Theresa Siaw is a social entrepreneur who currently directs OMNI Healthcare, a multi-location health clinic for the under-served. She also runs A Community of One, a program that focuses on creating resources for residents of Humboldt Park, a Chicago neighborhood.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I was motivated to launch A Community of One because of the rise in crime that is happening in Humboldt Park. I truly want to bring the community together and help fight violence by building after-school activities and a sound infrastructure of community resources.
Tell us about your business.
My business, A Community of One is geared toward building resources and initiatives in Humboldt Park. I am also the Business Development Director of OMNI Health Care, a multi-location health clinic for the underserved. Thus, I am very well-versed in healthcare, education, and the areas in which we lack resources.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I host a monthly speakers series called Women Unite Chicago. At these events women in Chicago will be speaking about issues that relate to them. This month’s event will be taking place at Logan Bar at 2230 N. California Ave on Thursday, April 26th from 6:00pm-9:00pm.
Where is your business based?
Currently, my business is based at OMNI Healthcare, at 2720 West Division Street in Humboldt Park.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I had to build my team, and I connected with those most interested in building community outreach in Humboldt Park. Once I assembled my team, we also hired a PR agency to assist with getting the word out about A Community of One and initiatives with OMNI Healthcare.
We started building and forming events, such as the Back to School Drive, where we gave away 300 backpacks, held a picnic, and had free pony rides for schoolchildren in August. Since then we have also created many other initiatives, such as the Turkey Drive Giveaway for Thanksgiving.
Our team gave away 1,000 turkeys to Humboldt Park residents, OMNI Healthcare patients, and local churches. We also created a warming center in the beginning of January at OMNI Healthcare and gave away hats and gloves when temperatures reached below zero.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
By speaking to those in the community, using my resource team of community outreach leaders, and utilizing our PR team.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge I face is time. I have so many goals I want to accomplish and so little time.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I lean on my team members and on those that encourage and drive me in the community. I persevere on their behalf.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My son wakes me up every morning with a hug and a kiss. That keeps me motivated even during the hardest times.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Everything that I do, I do from my heart. I don’t give because it makes me look good; rather, I give because I genuinely want to make an impact in my community. I think that is what differentiates me from others.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Never give up, and keep persevering no matter what. Not every day is going to be a good day, but you have to get practicing your craft in order to hone in on your skill-set.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I use social media quite a bit, due to the ability to spread messages quickly and effectively.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
The New Girl, by Tracie Puckett.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am learning about the different needs in Humboldt Park, while looking for others who have interest in building more resources and care about the community in which they live.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I am looking to organize a community meeting to raise awareness about the crime in the city. I am also starting a partnership with CPS schools to donate funding for their after-school programs within the Humboldt Park schools.
I feel that nobody should have to pay for their child to participate in after-school programming. The more programs we get students in, the more likely they will stay off the streets.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
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