“…losing my job, I gained more than I ever could have dreamed.”
“I think you should be an entrepreneur.”
Twenty year ago, Olalah Njenga was looking for options after being laid off from a job with a leading global corporation that relocated her family from Chicago to North Carolina’s famous “Research Triangle” area. However, after meeting with a local outplacement center, she received what seemed to be an unpromising response: “…Based on your profile assessments, there’s no job for you.” The director then said, “I think you should be an entrepreneur.”
While Ms. Njenga was initially disheartened by the advice she received, the career advisor’s remarks ignited a lifechanging decision. Ms. Njenga says, “What started out at my dining room table as one project for one client, evolved into a 20-year journey of life, leadership and legacy.” Since beginning her career in entrepreneurship, Ms. Njenga has captained a series of highly successful ventures, including founding a fractional c-level firm called Management, LLC; and founding YellowWood Group, a business strategy consultancy.
Ms. Njenga also is one of North Carolina’s most accomplished small-business advocates, holding many prestigious advocacy posts, including a governor-appointed role as Commissioner of Small Business on North Carolina’s NCWorks Commission - a leadership role Ms. Njenga has held under two governors from opposing political parties.
Ms. Njenga has served on her state’s Small Business Needs & Assessments committee, the Governor’s Advisory Council, and as president of the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) Greater Raleigh chapter. Ms. Njenga also has taken the small-business fight to the media, having served as a contributing expert on small-business issues for CBS affiliate WNCN TV and as a contributing columnist for the Raleigh-based News & Observer family of publications.
This month, we are celebrating Ms. Njenga's first year of service on the NSBA Board of Trustees and her fourth year of involvement with the NSBA, which began when she was appointed to the NSBA Leadership Council in January of 2019. Her involvement has provided tremendous perspective to our pursuit of small-business policy, and stories like hers are what have served as the foundation of our advocacy efforts for nearly 100 years.
When thinking about her tremendous achievements over the past two decades, Ms. Njenga reflected, “In losing my job, I gained more than I ever could have dreamed.”
Connect with NSBA and learn about the big ways entrepreneurs like Ms. Njenga are shaping policy and improving the ability of small businesses in the U.S. to grow and prosper.