Total loan: $10,000


New York, NY, United States / Services

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A loan helped a female entrepreneur to grow her food and cultural tour business, building community in Harlem.

Jacqueline's story

I am a native Chicagoan. I am the only child of my mother. My maternal grandmother raised me because my mother was always working. I was the oldest grandchild which came with lots of responsibility. My grandmother was the local babysitter and I was her assistant. Therefore, I was not your typical only child. I had so many chores. There were times when I had as many as eight little kids following me to and from school each day. I went to private school from kindergarten to 12th grade. I completed my bachelors degree at Chicago State University. I had a variety of jobs throughout my life however I spent ten years in banking with First Chicago Bank, Bank One, and JP Morgan Chase. I began as a Group Division Assistant and was promoted to Relationship Manager, where I honed my skills in customer service, cash management, and sales. Starting in 1991, I worked in Chicago for six years as a Sales Coordinator and Trainer for the Sara Lee Hosiery company in the Hanes/Donna Karan Division. In this position I worked with store managers and sales associates on promoting and selling the brand, introduced new products, researched competitive data and developed marketing strategies. This lead to a position with Levi Strauss & Co. as a National Account Coordinator, where I provided sales support and training to employees on a national level, developed the cost center budget for the Chicago Regional Sales office, and worked closely with both the sales force and vendors. Additionally, I was involved with the Art and Cultural Affairs Committee as Chairperson for the Mid-South Planning and Development Commission in Chicago, as well as independently growing the St. Sabina Church Bookstore from a single table operation into a full-fledged Christian bookstore. With the creation of Taste Harlem, I feel as if I’ve been able to incorporate all my past experiences—from creating a financially viable business, to developing my own sales and marketing programs, to researching the latest happenings in Harlem. Of course, what matters most to me is spending time with people, sharing something I love—great food, inspiring music, art, and a living history.