It All Started With a Trip To The Emergency Room...
LaDawn Townsend, CEO & Founder
I’m LaDawn Townsend. The last strategist you will ever have to hire.
I was an Executive in Corporate America for over twenty years.
And, then the day I was carried out of my office on a stretcher and into an Ambulance everything changed for me.
I had a decision to make.
It was time to redefine what it meant to be a leader.
The reality became even more real as I laid on the Emergency Room bed hooked up to machines that monitored my vitals, all humming along like a finely tuned orchestra, all I thought to myself was “this is not the career I signed up for”
And, where do I go from here …
I decided that it was possible to be a leader and not live a life of high stress and anxiety.
How was I to share this methodology with others?
The answer was clear and that was to start my own business.
It would be years before I made the move and it wasn’t a self-guided leap it was a push out of the land of a comfortable addiction to the bi-weekly direct deposit payroll check and into the unknown land of entrepreneurship.
Behind the Scenes: The early years of building the VOS Group came with great courage and persistence. In this picture I’m speaking at my first engagement post lay-off, one that I anticipated to have 200 people. What was the turnout? A handful of people, including myself and a few children.
Entrepreneurship isn’t sexy it is about consistent, strategic work and holding to the vision you have for your company.
The day the layoff happened was one of the best gifts of my life...
“LaDawn, we have to let you go”
Sounds shocking, doesn’t it? But, wait there is more.
“We have to let go of your position, your managers, and your colleagues”
That was the call that I received in November 2014 that ended my twenty-year career in Corporate America. It is the call that no one wants to receive but I took the opportunity to start a new chapter in my professional career to start my own business.
It sounds like it would all be successful from the beginning right? An Executive that comes from a family-owned business, gets laid off and makes her business a winning success?
Not in the least bit.
After being laid off I gave my business a full force best effort to make it profitable while attempting to get funding and fell face first into opportunities for growth as a leader.
The first opportunity was receiving 35 rejection letters from banks in under 6 months in my attempt to get funding.
The second rejection was that no one seemed interested in my consulting services.
Here came the next decision to make. Do I give up or do I press ahead?
I pressed onward embracing the darkness of the unknown.
Behind the Scenes: A business requires funding to grow, this reality set in quickly after being declined for funding over 30 times. My road to funding my business took a different route and that was leaving family, friends, and home to move to a new state for a job with the most innovative technology company on the planet. As I supported international teams 60 hours a week I prospected for new business and worked with clients in every available hour I could.
Passion will only take you so far. Dedication and discipline will take you all the way.
The road to building a business
After surviving the wake-up ambulance ride of a lifetime I decided to stay committed to what I knew could help leaders transform their companies.
However, to do this I needed funding for my business because I quickly learned that being an executive was one thing but leading a successful company is very different.
What I did next took great courage, discipline, and a decision to not allow ego to get in the way of my success.
I went back to Corporate America.
But this time it was different.
I committed myself to build the leadership discipline I needed to do whatever was needed to be done to get my business off the ground. It called for late nights, early mornings, very little downtime with family & friends, and a move to an entirely different state just to find a job.
I was willing to make these sacrifices because of the vow I made in the hospital years before and that was to never allow the circumstances around me to interrupt not only my life but my health ever again.
Behind the Scenes: Filming promotional videos for VOS in London
Behind the Scenes: Giving back to the local community & speaking to a Business Administration class at Westwood College
Behind the Scenes: Business Accelerator Summit at Sole on the Ocean, Sunny Isles, Florida
Hosting live events & VOS University launch
The day I found myself staring at the Emergency Room ceiling is always a day that remains with me. It was the catalyst to push me out of my comfort zone and into the world of the unknown, a road I never regret taking.
As my business started to grow it became clear that what leaders needed more than strategy was community and to step away from the day-to-day business to refresh and reset.
Hosting live events and retreats for our clients is a part of the secret sauce of how we transform companies.
To better support our clients we also launched VOS University a online resource with courses designed for for Founders, Senior Executives and their teams.
To learn more visit www.vosuniversity.com
Behind the Scenes: First business trip to India to work with clients. An amazing city bursting with massive potential and growth in the coming years.
Market Expansion & international stages
VOS has grown from a bootstrapped women and minority owned firm to now having corporate clients around the globe.
Our core business beliefs is that ‘business can be a force for good’ and we are honored to work with global brands to help them with this mission.
Along the journey has also brought opportunities to serve emerging markets with business training for small business owners in underserved communities.
Behind the Scenes: Strategy Workshop in New York with VIP Clients BVLGARI.
Behind the Scenes: Workshop facilitator at the Timeless Women’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya
Launching luxury experiences
Since the start of the VOS Group in 2014 sharing our business beliefs and methodology for companies to lead from a direction of purpose driven profitability has been our mission and delivering this message in a video format is our anchor.
In 2020 we enhanced that experience for our community by launching VOS News Network on Youtube with over 100 videos including guest expert interviews, podcast and virtual events for our audience.
To view the full channel lineup click here
To also provide a heightened experience for our clients VOS has announced our enhanced advisory services, the ultimate experience for discerning executive complete with private support and international retreats.