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Celebrating Diverse Voices Town Hall with Alexis Wiley, Moment Strategies and Sommer Woods, Woods Watts

The fourth installment of the Chamber’s Celebrating Diverse Voices Town Hall series delved into how to chart unique entrepreneurial paths. Speakers Alexis Wiley, founder, and principal of Moment Strategies, and Sommer Woods, owner and chief architect of Solution Architects and partner at Woods Watts Effect, both have a background in news media, government, and corporate and community relations. They spoke about their unique career paths, lessons learned in leadership, and the people and projects that have left a lasting impression.

Status of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in the City

The Metro Detroit area has a big community of different businesses and is a hub for Black entrepreneurs. With the COVID-19 pandemic, entrepreneurs are being tested and having to manage the new normal. Learning how to use resources and other nontraditional avenues to keep business going has been something every entrepreneur has had to deal with.

Both Wiley and Woods agree that this moment has made people think through the next steps and even people who work 9 to 5, there thinking to take advantage of this moment to pursue a passion.

“When you think about all the different channels and the fact that things have been so decentralized, and we have all found new ways to do things that presents a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs and people that are thinking how I do this in a way that serves my better good” says Wiley. “It’s a tough time but a really exciting one.”

Different resources are available to a wide range of people that make this market so special. “That’s one of the beautiful things about the fabric of the city, is we have so many talented entrepreneurs and business owners that will be able to bounce back and really come back into the fold of who we truly are.” said Woods.

Pivoting Careers

Both ladies spent time in different industries before becoming entrepreneurs and that contributed to their transition to having a desire to learn, specialize, and expand themselves.

“I do think that that’s half the battle of being successful to be able to take that risk. Because if you can’t bet on yourself, who can you bet on? A lot of us are fulfilling other people’s dreams.” said Woods.

When changing career paths, it’s okay to feel hesitant or scared of what’s next and the pressures to get things right. Woods encourages people to “not allow the idea that everything has to be perfect. Because when things do not go right, it’s absolutely okay. The only thing you have to do, is continue to keep going, keep getting up, keep moving, and really make sure that you got a sense of what your North Star is, what’s guiding you as you move.”

Woods started her entrepreneur journey in 2006 and did not realize at the time where she would end up in the entrepreneurial space. She reminds anyone starting their venture to “keep moving, keep growing, and then you’re able to prosper into a much bigger thing than you thought you were capable of.”