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WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS


LAILA ALI - Founder,


Laila by Laila Ali T


here are two things about me that have remained consis- tent, even as I’ve gotten older: I’ve always possessed an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’ve always wanted to help others reach their potential. As a young girl, I thought I could do anything and be anyone that I wanted to. I credit my parents for instilling this quality in me. My father led by example, while my mother always encouraged me to do my best. They empowered me, which is why I believe I am a confident person today.


From the time I was young, I wanted to find a way to earn


my own money so I could assert my independence. My first business venture began when I graduated high school and I decided I wanted to own my own nail salon. I became a li- censed manicurist and started my own successful business. As I’ve grown older, those lessons I learned at a young age have served me well into adulthood. I have also always wanted to help other women find that


inner spark to be their best. I regularly give talks to young girls about respecting themselves and making good decisions. I love to provide tips on how to eat healthy and take care of your body, and share expertise on haircare and make-up trends that help us look and feel our best. I have always wanted to be a strong role model for women to show them it doesn’t matter how people define us, with the right amount of determination, we can do anything we put our minds to. From becoming a champion boxer, to becoming a business-savvy entrepreneur – it is all within our reach when we stop putting limits on our potential. The three things to keep in mind if you want to start your own business: Be persistent. Never give up when someone tells you no. It


took me years to finally have the right idea hit at the right time. Many “so called experts” told me that there isn’t a market for ethnic products, even though I knew that it was the fastest ris- ing segment in the personal care category. They told me there isn’t a need for what I’m trying to develop and sell. I never let that deter me from my ultimate goal. Have a great team of people around you. I have a team


around me that believes in me and my brand. They are out there every day working on my behalf. Also, it’s impossible to know everything. You need a team of lawyers, publicists, mar- keting experts, etc. to help you along the way. Make sure the team you have involved in your business protects you and your interests. Learn from people who have had success before you. Nev- er be too proud to get advice from experts who have done what


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you are trying to do. If you don’t know someone personally in your field, go to a book store and read as much as you can. We need to empower each other. I want to see other women take a chance to reach their goals and find success. If one piece of ad- vice I offer helps them get there, it makes me feel great. Laila Ali, an athlete and champion of health and fitness, is a


perfect role model for today’s healthy, on-the-go woman. The youngest daughter of Veronica Porsche Anderson, and of the leg- endary Muhammad Ali, she is a strong, intelligent, woman, daughter, and wife. She is also an entrepreneur. Laila’s personal background as a licensed manicurist, and her past work with skin care companies, has led Laila to launch her own line of beauty and personal care products, “Laila by Laila Ali”. Learn more about Laila Ali at www.lailaali.com


CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF DIVERSITY PROFESSIONAL WOMAN’S MULTICULTURAL MAGAZINE 67


Photo credit: Matthew Smith


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