Inspiring Woman Advocates for Minority Businesses

Discussion
Mar 21, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Essence magazine included her among its “50 of the Most Inspiring African-Americans.”


Valerie Daniels-Carter is hoping that her example will inspire women and minorities to reach for their goals, and the owner of one of Burger King’s largest minority-owned franchisees is hoping the company’s planned initial public offering will provide added opportunities to advance diversity initiatives.


Ms. Daniels-Carter, who runs V&J Holding Cos., told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “We’re not looking at the IPO only in terms of how many more restaurants a vendor can get. I’m looking at it as an opportunity for Burger King to broaden the horizon of opportunities that traditionally aren’t afforded to firms of color. It’s about expanding ways for other people of color to reach their goals.”


A past president of the Minority Franchise Association of Burger King and a current member of its Diversity Action Council, Ms. Daniels-Carter has found corporate executives receptive to her message as her firm has opened up new markets for the fast food chain.


Clyde Rucker, a senior vice president of Burger King, said Ms. Daniels-Carter is a forceful advocate that has results to back up her recommendations. “In her business, she has, in the past, set her sights on what she wants to do and she accomplishes her goals,” he said.


Today, V&J Holding Cos. is the largest minority run fast food franchisee in the country, operating about 130 Burger King and Pizza Hut locations.


Ms. Daniels-Carter started the business along with her brother with a single Burger King location in Milwaukee in 1984.


Vanessa Bush, executive editor of Essence, said, “It’s important that African-American women interested in entrepreneurship see examples of someone who clearly did all the right things from raising the seed money to purchase her first franchise to making it grow. Everyday women need to see that it can be done.”


Moderator’s Comment: How important are the examples of people such as Valerie Daniels-Carter in opening up opportunities for minorities and inspiring
members of those communities to become entrepreneurs?

George Anderson – Moderator

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6 Comments on "Inspiring Woman Advocates for Minority Businesses"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

Running a fast food franchise is the classic way for someone without a traditional formal education and corporate background to work very long hours and join the upper middle class. Many convenience stores and fast food franchises are owned by minorities, particularly families who’ve pooled their cash and labor. Every convenience and food franchisor looks for potential owners who fit this profile. Family members often work long hours and are judged to be partners trusted to handle cash.

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
Guest
Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
14 years 11 months ago

It is very important that companies reach out to diverse communities and provide role models and a road map for their participation. It is not only the right thing to do from a good corporate citizen standpoint, but there is a strong business case for it. The changing demographics of America require the education and integration of vibrant and young entrepreneurs. The youth of America is increasingly non-white and this needs to be addressed at all fronts…from marketing and advertising to staffing at all levels of management and service categories…to ownership as well.

Race Cowgill
Guest
Race Cowgill
14 years 11 months ago
In my own life, hearing about and seeing the successes of people “just like me” has been a constant source of energy, hope, and motivation, particularly early on when I had so little confidence in myself. The more like me I perceived these role models to be, and the more detailed the explanations of their successful strategies, the better. Another element, besides same-ness and detail, was seeing a goal and world-stance similar to mine — those who had made tons of money and seemed fascinated by their new status and power were quite uninspiring to me, but those who had made money and who believed in the goodness and wonder of those around them, and who wanted to truly help, have been my heroes. I wish our business culture valued more the kind of effort and achievement of people like Valerie. We need to hear a lot more about the hundreds of other people like her, in my view. But put Valerie’s story next to the story of the white anglo male who has supposed… Read more »
David Livingston
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

I have to agree with Bernice. The good news is the message is getting out. The bad news is that articles like these make it sound like women and minorities just are not good enough so they need extra help and encouragement. Being a member of made up clubs like “Minority Franchise Association of Burger King” or a member of its “Diversity Action Council” continues to remind women and minorities they are not equal. We should be more focused on the fact that this woman went from one store to 130. I think labels such as “women” or “minority” bring up negative stereotypes. FDR did not run for president focusing on being handicapped. This woman should not be a success object for women and minorities, but rather to all people.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

Stories like this make the idealist in me grit her teeth and shake her fists at the very fact that we are not all treated equally and that the achievements of some are much greater than the similar achievements of others. Given that that is the way the world turns, I think much should be made of the business and what its founder has achieved. And even more should be made of the fact that she is helping and encouraging other people to believe that they can also achieve a great deal in spite of difficult beginnings and frustrating obstacles. Whoever said we are all created equal and that we all have the ability to do whatever we want had little awareness of reality and his/her fellow human beings. Life is well and truly a bitch and I wish this woman well in convincing others that her example can be followed.

Rupa Ranganathan
Guest
Rupa Ranganathan
14 years 11 months ago

Great disscussions, George.

Valerie Daniels-Carter is a trail-blazer, who can clearly inspire millions of others in her community, state and industry. And with legends like Magic Johnson and Bob Johnson also closely nurturing the franchising sector, this is a key growth opportunity to focus on.

If you look at race and color, then you use the term Minority. But if you take her courage, her determination and enterprise, you might classify her as “Enterprising Elite.” But, as David points out, positioning oneself is a key factor to consider carefully. Do you want to be called “Minority” or the “Emerging Majority”? Which term signals a growing force to reckon with?

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