This 39-year old New Orleans Native completely took ” The Dream is Free but the Hustle is Sold Separately” to a new level, our fingers are cramping slightly from typing up her many many accomplishment, but we can’t wait to share it with the world! Jade Russell launched JD Russell Consulting, LLC, a full service consulting firm focusing on regulatory compliance, legal counsel, diversity and inclusion, corporate turnaround/workout services and governmental relations.
Jade was born in the old Charity Hospital in 1978, and raised in New Orleans East where her parents still live today. She is a proud graduate of Eleanor McMain’s C/O ’96.
“I started my professional career at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, Illinois, where I gained experience in mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, corporate governance and securities related transactions. I returned to NOLA in 2007 and joined Adams and Reese where my focus was on public finance and economic development projects. In 2010, I was asked to serve as Regional General Counsel at Caesars Entertainment where I addressed litigation, gaming, corporate and regulatory and compliance issues for the company’s properties in Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio.”
There are many other ventures under her belt, including:
– Fried Chicken Festival (Co-Founder)
– Collab Lab (Co-Founder)
– Currently serving in an interim capacity as Special Counsel for S&WB
– Co-Author of Champions Never Tell
– Radio show co-host of Pumps, Pearls and Politics
– Radio show co-host of Motivational Mondays
Jade is also the Co-Chair of the City of New Orleans’ 2018 Tricentennial Commission’s Community Engagement Committee. She currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Urban League of Louisiana and is a Board member of Bricolage Academy, Ashe Cultural Arts Center and the Arts Council of New Orleans. Jade is a Past Chairman of the Downtown Development District and the immediate past Co-Chair of the Solo and Small Practitioner’s Section of the New Orleans Bar Association. She is also a founding member and the inaugural President of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Young Professionals and the former General Counsel and Secretary of the Young Leadership Council, the City of New Orleans two premiere young professionals organizations.
Q: How did you get started? Tell us your motivation for starting this business.
A: My children were and continue to be my biggest motivation for being an entrepreneur. Honestly, my last “real job” — at Caesars Entertainment — was the best job. It was great work, and I worked collaboratively with the best people and mentors. When I was thinking about leaving, I went to my mentor at Caesars who was a Senior Executive. I shared with him that I wanted to try to step out on my own to diversify my work portfolio and to really leave a legacy for my kids. It took me weeks to garner the courage to go to him, but I did it. I carry his advice with me every day. He said, “You’ve gotta do this, because if you don’t, you’ll be kicking yourself 10 years from now about what you should have or could have done. And if it fails, you always have a job here.” It was the confirmation that I needed. I wanted to do this for my kids — and for myself. This has been a journey that I will never regret, because it is a constant reminder that I am working towards something that doesn’t end with me — it is all about legacy.
Q: What are you most proud of (related to your business)?
A: I am most proud of the impact JD Russell Consulting has had on other entrepreneurs and the work we’ve been able to accomplish on behalf of our clients. I am also proud of the legacies that we are building for our children who will know that entrepreneurship is possible for them.
Q: As an African American/Black entrepreneur, what were some of the biggest challenges and/or surprised you faced when starting your business?
A: There are several challenges we face, but I believe the capital and collaboration are two of the biggest that I faced. Many Black entrepreneurs lack adequate capital to stand up an new venture and sustain until the venture realizes a profit, which could be two or three years. As a you entrepreneur in my mid-30s, I was broke. I still can only attribute the grace of God as what helped me survive the first 3 years of entrepreneurship! My finances suffered greatly, but it was that struggle that pushed me to diversify they type of work that I was doing, and approach business using a more collaborative model.
Q: What advice do you have to fellow African American/Black entrepreneurs starting business?
A: Years ago, I heard a motivational speaker at the Corporate Counsel Women of Color Conference say, “Don’t get mad, find a way to win!” This principle has guided my work every single day. As an entrepreneur, when you encounter challenges and obstacle that impede your progress, be the solution that you need.
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: As noted above, collaboration has been my greatest asset. In every aspect of my business, I created collaborative relationship. Some were collaborative relationships were I was the protege firm to a larger mentor firm, and in other cases, I was collaborating with smaller or comparable firms to deliver results on bigger projects that none of us could handle on our own. This collaborative model allowed me to scale my business up at my own pace.
I also went “all in” with organizations like the Black Chamber, Urban League YP, YLC and others that allowed me to expand my network. Almost every project that I am working on right now is an opportunity that came as a result of the networks that I have been blessed to be a part of.
“Books!” I recommend that all entrepreneurs read the book, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. For entrepreneurs who are charged with doing 101 things at a time, this book is a great tool to learn how to focus on getting the one thing done that will make every other thing easier. It’s a must read for entrepreneurs.
Q: Is there anything you know now that you wished you had known earlier in terms of starting or operating your business?
A: What I know now, that I wish I’d always known, is that I can’t lose and it all counts! I wish that I knew earlier on in my career that every experience — good or bad — matters, and those experiences inform all of our future experiences. Steve Jobs once said that you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking back. The greatest thing that I have gained in starting and operating my own business is faith. If you’re short on faith or action, entrepreneurship may not be for you!
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