When we talk about a business, we assume that success can be measured numerically, in dollars and cents. The more revenue and the bigger the percentage of profit, the more successful the business. We also assume that the focus of the business, is the business itself.
Normally, these assumptions are true. But, like all assumptions, there are exceptions. Both Peter Ricchiuti’s lunch guests today are running businesses that are not, “all about me.” They’re for-profit businesses that are, uniquely, not all about their own profit.
Paola Barona is the owner of Del Alto Valle Coffee. Paola’s company has two goals: 1, to provide New Orleans and the US with varieties of coffee from her native Colombia that are otherwise unavailable, or unaffordable. And 2, to use all the profits from those sales to provide school supplies for children living on small farms in the isolated, rural communities in Colombia, where the coffee beans are grown.
Sabrina Short is founder and CEO of NOLAvate Black, a connection hub primarily dedicated to Black people in New Orleans tech sector. They also extend their services to Indigenous People and People of Color. They’re a for-profit company that helps tech companies connect to talent. On the other side of the equation, they’re also a Talent Incubator. And they have a division that helps people land a first job in tech.
NOLAvate Black started out as an idea for a networking Happy Hour in 2018. It’s since grown into an impactful part of New Orleans’ tech sector.
Most of us are conditioned to think of business success in terms of “more” and “bigger.” The more money a business makes, the bigger it gets, the better it is. It’s easy to seem open-minded and say, “Your definition of success can be different.” But it’s very hard for anybody in business to actually break out of the bigger-is-better mindset. And it’s even more difficult to find people who genuinely put other people’s interests ahead of their own. Paola and Sabrina are both talented business people who are devoting their talents to advancing other people’s lives and careers.