Our world has seen a boom in startups over the past two years as many workers were laid off during the pandemic. In the ever-growing entrepreneurial space, Syracuse is home to some of the best and brightest. For Nikki R. Jones, serving as a conduit for the dreams and aspirations of her clients is a way to facilitate continued growth for Black individuals in this sector.
Jones, a Syracuse native and owner of NRJ Consulting, describes her work in almost melodic terms.
“I write words that whisper in the ears of my clients,” Jones said.
Using almost 15 years of experience as a communications expert and strategist, Jones reinforces her clients’ brands and helps them achieve systematic goals to help them grow. For example, Jones will often provide content planning for businesses in order to help them connect with their respective audiences.
“It’s a lot of strategizing, and sometimes I execute it as well,” said Jones. “I want to encourage other Black people in my community to realize and achieve what is possible for them when it comes to business.”
It was this comprehensive vision that led Jones to spearhead a virtual training for Black women in business in an effort to provide resources, networking opportunities, and educational workshops. As an independent business owner herself, Jones realized the importance of imparting encouragement and support for Black women interested in business ownership.
“Being able to share with other people of color the information I have, it’s priceless,” she said. “Even if it’s something outside of my standard businesses offerings.”
Jones often provides advice and resources in various topics ranging from intricacies of interpersonal communication to the lessons she learned from a book she’s reading. Everything Jones does is with the intention of reinforcing a dream she has had since becoming an independent entrepreneur:
“I want to be a role model for others looking to grow personally and professionally,“ said Jones. “I’m always thinking of more guidance to impress upon young, black girls [and women]?”
Jones received a $10,000 grant from our Black Equity and Excellence Fund to support her virtual training that will consist of three workshops over the course of 10 days. Participants will leave the training equipped with actionable steps to help move their businesses forward.
Mariama McClain, a licensed and independent financial consultant, participated in the training and learned how to build her website and elevate her communication strategy with her financial clients. Like Jones, she works to make a difference in her community.
“I know what I offer, and I know the need, but the challenge is making sure the people in need of those services understand that as well,” said McClain. “That’s where the training really provided value to my business.”
She went on to explain that the training not only imparted crucial skills, but was enjoyable and fun to attend due to Jones’ approachable nature. She highlighted the importance of the work, and the ease of applying it to her business