Rashada LeRoy: Born Entrepreneur
by Natalie Frank
Rashada LeRoy was born into a family of entrepreneurs. Her grandfather Walter LeRoy founded e New American Press, her great uncle Admiral LeRoy founded OutFront Magazine, and her mother, Angelena Wheat, was the first black woman to launch a newspaper in Dothan, Ala. Now, Rashada LeRoy is the founder and CEO of LRY Media Group in Birmingham, Ala.
“I do believe I was born an entrepreneur,” LeRoy said.
LeRoy was born and raised in Dothan, Ala. She attended the University of Alabama and received a degree in Management Information Systems. After graduating college, LeRoy moved to Birmingham where she worked as a computer programmer.
“In 2006, the entrepreneurial part of my DNA kicked in, and I started my first business, a fashion and lifestyle magazine called Upgrade,” LeRoy said.
Her fashion and lifestyle magazine was just the catalyst to her bigger entrepreneurial goals. During her time at the magazine, LeRoy learned how to use events and experiences to promote the magazine and the value of building and cultivating relationships.
Rashada LeRoy, Founder and CEO of LRY Media Group
"The magazine was a very exciting venture." LeRoy Explained.
Through networking, building key relationships and cultivating her event planning skills, LeRoy was able to land her dream job of producing events.
“I got a chance to really hone my skills in an environment that provided me with structure and mentors,” LeRoy said.
About a decade later her first entrepreneurial adventure, LeRoy let her dream job in events production to start LRY Media Group, a full service event and experiential agency. But being the founder and CEO of a company is no easy feat.
LeRoy starts her mornings early to catch up on news and stay up-to date on current events. She is always mindful of emails and her calendar to ensure all projects are on track. As CEO, LeRoy is organized and runs a tight ship!
LeRoy’s job is more than just strategy and planning. Her clients expect creativity and ingenuity when they entrust her with their events. So just what inspires LeRoy? She garners her inspiration from people, other businesses and, much closer to home, her mother. As a black woman, LeRoy recognizes the strength and beauty of all black women, and she admires and respects that strength and beauty.
“The energy and the spirit that we [black women] bring to everyday life is amazing,” LeRoy said. “In a world where, oftentimes, we don’t get the support we need, it is inspiring to watch us do so much with so little.”
Despite the current political climate, from 2007 to 2018, the number of firms owned by black women grew by a stunning 164 percent, and in 2018 there were 2.4 million African American women owned businesses, according to forbes.com. Also, black women are the only racial or ethnic group with more business ownership than their male peers, according to the Federal Reserve.
LeRoy uses her success and status to mentor and help other black female entrepreneurs be successful.
“I believe in giving back and sharing as much knowledge as I possibly can to help our communities build wealth,” LeRoy said. “If I have gotten to the height of my success, and I didn’t bring as many people with me as possible, then I didn’t do what God called me to do.”
LeRoy found her calling in life as an entrepreneur. She says that being a businesswoman is one of the most extraordinary experiences she has ever had. However, the path to success was not always so smooth.
“When I started the magazine, I really had no clue what I was doing, LeRoy explained. “My magazine failed after six years of business.”
LeRoy realized that entrepreneurship is not only about starting a business, but it is also about how you sustain and grow that business. She started LRY Media Group about seven years after her first entrepreneurial endeavor failed.
“When I made the decision to start another business, I was mentally in a place where I was ready for whatever the road ahead would be,” she said. “I overcame by just believing that I could be successful a second time, and I was equipped with what I needed to be successful.”
LRY Media Group has been going strong for about three years now. LeRoy’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and always open to give advice.
“Identify what you’re passionate about and then use that to decide what type of business you want to start,” LeRoy said. “As a business owner you can go as far as you will allow yourself, so don’t put any limits around your ideas or your abilities.”