30 year old Dr. Lana Joseph, started High Level Speech & Hearing Center approximately six months after graduating from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. This was more than a business for her, this was a personal mission. “As a child, I suffered with both speech and hearing disorders, however, I did not receive early intervention. As a result of this, I was bullied and faced decreased confidence and social isolation for several years. At the age of 12 years old, I finally received assistance through Jefferson Parish. This assistance was in the form of speech therapy. It only took 3 months of therapy to foster improvement for a problem I suffered with for over 8 years. I didn’t want to see other children go through this. Because of my experience, I vowed to become a Doctor for the hearing impaired so that I could work with children and adults who have speech and hearing disorders.”
Q: What did you do before you started your business?
Prior to beginning my medical school program, I had received my Masters Degree in Health Care Management and worked at several companies as a business consultant including the Office of Public Health, Lower Nine Health Clinic, and Tulane University. I completed my 1 year residency at a very successful 4 clinic practice in Atlanta, GA; worked at Audibel and Children’s Hospital for approximately 4 months and opened my practice on Martin Luther King Day of the following year, January 18, 2016.
Q: What types of services / products does your business offer?
A: We provide speech and hearing services to adult and pediatric patients through both our in clinic and mobile services in hopes of enhancing their speech and hearing and fostering a better learning environment.
Q: What are you most proud of (related to your business)?
I am most proud of my relentlessness when starting my business. I remember telling close friends, family members, colleagues and professors about my endeavors and most people thought I was making a very precarious decision. However, I trusted God and moved forward regardless of what was said. Now, two years later, I am owner of 2 speech and hearing clinics and we are making a strong impact on our community.
Q: As an African American/Black entrepreneur, what were some of the biggest challenges and/or surprised you faced when starting your business?
A: One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding mentors who looked like me. Although my mother had always led our household by example, she had never started a business before. I was told by several people that my ideas were precarious and unrealistic. I was also told that it would be quite difficult for me to find funding because I had limited experience. This left me to search for resources completely on my own. I was quite surprised when I met a gentleman by the name of Alberto Queral, who at the time worked for the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO). Alberto and Corinne Pritchett, opened my eyes to the business loan opportunities available through Jefferson Parish, which is the parish that I am a product of. Each day I called Alberto. I had heard so much negativity, that I was shocked when he not only complimented my business plan but also completely funded my business loan. I am still very appreciative for this. It is a great feeling when your parish provides you with the support and financial resources you need to jump start your business and succeed.
Q: What advice do you have to fellow African American/Black entrepreneurs starting business?
A: My advice is never give up, but it is easier said than done. In order to have a successful business you must be willing to sacrifice a lot. Not just money, but time with friends and family, and maybe even a stable career working for someone else. You will have to remove yourself from all of these things to focus on your one goal. But I guarantee, if done right, the reward will be tripple the investment.
Q: New Orleans is such a “robust” entrepreneurial ecosystem. What are the resources (people, networks, organizations, programs, books, articles, etc.) that you have found most useful in starting and/or growing your business?
A: Propeller by far! Since becoming a part of Propeller, I’ve found that starting my business has been much easier than expected. The business start up programs and accelerator programs are extremely helpful in not only providing you with good resources, but also great support.
Q: Is there anything you know now that you wished you had known earlier in terms of starting or operating your business?
A: There are several things that I know now that I had wished I had known earlier, from how to file for an occupational license, to finding a contractor, to hiring and terminating employees and even tracking financial goals. However, because each business is different, there will always be unknowns. The best way to prepare for them, is to never become comfortable in your business and always stay 10 steps ahead.
Q: Would you leave us with some final words of inspiration?
A: I would like the readers to know that I did not come from a privileged background. In fact, my father became addicted to drugs and left us when I was only 4 years. This caused my mother to raise my sister and I alone through her own means. Life was never easy; however my mother was determined to ensure that her daughters became successful. Her definition of successful was to do well in school and get a good education. She made sure of this by any means necessary. Because of what she instilled in us, my sister and I are both doctors. We encourage all young people who may have grown up in disadvantaged circumstances, like we did, to never allow your circumstances to defeat you. People can call you all sorts of names, talk about you, write about you, and hurt you, but one thing they cannot do, is take your education away from you. With an education, the sky is the limit.
Facebook: @high level speech & hearing center
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Locations available to serve you:
- 4219 Magnolia Street Suite 101 New Orleans, LA 70115
- 5640 Jefferson Hwy Harahan, LA 70123.
Phone number: 504-345-2984