT.
Taneya is one of the newest members at Elevate in
Mattoon, Il. With a non-profit business background, Taneya is finding her voice
on ‘The RealiTea ProjecT.’ Inspired by personal experience and knowing others
have experienced obstacles similar to hers, Taneya decided it was time to take
a stand and begin her video series.
As described by Taneya, ‘The RealiTea Project’ “is looking to stimulate positive conversation amongst community members relating to racism and racial injustice in Coles County.”
When asked about obstacles she has faced, Taneya says personally she has experienced microaggressions in the workplace and other pressure related to being a woman of color.
As the Project Manager of ‘The RealiTea ProjecT’, Taneya’s first guest have been Ed Dowd of The Mattoon Chamber of Commerce and Terrance Taylor of Tat., Inc. View these conversations by visiting ‘The RealiTea ProjecT on Facebook.’ ‘The RealiTea Project’ strives to enable all people in Coles County to inspire change in the workplace and beyond by stimulating conversations and inspiring others.
‘The RealiTea ProjecT’ is consistently looking for new guest to visit the show and share their perspectives. Individuals interested in joining ‘The RealiTea ProjecT’ project may do so by contacting Taneya by phone at 217-508-6031, email: email@example.com, or by writing a letter to PO Box 253 Toledo, Illinois.
The team at Elevate recognizes and encourages the need
for conversations like the ones Taneya is having to occur. We strive to
continue working towards providing a space and community equipped to create a
more equitable future for people of every race and background.
As always, follow Elevate on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates on who is using our center and what events the team is hosting!
Mattoon, IL- Five recent members of Elevate, were recognized Thursday, January 28, 2021, for their achievements in entrepreneurship. Amy Patrick, Evie Rudibaugh, Katie Haifley, Keegan O’Connell, and Latonya Davies were recognized at the first-ever ‘Elevate Celebration of Innovation & Growth.’
Those in attendance at this event included new entrepreneurs and their families, local business professionals, and others in the Elevate community. As a not-for-profit organization, Elevate most values its members’ success and those who ultimately go into business for themselves.
New Business Owners Celebrating with Family & Community
With assistance from the center, Keegan O’Connell (pictured left) has utilized the KIVA Crowdsourcing Loan Program via the centers’ partnership with LISC Rural. This loan will enable his business, Buzzed & Board Media LLC., to expand further.
Latonya Davies (pictured left) has reached new clients for her LLC. All For Them – Latonya’s Pet Care Services since becoming an Elevate member.
Evie Rudibaugh registered her business, Peace of Mind Home Services LLC, with the team’s help at Elevate. Evie initially found inspiration for her home care services business during her Class E participation, a high school entrepreneurship class that teaches students about starting a business. Elevate has recently become the home of Classe-E, the course which inspired Evie to become a business owner.
Not pictured members Amy Patrick and Katie Haifley have also graduated from various Elevate programs and look to succeed in their ventures. Amy was the first graduate of Elevates’ 6 Step Program and is now operating her own life & wellness education organization online. Katie Haifley was the first Elevate member to graduate from ‘The Elevate-Lake Land College Initiative’ program, a partnership between Elevate and Lake Land College. Lake Land College has graciously provided 15 tuition waivers to full members of Elevate. This partnership between Lake Land College and Elevate allows aspiring entrepreneurs to receive the knowledge necessary to start their venture without accruing a significant financial burden.
Elevate looks to the future and is excited for the chance to provide equitable opportunities and success for all. Our center hopes to encourage, connect and grow small and startup businesses in the region by creating a mixed-use, co-working space that provides resources and opportunities to empower success.
Laura Severson is a volunteer at Elevate. Her role includes managing the front desk and providing general assistance in the development of the center. She has an entrepreneurial background through her family’s ownership of restaurants and hotels.
Outside of Elevate, Laura is a gerontologist at the LifeSpan Center. She has received degrees from both Southern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University. Laura enjoys giving her time to Elevate because it provides her the opportunity to give back to her community and serve.
Evelynna is a 2020 graduate of ClassE, a Coles County Highschool Entrepreneurship Class which has found a new home at Elevate. As a focus of the course, students develop a business idea and apply it to the real world. This is where Evelynna found her inspiration for Peace of Mind Home Services.
After joining the Elevate team, Evelynna began to use our resources for her own business. In November of 2020, Peace of Mind Home Services registered with the state of Illinois to form an official LLC. Peace of Mind Home Services primarily functions to watch homes, pets and plants while their owners are out of town.
Faisal Tariq Elevate CCIC, Inc. Operations Director
Faisal Tariq is the newest staff member at Elevate after coming onboard in October. He has a plethora of experience in retail management including time at DSW and Coach. In his 11 years at DSW, Faisal started as a sales associate before eventually working his way to the position of Store Manager at multiple Chicago locations.
In 2009 Faisal moved to Mattoon with his family and began working to acquire his undergraduate degree at Eastern Illinois University and taking on the role of stay at home father to his two sons, Aydin and Lethan. After graduation he became a store manager at Coach in Tuscola, where he would stay for 5 years and guided the store to two regional awards for customer service. Faisal looks to apply his vast experience in business acumen, operations and leadership in order to support continuous growth in the Coles County Region through Elevate.
Faisal is also pursuing a graduate degree in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at EIU. He hopes that his role at the center will provide the, “ability to create a difference within the community where members can grow and develop as people while also giving back to their community.”
Dallas Jones Elevate CCIC, Inc, Marketing Director
Dallas Jones is the Marketing Director at Elevate. His responsibilities include writing articles for our website, managing social media, organizing events and anything else related to sharing our resources with as many people as we can.
Dallas was initially hired as an intern in February of 2020. When he took the position, the center was under construction and looking to develop itself within the Coles County community. He says he has been proud to see Elevate grow from an idea to a resource.
Once the center transitioned from construction to operation, Dallas was offered an official role with the organization. When asked about his time working in the center he says, “I am grateful for the opportunity to work in an organization that truly benefits people in the place I live.” Elevate looks to continue benefiting entrepreneurs in the Coles Country Area for years to come.
Starting your own business is an exciting and fulfilling experience. At our center, we often meet with individuals who have experienced a career working for someone else and want something new.
Owning a business requires a dedicated willingness to work hard, a sense of adventure and time. Our center specializes in assisting customers who have the will to start their own organization, all of the way from start to finish. Those who have benefited from the resources we provide have shared a portion of the greatest reasons they enjoy being their own boss.
Perhaps the most common reason community members go into business for themselves relates to the sense of purpose associated with creating a new organization. Creating a company is a blank canvas where innovators sculpt something brand new that reflects their interest or hobbies.
and all things streaming through his own media production company. His mission is to “help small podcasters and video streamers promote their content and achieve a sustainable living while doing so.”
As a business owner, Keegan has the opportunity to assist creators like himself express themselves in an artistic way via podcasting and streaming. His talents are so valuable that he was offered a position at Elevate in which he guides individuals through the process of creating their own podcast using our in house broadcasting room.
For parents and anyone else with a hectic schedule, one of the best attributes present in entrepreneurship is the opportunity to mold a work schedule and environment which better suits your needs.
Russ Forstall began his software development company, ‘Slash Pine Tech’, with the intentions of spending more time with his family. “My kids are still young and I want to be able to spend more time with them”, Russ said when speaking about the jump from working for an agency to working for himself.
Russ Forstall, owner of Slash Pine Tech
Russ’s sentiment is one shared by every parent. Most fathers and mothers wish to have the ability to spend more time with their kids. Russ has been able to travel the country with his family as a result of taking the leap into entrepreneurship.
2. Improve Your Community-
Small businesses are the backbone of rural communities such as Coles County. Each business is an unique opportunity to provide a service, product or resource that is missing.
Amy Patrick, owner of ‘Amy Patrick Life and Wellness, LLC.’ provides courses meant to focus clients on leading a more balanced life using values suggested by the National Wellness Institute. Amy Patrick Life and Wellness, LLC. looks to guide students to focus on positive qualities and strengths, leading to whole-life balance.
Amy Patrick, Owner of Amy Patrick Life and Wellness LLC.
Amy Patrick is the first graduate of Elevate’s ‘Six Step Program’, a resource available for any business minded individual to learn all the skills necessary to begin operation.
1. Make Money for Yourself-
Any article about starting a business would be incomplete without touching on the subject of profits. Ultimately, starting a business grants entrepreneurs the opportunity to collect the resources made available by their skills and knowledge.
One member of Elevate has done particularly well during the last year. Ryan Hayden, Director of ‘Row and Table’ (a software development firm) has seen significant growth over the last year. He says the company he founded went from making $50,000 in profits in 2019 to $50,000 a month in 2020.
Ryan Hayden, Founder of Row & Table
While not every new business owner can expect to see profits in the same amounts as Ryan sees, they can expect to see the fruits of their labor contribute to their own paycheck, opposed to that of their boss.