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Inspiring Female Founder Spotlight: Monica McCoy

Monica McCoy is the founder and CEO of Monica Motivates LLC (www.monicamotivates.com), a woman-owned, Black-owned business that offers education and consulting services to women and underrepresented entrepreneurs, corporations, and non-profit organisations. Monica and her team work to close the opportunity gap created due to lack of education, resources, and funding in underrepresented communities. The trademarked programs have garnered national attention and resulted in measurable success for organisations, and for participants who have launched, grown, and scaled their businesses.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

Born and raised in Atlanta and a graduate of Emory University, I joined The Coca-Cola Company at its international headquarters after college. I enjoyed a thriving career with 12 promotions in 15 years and concluded my career there as Acting Global Director, Strategy and Innovation, McDonald’s Division.

I founded my business in 2017 based on the belief that an organisation’s greatest capacity is its people, and with the determination to close the opportunity gap experienced by women and people of colour, drive greater economic inclusion globally and maximise employee and supplier contributions to drive stronger organisation results.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I founded Monica Motivates because I saw so much untapped potential in other women and underrepresented people, like me, who had more to contribute but were often overlooked in traditional channels of development and advancement. Starting this business allowed me to pivot to my purpose and greater realisation of my potential.

How did you achieve awareness?

I leaned into my robust professional network to spread word of my new venture. Our organisation also shares meaningful content through LinkedIn and other platforms to acquaint people with our unique value.

I also invest significant time connecting with potential clients and that has driven brand traction. With our small team, we organised the first Monica Motivates Global Supplier Diversity Conference (GSDC) that, over time, attracted the attention of major companies.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

I made the strategic choice to bootstrap my business and own 100% of my business. I slowly secure customers and revenue at a pace to not scale beyond our means. Monica Motivates also won a $25,000 grant as an AMEX 100 for 100 Founder of Change and secured non-dilutive funding to aid small businesses during the pandemic.

What are the key successes?

I’m most proud of how the Monica Motivates team works together to drive change. We are a diverse group of entrepreneurs, educators, artists, engineers, designers, women and men, and people of varied races, ethnicities and backgrounds committed to helping all people increase their capacity to contribute.  

It is also rewarding to see women we’ve coached make bold moves in their careers and business owners land major contracts due to our supplier diversity training.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

I’ve experienced ten failures for every big win. I celebrate failures because I consistently learn so much more from those than from successes. The key is disciplining myself to view trial and error as feedback and to prepare for failure by thinking about how we will counter setbacks when they inevitably come. Failure becomes learning that accelerates progress.    

I also tried to do everything myself at first to avoid incurring expenses. Then I did the cost-benefit analysis and realised I would never grow my business if I spent all my time scheduling meetings, answering emails and creating documents.

What are your plans now/for the future?

I’m excited about our global expansion through our Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Business Unit. We now have offices in London, Australia, South Carolina and Alabama, to complement our Atlanta headquarters. I had not anticipated this growth so early, but I’m encouraged to see more doors opening for people who haven’t been at the table before. We are committed to preparing individuals and organisations to make the most of these opportunities.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

The urge to launch your own business comes from deep inside. But potential entrepreneurs, especially women and people of colour, need to know the obstacles. Women-owned businesses receive less investment funding, have a harder time getting loans, pitch their businesses less often and can even see their technical expertise questioned more than male business owners.

In my experience (research confirms this) successful entrepreneurs like to make their own decisions, enjoy competition, have the physical stamina to work long days, are prepared to lose money in the short run, are self-disciplined, plan ahead, are willing to sacrifice in the short term and can handle significant pressures.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

The more I progress in building Monica Motivates into a global consultancy, the more I respect flexibility and adaptability. Establishing a clear direction, and setting goals in concert with that, is foundational. But once the journey begins, you need to be ready to pivot. I constantly encounter unexpected obstacles and opportunities; the power comes in striking a balance between sheer persistence and creative adaptability. I call that goal “fluidity.”  

You also must understand basic financial statements.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why? 

My mother and grandmother top the list. These smart women modelled courage, kindness, and boldness, and encouraged me to dream big with them in my corner. I’m also inspired by Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens and Thasunda Brown Duckett, President and CEO of TIAA; two Black women Fortune 500 CEOs. They show us what’s possible.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Faith plays a big role in my life and especially a Bible verse from Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to give you hope and a future.” When I act in concert with my purpose and goals, I trust I’ll head in the right direction.

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you? 

Monica McCoy LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monicamotivates

Monica Motivates LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/monica-motivates