Innovative Made Me, Which Makes Me Innovative For Life

Several years ago, I worked for a bunch of guys. All Ques. And all wild. Wildly professional. Wildly fun. Wildly caring…and aggravating. And I loved it. It’s the bunch that Lee had me meet (and it was like I was on line). We’ve remained close and they’ve poured in to me on various legs of my journey…and that of others who were with us along the way.

So, thanks to Donald Hardin Jr. & Tracy Kirk Hardin, for the past few years, I’ve been


L-r: Lee O. Molette, II, Reginald D. Holt, Me, Anthony T. Holt

able to at least count on seeing all of them (most of them) at the end of the year during the Hardin’s Annual Karaoke Christmas. This year was no different. And it’s the second year that Reggie was back from South Africa.  So, I was able to check-in with ‘the guys’ who shaped me, as a person and as a professional (and I was sure to remind them how much younger I am, than they are).

A utopia of epic proportions…these guys, plus #BigRich created an African American-owned business that achieved so many things…back in the day. Way before I realized what it meant to be able to support a staff of 20+ people. I miss those days…from the log cabin to the old Sankofa building that became our corporate headquarters Innovative Recovery Services, Inc. (IRSI) made me.

I’m still chasing after each of these Omegas in my life, striving to be great like them – even as a #KappaWife — #AlwaysInnovative Tony Holt, Lee Molette, ReginaldDHolt and Rich Owens Here’s an update on who/what I know:

  • Sylvia Smith Johnson – was our VP of all thing financial. She now runs her own CPA firm, Sylvia Smith Johnson & Associates. She pulled no punches. I didn’t realize how much of an anomaly she was (at that time) as a female VP of Audit/Financial Services. She kicked-butt and took names, all while smiling at you and sounding so pleasant…until she didn’t. LOL
  • Clinton C. Boyd, Jr. – was our VP of Marketing & Subrogation. I miss him. He was who I was aligned with after Reggie left me for South Africa. As we were making plans, it turns out that I had a convo with Reggie to ask…ok, so who do I need to report to when you leave? Would it be smart to align with Clint? Reggie hadn’t even thought about it…based on the look on his face…and it was an a-ha moment that I think was, hmmm, that’s an interesting thought. Clint is the first person we lost. Clint is the first manager that invested in me as a person. Clint drove me nuts. He pushed me, challenged me, called me on my stuff. And I miss him terribly.
  • Pamela Williams – was our Subrogation Manager. She now works for UPS as a district sales rep and is breaking all the barriers she can. Always a strong-willed woman, she and her husband, Eric, are kind and caring and it’s been amazing to see McKinley (their daughter) become a young woman. She’s who taught me about wine, facial expressions impacting a conversation (or interaction) and how to rise above petty people.
  • Stephenie K. Smith – is my Soror, and I met her while she was at Fisk University. I was enamored with her focus, directness and positive attitude. When she graduated…or maybe it was after that…I recommended her for a job at IRSI. Pamela hired her, as a Subogration Specialist, and the rest was history. She’s a strong-willed woman who knew she had a mission in life. NOW, she’s Chief Strategy Officer with NourishKC, a regional (Kansas City) nonprofit committed to addressing food insecurity.
  • Lynette Young – “Lynnie Bin” kept us all together. She was the staff accountant, office manager, regulator and general – all rolled into one. And her hair was always impeccably placed! Lynette stepped into a role, after IRSI, that she’s been in for 17+ years. Whew!
  • Rosalind Robinson – was our Sr. Audit Manager (I think was her title)
  • Michael Ononjeta – was also a Sr. Audit Manager
  • Trenton Meridith – was gone by the time I got there, but he was always in and around.
  • Karen Pope Johnson – was a Subrogation Manager
  • Receptionist
  • Auditor
  • Jeff  – Subrogation Specialist

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