Sandra J. Pennecke The Virginian-Pilot
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Tanita Brinkley is the founder of "Tanita Brinkley Enterprises" which provides accounting services including bookkeeping, payroll, budgeting, business formation and taxes for small businesses." She is sharing her journey with other women hoping to launch businesses at the "Secure The Bag Conference" next Tuesday.
Tanita Brinkley wanted to create a platform for others to feel inspired and motivated to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship.
The Norfolk business owner will host the second annual Secure the Bag Conference on Oct. 9 at the Chesapeake Conference Center to help people learn what it takes to launch a business while connecting with others on the entrepreneurial path.
A panel discussion will explore the journeys of 10 men and 10 women, all seasoned and successful Hampton Roads entrepreneurs. Yandy Smith-Harris, a reality TV star and entrepreneur is the keynote speaker.
“Each entrepreneur will come with their tips and tactics to how they achieved their own success,” Brinkley said.
Fashion designer Luqman Haskett Sr., known professionally as Dapper Luq, is one of the panelists. He said he plans to share how he paved his way in the industry.
“I just want everybody to understand it’s a process and it takes commitment,” he said.
It took Haskett six years from the introduction of his brand to its launch. He said the younger generation often has a microwave mindset of immediate success and instant gratification, but he wants them to realize that anything in business takes time to learn the process and truly understand it.
Brinkley, a New York City native, understands all too well the time it took to get to where she is today. She worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for five years before she moved to Hampton Roads in 2008 and transitioned to the accounting department for Eastern Virginia Medical School. In 2010, she became a full-time entrepreneur.
Through her experience with one of the big four accounting firms to private sector work and the establishment of her own business where she helps small-business owners, Brinkley has learned a lot. “It’s a passion of mine to help small businesses and I think when passion meets professionalism, it’s the best experience because you have a person that actually cares,” she said. “I do what I do every day because I love it.”
Working with a local church opened doors for her as a business consultant.
“I helped them do quite a few significant things on their finances — getting caught up with taxes, preparing financial statements and helping them through bank loans,” she said. “And through the success of that, it built my confidence to work with more.”
Switching gears from the nonprofit sector, Brinkley began to connect with small businesses. She walked door to door, shook hands and offered free budget seminars for business owners.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to get my name out there,” Brinkley said. “That’s what helped to bring more awareness to my services.”
Today, she employs a staff of three at her newly acquired brick-and-mortar business on North Military Highway in Norfolk. Tanita Brinkley Enterprises provides accounting services including bookkeeping, payroll, budgeting, business formation and taxes for small businesses.
“I just love the aftermath of good networking,” she said.
And Brinkley said the motto she lives by, “lifting as we climb,” shows the importance of teaching others how to achieve their goals and avoid common pitfalls as her career advances. That’s also the aim of the conference.
Vickayla Pope, associate broker at Prodigy Realty in Virginia Beach and founder of the Mini Millionaire Moguls, a foundation that focuses on teaching today’s youth to be the wealthiest generation of tomorrow, is one of the conference vendors. “We bring in entrepreneurs to speak to the kids … we basically try to stretch their minds to show them there are different routes,” Pope said.
The Secure the Bag Conference will include music, food, vendors, photo booths, prizes and a cash bar. General admission tickets cost $150. They can be purchased at securethebagconference.com/tickets by Oct. 5.
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