I joined Dionne King on a rainy weekday at Quay Coffee in the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. As always she looked like she was ready to meet with the top brass of a major corporation. That wasn’t far from reality. She only had a few minutes for this interview before she was off to her next client appointment. When Dionne came through ELEVATIONLAB NEW VENTURE, she had all the right pieces, but needed a better understanding of how to put them together. As the rain poured outside it was clear that Dionne’s outlook was nothing but blue skies due to her hard work and knowledge gained through NEW VENTURE. DMK Consults, LLC is thriving and growing!

“I was like a sponge in class,” she recalls, “I realized that my work could actually be monetized. Thanks to NEW VENTURE, I learned how to package my business in a way that makes it attractive to many diverse markets.” Dionne was not new to the world of diversity and inclusion training. However, after 13 years in the legal world, she wanted to set out on her own and broaden her horizons. She formed DMK Consults, LLC, a very progressive leadership firm specializing in diversity and inclusion initiatives. Her clients are CEOs and executives who are learning to do business in a whole different way.

“We now live in a climate where companies need to say: this is how we stand and this is the statement we make as it pertains to how treat people in regards to diversity.” She knows it is now imperative if you want to connect with your customer and she helps companies create that narrative.

“We’re doing business in a whole different way now. It’s no longer an option. It’s not just an activity, it’s imperative to have some type of formal diversity and inclusion initiative. It’s part of leadership. If you don’t know how to communicate interculturally, you are at a loss. You disadvantage yourself if you don’t prepare your talent to be able to work with people from all walks of life. The class drove home the point that I’ve got to tell people about my business. I have to get the message out there and find the most effective ways to do that.” With help from class, today DMK Consults can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube driving a message home in 60 seconds or less.

“Some people appreciate my long written studies, but I’ve learned that most people want the quick hit videos. Now I’m getting visibility in spaces I was never able to reach before.”

Dionne’s advice for those joining the NEW VENTURE program: “Go for it! Jump in with both feet and learn everything from NEW VENTURE that you can!” The classes allowed her business to grow significantly, and she credits this to the learning, as well as the network she established with other entrepreneurs in the class.

Just before we parted ways she stopped me and said, “I want to say thank you. This program is a picture of what Kansas City is – a place that cultivates good, diverse entrepreneurs and commits to developing healthy businesses. NEW VENTURE is what diversity is supposed to look like!”

-Joel Barrett, Contract Business Development Consultant