Home » Black Business Owners | Leading the Way for Change in Loudoun
Black businesses have played a profound role in shaping the United States. The movement to support black businesses and entrepreneurs, as a means to combat racial injustices, has gone viral on social media with hashtags, documents, groups, and consumer apps seeing their highest rate of traffic to date. Although this is not a new phenomenon, the internet has provided a means to share the stories in real- time with the world.
In Loudoun County, four savvy businesswomen have created the Black Business Empowerment Committee (BBEC) in the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. Carmen Felder (Chair), Vanessa Maddox (Vice-Chair), Nicole Nixon, and Ashley “A.J.” Jones have come together to discuss solutions to some of the underlying challenges driving inequality of opportunity for Black Americans, including employment and entrepreneurship.
The mission of the BBEC is dedicated to advocating, uplifting, and promoting the economic growth and development of black businesses in Loudoun County. The BBEC will offer classes, networking events, and a directory for black-owned businesses.
Carmen Felder is a United States Air Force Disabled Veteran, single mother, and Loudoun County Native. She has a handsome and intelligent son (15) who aspires to be the President of the United States in 2040. Carmen enjoys social outings and supporting local restaurants and wineries. Her ultimate goal is to create an everlasting footprint in the world.
(Authentic Connections, 89 Ways to Give, Socialites of Loudoun & Black Businesses of DMV) Ms. Felder’s firm encompasses public relations, business management, and events. Carmen is excited about making a difference in the Black Business Community and wants to hopefully balance out the huge difference between Black Businesses vs. White Businesses and help create ancestral wealth for Black Businesses and their families.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
— Martin Luther King
Vanessa Maddox is a proud Mom, wife, business owner, community builder, and master connector. She was the first Black woman to be elected to serve on the Leesburg Town Council. Vanessa is a music fan and loves comedy as well.
(V.R. Maddox Consulting LLC and Black Wall Street: Loudoun)
Mrs. Maddox’s boutique consulting firm specializes in recruiting, social media education, confidence coaching, and learning & development for small to medium businesses. As the vice-chair, Vanessa stated that the committee is a vehicle to help us serve the business community and lead by example by projecting unity and leadership amongst our peers. Vanessa’s goals include making the BBEC the largest and most influential committee within the Chamber and, in the long term, dissolve the need for the BBEC
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
— Peter Drucker
“There’s a special place in hell for women that don’t help other women.”
— Secretary Madeleine Albright
Nicole Nixon is the wife of a U.S. Navy Veteran, mother of five, and owner of two data technology companies. She was raised by a single father to three girls in Talbot County, MD. Nicole has been a proud resident of Loudoun County for 15 years.
(Listing Central LLC and Global Digital Underground Railroad)
Mrs. Nixon’s data technology companies manage telecom subscriber data across the United States & Canada and connect individuals to businesses, and resources to information, across the country. Nicole anticipates bringing a collective awareness of how every business can win when working together. She desires the connection of business owners who can share experiences, discuss challenges, and collectively find solutions.
“Flex Purpose, Not Power.”
— Kevin Liles
AJ Jones is a U.S. Army (Ret.) Disabled Veteran and single mother of one son (Prince, 18) who is a freshman at Morehouse College. Ms. Jones is a sommelier, freelance writer, and blogger who loves to travel and meet new people.
(A.J.’s Tasting Room LLC)
A.J.’s Tasting Room conducts reviews of wineries, breweries, and distilleries, providing in-depth information for not only Loudoun residents, but visitors as well. Ms. Jones is honored that she was chosen to be one of the founding members for the BBEC and is excited to begin work that is long overdue. The BBEC will allow her to give back to the community as a black business owner. A.J. seeks to aid others through education and networking to facilitate a foundation in Loudoun. Ms. Jones wants the community of Loudoun to help black-owned businesses.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
– President Barack Obama.
Photos By A.Sample Photography
AJ JONES is the owner of AJ’s Tasting Room which conducts FaceBook based reviews on local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. In the spring of 2019, AJ’s Tasting Room is expanding to include customized, luxury tours of Virginia’s wine country, breweries, and distilleries.