Interview With Carla Ladd of Denver Black Pages
Explain what you do?
I am the CEO of Innovative Internet Marketing Solutions (IIMS, L.L.C.), a black, woman-owned company established in 2002. We are the publisher of the DenverBlackPages.com, the Denver Little Black Book (print publication), Strictly Bizness Nite, and the Mountain Region Black Economic Summit (Success Summit).
Our mission is (1) to provide a simple, easy to use, and user-friendly place for users to discover places to visit, play, and eat, black business, and night life in the Metro Denver. (2) to empower Colorado’s Black businesses by providing a comprehensive tool by which to market their products and services to a targeted audience. (3) to be the Internet marketing tool of choice for Colorado’s County, City and State Organizations and Corporations that desire to connect with Colorado’s Black residents, visitors, and businesses.
Why do you do what you do?
Entrepreneurship is my passion! My father was an entrepreneur and so was his father. My maternal grandmother was an entrepreneur and so was her grandmother so, it’s truly in my blood. I developed a heart for entrepreneurs after watching my father struggle because of lack of familial and community support. He didn’t have access to the resources he needed for success. He never realized his full potential and it broke his spirit. That’s the main reason that I do what I do to help other entrepreneurs maximize their success.
How did you get started?
I relocated to Colorado in September 1996 when I took a Systems Engineering position with Lockheed Martin. After acclimating to marriage and getting my bearings somewhat, I felt the need to connect to the Black Community. There is no geographical “Black Community” anymore, so with the exception of church, I saw very few of “us.” I realized that although there were several minority print publications, there was no onlinepublication that could point me to things to do, places to visit and black businesses to patronize. So, I started the DenverBlackPages.com. Strictly Bizness Nite, the MRBES Success Summit and the Denver Little Black Books are byproducts of the DenverBlackPages.com.
What are some exciting moments (Past, current, future)?
There have been several exciting moments, but the first that comes to mind is our first Strictly Bizness Networking Nite. During one of our strategic planning sessions, our Advisory Board came up with the idea of introducing myself to the community by hosting a networking event. They felt that the community needed to know who was really behind the DenverBlackPages.com. I was perfectly content staying behind the computer, so the thought of hosting an event in person both excited and TERRIFIED me. What makes Strictly Bizness Nite different is that it’s all about business. We hosted themed events designed to not only network, but provide critical information and education for business success.
Another exciting moment was the first MRBES Success Summit. It was exciting to see how excited the community was to have such an event here in the metro area. We brought in big name keynote speakers and content business, professional and leadership success.
One piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
(1) Excellence isn’t perfection. Jesus is the only perfect One, but we can do our best with prayer, preparation and perseverance.
(2) Failure isn’t fatal unless you haven’t learned from your mistakes or missteps.
(3) Don’t take it personally. Take criticism in the spirit it’s given. If it’s mean spirited, shake it off. If it’s from someone you know and trust, take what you need, make the adjustment and grow from it. Don’t get bitter, get better!