THE FORUM: Recognizing Our Community Members: A Q&A with Dr. Sonia Daniels

Recognizing Our Community Members: A Q&A with Dr. Sonia Daniels

August 31, 2022

Our members represent a wide range of backgrounds, skillsets, and career paths, yet we have a shared sense of ambition and passion for problem-solving that allow us to appreciate our peers who have turned ideas and business concepts into a reality. August is recognized as National Black Business Month, and as we join communities across the country in celebrating the invaluable contributions of minority groups who pave the way for economic and cultural development, we also recognize the disproportionate number of challenges they have faced along the way.

So, this month, we’re excited to spotlight Forum 225 member and Black business owner Dr. Sonia Daniels, founder of S. Daniels Consulting, a management consulting firm here in Baton Rouge. We sat down with Sonia for a Q&A to discuss her business, what advice she has for young professional entrepreneurs, and to share the opportunities of business ownership in Baton Rouge.

Q&A with Dr. Sonia Daniels of S. Daniels Consulting:

How did you come up with the idea to open your consulting business?

Having worked in the public sector for the past decade, in both nonprofit organizations and government agencies, I recognized challenges in operations that were consistent across the sector.  There was a need for organizational support and development strategies that result in amplified impact both internally and externally.

How do your values drive your career?

My top three values for my life and my business are collaboration, integrity, and adaptability. I believe it’s critical to work well with others and build solid relationships because the best teams win championships. Integrity is highly important to me in my career and guides how I operate with intention and ethics. Adaptability is key because, after all, shift happens. 

What does it mean to you to be a Black business owner?

Being a business owner, first and foremost, means creating opportunities to build a surplus of skills, in addition to wealth not restricted to the limitations that a traditional job often has. Secondary to that, being a business owner from a historically marginalized and excluded group means creating access and cultivating networks across industries.

What is one thing or advice you would give to new entrepreneurs?

My biggest piece of advice to new entrepreneurs is to ask for help. Figure out what you might need and then figure out who can help provide a resolution. 

How do you think young professionals can make the greatest impact on Baton Rouge?

Young professionals in Baton Rouge can make an impact by not being afraid to offer their talents and expertise to this city. Baton Rouge has a variety of industries that need fresh insight and innovation. 

What is your favorite thing about Baton Rouge?

My favorite thing about Baton Rouge is all of the newly developing restaurants. As a foodie, it’s fun that there’s a variety of new restaurants and experiences to try each time I go to eat out. 

What is the importance of ensuring that inclusivity and diversity are a critical part of a thriving business culture in Baton Rouge?

Inclusivity and diversity should be a priority in Baton Rouge, period. In business, differences in experiences, background, and knowledge are crucial to the growth and success of a business regardless of industry. As a business owner, it’s particularly important to value the necessity of diversity and inclusion as it allows you to continue to improve your offerings and to expand those in which you serve.

Forum 225 hopes to continue celebrating and highlighting the contributions of other communities of young professionals throughout Baton Rouge. As an organization, we strive to be a part of any conversation that progresses and enables increased diversity of thought, background, and more to the benefit of Baton Rouge.