This Entrepreneur is Revolutionizing the Nonprofit Sector through Social Entrepreneurship
In the series, “Building a Business: Conversations with Entrepreneurs,” with Dr. Corinthia Price, CEO and Founder of Workforce Career Readiness™ Dr. Price shares the life-lessons of entrepreneurs. I asked them a variety of questions about success, advocacy, work-life balance, philanthropy, and anything else in between.
I recently spoke to Jerri Rosen, Founder and CEO of Working Wardrobes. Working Wardrobes a full-service career development center that helps men, women, veterans and young adults in crises re-enter the workforce. She is the host of the award-winning cable TV show Working Wardrobes. Jerri has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship. She has a wealth of knowledge and insights of business development and marketing. Jerri is truly a unsung mentor for women in business. In this interview, Jerri talks about businesses having a Plan B and having multiple source of income.
How did Working Wardrobes get started?
This organization started by accident. A happy accident though. It started out as just a one-time event to help survivors of domestic violence. We hosted the first ever “Day of Self-EsteemTM,” which served 67 women from six shelters. This event became the launching pad for Working Wardrobes. There's something incredibly exciting about being hands on and helping someone change their life. It was just so inspiring and motivational that everybody just said let's just do that again. Here 28 years later we have enhanced and added new programs and initiatives.
What are the greatest challenges you face with Working Wardrobes?
For one, do I have the right people working within the organization? The bigger we get the more we have to do so to serve more people. There's a constant need to make sure that we're going to do all that we can to serve as many as we can. You have to have the right staff in place to make sure they are following the mission of the organization.
What was the most important part of your business journey?
Understanding that businesses need multiple sources of income. Learning this concept is a great way to build a business.
Explain multiple sources of income.
Working wardrobe has several sources of income. First, we have five resale stores that contribute 55% of our revenue. Second, we receive funding through grants. Third, we have fees for some of our services which bring in more earned income. As a nonprofit we have several fundraisers, corporate sponsorships, and individual donors. Being social entrepreneurs having 45 percent of our revenue coming from the businesses we conduct is really substantial.
Do you think today businesses understand the concept of multiple source of income?
I think that businesses that are successful definitely understand the concept. When I had my own ad agency I had a really big piece of business initially. But I realize I've got to grow and get more clients because if this piece of business evaporates there's nothing left. You have to keep the pipeline filled constantly. This is an important business concept.
What have you learned this year that was a surprise to you?
Have a Plan B in place. Whether it's for a program that doesn't quite get off the ground on time or an event that has fallen short of its goal, you’ve got to have a back-up plan. It’s absolutely critical that every CEO has to have a Plan B and C. You really have to be flexible enough to take a look at the bigger picture and not get into paralysis because something doesn't come together.
What will be your legacy?
1. Having created an organization that has had a positive reputation in the community.
2. The dignity of work. All types of jobs are respected equally and no profession is considered superior.
Dr. Corinthia Price is the CEO and Founder of Workforce Career Readiness™. She is an international entrepreneurship advisor and workforce development analyst. Dr. Price is an award honoree of “Long Island’s Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business” for 2018!