Deidra Smith

NAME: Deidra Smith

Title: Chief Executive Officer, Founder, Employment Specialist

Company: MDee Beauty, HR Office Solutions Inc., HROS Inc.

Location: Dover, DE

Career History: CEO and Founder, Mdee Beauty (2020-Present);

CEO and Founder, Process Serving (2009-Present);

CEO and Founder/Employment Specialist, HR Office Solutions Inc. (2009-Present);

Outside marketing for various companies such as AT&T, Bronner Bros., etc.

MDee Beauty

Deidra Smith, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at MDee Beauty, Process Serving, and HR Office Solutions, Inc., has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the fields of business and cosmetics.

Growing up in Philadelphia with two hardworking parents who instilled in her a strong worth ethic and drive, Ms. Smith strived from a young age to find success by paving her own professional path. While starting out in the early 2000s, she took on work-from-home jobs in an effort to retain her independence. Despite working on her own, she predominantly served to help people find work, utilizing her natural skills in talking to and dealing with people, and it was then that she realized it was something she did extremely well. By 2003, she took a job as an account manager, a role she was able to do remotely, and subsequently worked in outside marketing for numerous companies, including AT&T, Bronner Bros., and Dr. Miracle. Upon entering the corporate field, she became inspired to open and operate her own company.

Since 2009, Ms. Smith has been active as the Chief Executive Officer, founder, employment specialist, employments counselor, and a non-attorney representative for the disabled at HR Office Solutions, Inc., which provides process serving and courier services for a wide range of specific organizations, as well as the government, such as the Social Security Administration. Additionally, HR Office Solutions contracts each company under her leadership to help disabled individuals find jobs and then monitor them. Also in 2009, she founded Process Serving, a company that serves legal paperwork, which is still in operation to this day, and began serving as the Chief Executive Officer and founder at HROS Inc., an organization that serves subpoenas and other legal documents. She also acts as a business coach—helping others to open their own companies—life coach, and employment coach.

Stepping outside of her main areas of focus in 2020, Ms. Smith, motivated by her lifelong passion for skincare and its products, began researching and ultimately developed a formula for lipsticks, matte liquid lipsticks, lip stains, and lip glosses that fit her needs—as well as the needs of those who, like her, found their once-favorite products to no longer do the trick. She started MDee Beauty, a company that uses “paraben-free ingredients” such as vitamin E, Sea butter, and avocado oil and serves to “improve the condition” of users’ lips. “We want you to be confident that your look can last all day,” Ms. Smith said in an interview with Black EOE Journal. “Our product is built on healthiness, vibrant colors, and sustainability. It is our goal to keep you looking good all day.” In addition, Ms. Smith has strived to establish a work environment that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion when it comes to listening to the ideas of others; as a Black woman, she says she has had plenty of experiences being overlooked in the workforce. “I’ve been made to think that my ideas and what I had to say didn’t matter…Everyone’s voice needs and should be heard, especially in the workforce on your team…As the employer, I know that I don’t know everything, that’s why I surround myself with motivated, opinionated, and diversity in thought.” Over the course of its two-year existence so far, MDee Beauty has found much success, of which she is incredibly proud.

Outside of her primary endeavors, she volunteers 70 hours a month with religious organizations, frequently donates to help homeless women get the care and help that they need, and is a devoted member of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Looking toward the future, Ms. Smith shows no signs of resting in her entrepreneurship—in the next five to 10 years, she wants to be able to start a chain of storefronts. When she isn’t working, she enjoys walking, traveling, spending time with friends, and going out to eat.

Shawanna Hanson

Title: Owner, Operator

Company: Little Blessings Daycare LLC

Location: Seymour, MO

Education: CDA, Ashworth College 2017 & Drury College Springfield Mo. (Not Applicable 2017-2017)

Career History: Owner/Operator, Little Blessings Daycare LLC (2015-Present)

Shawanna Hanson, Owner and Operator at Little Blessings Daycare LLC, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of child care.

Since 2015, Ms. Hanson has led a renowned, Missouri-based child care center that serves to educate and help children in a faith-driven environment—where she runs the day-to-day business operations, pays the bills, hires and manages the staff, and keeps up with all the necessary licensing rules and regulations, among other duties. Attributing her success to the quality of care that she and her colleagues provide the children at Little Blessings Daycare LLC—raising the bar in her field—she has been proud of shaping the next generation and serving as a pillar in her community.

Growing up, Ms. Hanson was raised by a single mother who raised six children—from whom she learned the importance of a strong work ethic. It was seven years ago that she became inspired to start her organization; the mother of two herself, she experienced the sadness of having to leave her children at a preschool, a sentiment shared by the other parents, all of whom sought another place to send their kids. With that in mind, she saw a real need for another option. Additionally, she said that God spoke to her to bring a ministry to the community. She started out with four children at the center and today has 48. Ms. Hanson earned a Child Development Associate certification from Ashworth College in 2017 and, in recognition of her communal impact, received Readers’ Choice Award from Marshfield Mail in 2021.

Looking toward the future, Ms. Hanson aims to continue managing her business well and ultimately retire. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family—including her husband, Jesse, and two daughters, Jessica and Jasmine—camping, and kayaking.

Michael J. Lees

Title: Chief Executive Officer

Company: Holyoke Gardens, LLC

Location: Massachusetts

Education: Coursework, South University; Coursework, Western New England University

Career History: Chief Executive Officer, Holyoke Gardens, LLC (2017-Present); Owner, Bookkeeping Company

Michael J. Lees, Chief Executive Officer at Holyoke Gardens, LLC, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of business.

Always an entrepreneur at heart, Mr. Lees seized the moment when recreational marijuana became legalized in Massachusetts in 2016. A year later, he formed Holyoke Gardens, LLC, through which he serves as a leader in the cultivation of recreational marijuana—working with numerous professionals in the field to acquire permits for their facility, making sure that their license is in good standing, and that everything being done within the business is in accordance with all law requirements. In his capacity as the chief executive officer, Mr. Lees enjoys meeting people, growing his network, and plans to one day expand the business.

After spending some time in college, completing coursework at South University and Western New England University, Mr. Lees found that formal education wasn’t a good fit for him. Without much money or experience, he worked hard and ultimately found success in sales and marketing, and then owned a bookkeeping company for several years. Over the course of his career, he has been most proud of his ability to gather the initial $120,000 required to fund the license for Holyoke Gardens. Outside of his primary responsibilities, Mr. Lees also proudly serves as the second vice commander for the American Veterans Post 74, a prominent civic organization in his community.

In the next five years, Mr. Lees’ mission is to not only expand his business, but completing a patent he is currently working on, and fund the acquisition of a large farm where he can cultivate meat, vegetables, and fruits he can grow and use.

Zonja L. Buey

Title: 1) Letter Carrier 2) Business Owner

Company: 1) USPS

Location: North Carolina

Education: Associate, Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Living Arts College, High Point, NC (2011)

Career History: Letter Carrier, United States Postal Service (USPS) (2021-Present);

Owner, (online health product line business) (2014-Present);

With, Priscilla McCall’s;

With, Cole’s Warehouse;

Janitor, All Washed Up Cleaning Service, North Carolina;

Display Products, Front Row Events Group, North Carolina;

Distributor, It Works! Global, FL;

Loader, Unloader, UPS, North Carolina

Zonja L. Buey, Business Owner and Letter Carrier at the U.S. Postal Service, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the fields of business and public health.

Driven by her passion for the medical field, helping others, and building healthy relationships with people, Ms. Buey has found success as the owner of an online health product business since 2014, a venture sparked by her own weight loss journey. While in pursuit of an associate’s degree from Living Arts College in College, which she earned in 2011, she also became a certified medical assistant—a designation that converged with her near-diagnosis as a diabetic while she was pregnant with her son. Determined to shed the pounds, she became dedicated to a healthier lifestyle and better eating habits and ended up dropping 80 pounds, going from 260 to 180. The transformation provided her with hope and a sense of confidence that she can do anything she sets her mind to, which is the feeling she has since been helping others feel. Through her business, Ms. Buey works hard to promote her wide variety of products through social media and other outlets, seeking to reach, connect with, and motivate people.

In addition to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Ms. Buey has served as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service since 2021. She previously worked at Priscilla McCall’s, Cole’s Warehouse, All Washed Up Cleaning Service, Front Row Events Group, and as a loader/unloader at UPS. When she isn’t occupied by her primary responsibilities, she frequently gives back, donating clothes to charities and people in her community, and has helped her local church feed the homeless since 2014. With a personal motto that “health is wealth,” Ms. Buey looks forward to continuing to inspire people to take care of their bodies and achieve their dreams, grow her business, and do her best throughout her mission to impact people’s lives.

Mohammad A. Jallaq

Title: Manager, Owner

Company: Ohio Management and Consulting Services

Location: Ohio

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Ohio State University (1984)

Career History: Business Owner (1984-Present);

Manager, Owner, Ohio Management and Consulting Services;

Recognition, Ministry of Exterior;

Manager, Two Dental Offices;

Restaurant Owner, Denver, CO

Mohammad A. Jallaq, Manager and Owner at Ohio Management and Consulting Services, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of business management.

Motivated by being active and well-known in his city, Mr. Jallaq has excelled in his role as a business owner since 1984. He has been a restaurant owner, the manager of two dental offices, the manager and owner of Ohio Management and Consulting Services, and previously worked in the business of developing real estate properties. Having immigrated to the United States in 1978, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has commissioned him as an officially recognized notary and document certifier for the State of Palestine whose responsibilities include, providing services for the Jordanian and Palestinian community at large; from passport issuance facilitation and power of attorney to state-certified document translation. He is extremely proud of this work as a community leader and as a testament to it, he was recognized as a Man of the Year for the State of Palestine in 2017.

In addition, Mr. Jallaq has lent his services to the Ohio Medical Center and the Business Advisory Council in Washington, D.C., and is a devoted member of both the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, and UNICEF. For his humanitarian efforts, he earned a Certificate of Achievement from the Southern Poverty Law Center. In preparation for his career, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business from Ohio State University in 1984 and has been working for himself ever since. Upon reflection of his prolific and impactful career, Mr. Jallaq considers establishing successful businesses, being financially stable, and maintaining a good reputation to be his crowning achievements.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Mr. Jallaq has long been married to his wife, Dr. Gehan Jallaq, a dentist, and is the father of three, Rami, Hazem, and Wesam. While he plans to keep working for as long as he can, he enjoys flying planes, traveling, going on cruises, and exploring nature in his free time.

Throughout his career, he has been motivated by the following quote: “Determination is the secret to success.”

Scott Wilgocki

Title: Pit Master, Business Owner

Company: Gocki’s Smokin’ BBQ

Location: Greenfield, IN

Career History: Owner/Pit Master, Gocki’s Smokin’ BBQ, Greenfield, IN (2020-Present);

Voice Communications Engineer IV, CBTS, Fishers, IN (2011-2020);

Field Service Technician/Systems Installer, G3 Technology Partners, Indianapolis, IN (2006-2011);

Field Service Technician/Systems Installer, Dugdale Communications, Indianapolis, IN (2002-2006);

Senior Customer Systems Engineer, Avaya Communication (1992-2002)

Scott Wilgocki, Pit Master and Business Owner at Gocki’s Smokin’ BBQ, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of food services.

After more than 25 years of professional experience as a technician and engineer for numerous telecommunications-based companies, Mr. Wilgocki decided to devote his career to his ever-reliable side job—catering, barbecuing and producing high-quality and delicious meals to people. Since 2020, he, alongside his wife, Pat, has been running a strong food truck business with Gocki’s Smokin’ BBQ, whose specialties include smoked meat, unique rubs, sauces, and coleslaw, and a potato salad recipe that was passed down by his grandmother. Since people could not go out and eat at restaurants at the start of the pandemic, he strived to bring the cuisine to their neighborhoods—in addition to catering at weddings and other large events.

Reflecting on what he has been able to accomplish, Mr. Wilgocki—whose responsibilities within the business include cleaning, shopping, servicing, marketing, bookkeeping, and cooking everything homemade—is extremely proud, of both chasing his dream and defying many odds. A high school dropout, he did not have a formal education, and yet it did not keep him from learning, working hard, and establishing himself as a sought-after professional. He served as a senior customer systems engineer at Avaya Communication from 1992 to 2002, a field service technician and systems installer at Dugdale Communications from 2002 to 2006, and a field service technician and systems installer at G3 Technology Partners from 2006 to 2011. All the while, he had been operating a catering business out of a real passion for cooking and serving, which led to many people encouraging him to do it full-time. He was active as a voice communications engineer for CBTS from 2011 up until 2020 when he was laid off, at which point he decided to take their advice. After discussing it with his wife, they bought a food truck and equipment and their new journey began.

Looking ahead, Mr. Wilgocki aims to expand the business and hire employees so that he would no longer have to operate it himself. Outside of his primary endeavors, he has donated 10 percent of his sales to Geist Montessori Academy and regularly contributes to Cherish, a child advocacy organization.


Gocki’s Smokin’ BBQ


Pastor Alessandra Tavares

Title: Business Owner

Company: Tavares Brick Pavers Inc.

Location: Desodo, FL

Education: College Coursework

Career History: Business Owner, Tavares Brick Pavers Inc. (2001-Present); Pastor, Children of Light Church

Pastor Alessandra Tavares, Business Owner at Tavares Brick Pavers Inc., has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the fields of contracting and religion.

Motivated by her faith in God, perseverance, and hope for what the future holds, Ms. Tavares has excelled in her role as the president of Tavares Brick Pavers, Inc. since 2001 when she and her husband started the company. As the leader of the business, whose mission is to sell and install brick pavers for commercial and residential clients in the Sarasota, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Bradenton, Venice, Anna Maria Island, and Palmetto areas of Florida, she is responsible for overseeing numerous employees and all operations—which includes interlocking brick paving driveways, walkways, and pool and patio decks. She has found it incredibly rewarding to provide people with these services and build strong relationships with her clients.

In addition, Ms. Tavares is devoted to her faith in God and lives her life in “love, peace, and joy” as a pastor and member at Children of Light Church, a chaplain in her local community, and a board member with the Sarasota Outreach Solutions charity. As a testament to her astounding work, she was honored by Sarasota Magazine as part of “The Best of Sarasota” in 2014, 2019, and 2020, and was most recently featured in a 2021 issue of Suncoast Brazil USA Magazine. Looking toward the future, she hopes to be able to help her community more, particularly those who come from or live in broken homes.

Lisa A. McDaniel Ramos

Title: Owner

Company: Hair Imagination LLC DBA C&C Hair Company

Location: Midlothian, VA

Career History: Owner, Hair Imagination LLC DBA/C&C Hair Company (2021-); Wine Consultant, Kroger (19 years); With, Dentistry; Travel Agent; Portrait Photographer; Sea Lion and Dolphin Trainer; Snow Queen with the “Legendary Santa,” Miller & Rhoads Department Store; Concerts Backstage and Marketing Events Coordinator, King’s Dominion Theme Park, Sales

Lisa McDaniel Ramos, Owner of Hair Imagination LLC DBA C&C Hair Company, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of business administration.

Ms. Ramos has always been interested in owning a business and found an ideal business with the right people. With this support, she established their salon C&C Hair Company, as part of her retirement plan. She is guided in this venture by her motto that beauty belongs to everyone. She launched the salon in 2021 but brings more than two decades of experience to this endeavor. She has been a wine consultant for Kroger and served in management roles for dentist offices, travel agents and photography studios. In addition, Ms. Ramos has been a sea lion and dolphin trainer, the Snow Queen with the “Legendary Santa,” for Miller & Rhoads Department Store and has worked with concerts backstage and in marketing events coordination for King’s Dominion Theme Park.

In the future, Ms. Ramos would like her salon to become a friendly and safe space for the people in the community by introducing various new services in the salon to encourage new and return customers, as well as help actively in community building. She intends to continue running her business. Ms. Ramos attributes her success to not knowing who she wanted to be when she grew up and having lots of curiosity, determination, and interest in many experiences. She is a Certified Travel Agent and certified in X-Ray technology for dentistry.

Jorge A. Gonzalez

Title: Chief Administrative Officer

Company: Gonzalez Vineyard Management LLC

Location: Napa, CA

Education: Coursework in Business Scaling, Stanford University, 2019;

Coursework, University of California – Santa Barbara;

Coursework, Local Community College

Career History: Chief Administrative Officer, Gonzalez Vineyard Management LLC, 2016-Present

Jorge Gonzalez, Owner of Gonzalez Vineyard Management LLC, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of business administration.

Growing up, Mr. Gonzalez watched his father work in the vineyard management industry and learned the ins and outs of it from him. In 2016, he decided to launch his family-owned and operated company based on his expertise in California’s wine country, Napa Valley. With his strong community ties, he has built the company to provide more than 150 jobs. It’s very important for him to ensure the company is successful because of how much it means to his community. In five years, Mr. Gonzalez hopes to further expand the business. He also hopes to be involved in and start other businesses and provide more employment opportunities.

In addition to being the owner of his company, Mr. Gonzalez is the president of the Napa County Hispanic Network. He attributes his success to God, to his parents for their good upbringing, and to his mentors. He utilizes his skills to deliver on company oversight, secure work contracts, and review financials with the accounting team. Mr. Gonzalez also ensures managers follow short-term and long-term goals while building client, company and community relationships. He is an expert in business administration and logistics.

Furthermore, Mr. Gonzalez is incredibly proud of owning a business in the United States. He is grateful for the opportunities living in this country has provided his family in order to succeed. In his spare time, Mr. Gonzalez enjoys nature, spending time with his family time, cruising; driving along the countryside, walking, and dining out with friends.

Pablo Diaz Guerrero

Title: Owner

Company: D’Fine Logistic Services LLC

Location: Columbus, GA

Education: PhD Coursework;

MBA, University of Phoenix;

BS, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University;

AS, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University;

Career History: Owner, D’Fine Logistic Services LLC;

With, Pratt & Whitney (7 years);

Pablo Diaz Guerrero, Owner of D’Fine Logistic Services LLC, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of logistics and real estate.

Mr. Guerrero attributes his success to good-hearted people who saw potential in him — from the neighborhood drug dealer in Brooklyn who didn’t sell him any drugs because he know he was going to be something someday, to the African-American man from the U.S. Air Force who taught him to prepare for the future and helped him start saving up $50 every paycheck, and his father who encouraged him to continue studying. He considers these influences and all the good people he has met in life as the reason why he wants to give back to more people by sharing his knowledge and providing employment opportunities.

Mr. Guerrero served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years and retired with the ranking of Master Sergeant. He earned his airplane mechanic license certification when he was 18 and decided to enlist in service. He was also encouraged by the fact that one can start receiving a pension after 20 years of service in the military. Throughout his career, he earned an Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He later received an MBA from the University of Phoenix and ventured into PhD coursework.

During his time with his previous employer, Mr. Guerrero witnessed a lot of people not being able to get a job at the company because they lacked qualifications. He decided to start a cleaning company to help provide employment to those who need it. His cleaning company is now the third-largest business of its kind in Columbus, GA. Mr. Guerrero’s business, D’Fine Logistics, is a delivery contractor for Amazon. They are now the largest fleet of couriers in the Charlotte area. They have 45 vehicles delivering about 5,500 packages every week. Furthermore, he enjoys coaching people who would like to know more about real estate, buying houses and flipping houses — free of charge.

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