DC Women’s Business Center, Founder Feature: Kim Alfonso is the Co-Founder and CEO of Results One LLC , and is a client of the DC Women’s Business Center, an NCRC program.
Kim Greenfield Alfonso is a native Washingtonian and the daughter of medical professionals who graduated from Howard University. She credits her father for instilling in her a strong sense of hard work and the importance of serving her community as a young child. Alfonso graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She started her career at Merck & Co in the sales department, working her way up the career ladder while increasing her department’s diversity by 40% during her 20 year career with the company, one of her proudest career accomplishments. After retiring from her corporate career, she pursued her passion and entered the nonprofit sector where she joined the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind as Chief Operating Officer. While there, she worked hard to create workforce development and training programs, including a new three week residential program at Catholic University for aspiring high school students who were visually impaired or blind.
Alfonso and her husband Pedro Alfonso’s first daughter, Alexandra, is visually impaired. Her daughter reads Braille and uses a cane to get around unfamiliar areas. While raising her daughter, Alfonso became involved in the disability and blindness community. She served on the DC State Advisory Board for Special Education, DC Interagency Coordinating Council, Maryland School for the Blind and the Montgomery County Commission on People with Disabilities.
As an advocate for people with disabilities and inclusiveness and with a desire to control her own schedule, in 2018 Alfonso co-founded Results One LLC, a training firm that works with organizations to help them create a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and accessibility for everyone. Their services include DEI and disability consulting and training, prevention of sexual harassment training, conflict resolution and mediation services, and digital accessibility training. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted her to work on her business full-time and social distancing measures forced her to work from home. In Alfonso’s interview with Partnering Leadership, she discussed how the pandemic impacted her business – when schools and businesses closed due to COVID-19, the public was on the web for everyday activities, including shopping, remote work, education, healthcare, banking and services, and access to their jobs. “During the pandemic digital accessibility became a prime target for my services, as the world became more virtual and services were all being offered online, people with disabilities were being left behind as the web sites, PDFs, mobile apps were not accessible to them,” Alfonso said. She noticed the lack of accessibility, not only for her daughter, born with limited vision, but also noted the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities who now need to access information online. Alfonso had to pivot quickly within her business to educate, test their websites and train her customers on the importance of digital accessibility and accommodating for special needs.
Alfonso was appointed as chair of small business and personal services for DC Mayor Bowser’s leadership committee for the ReOpen DC Advisory Group, an initiative that developed recommendations for a sustainable and equitable recovery during and after the pandemic. Responding to the challenges of her community’s needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and its heightened impacts for disparities in access to healthy foods, Alfonso and her husband launched Close the Gap, a food insecurity fundraising initiative to provide groceries and resources to immigrant families who aren’t eligible for traditional assistance. Alfonso also was selected as co-chair of Age-Friendly DC, an initiative that aims to increase community and small business resources to better serve clients and patrons of all ages.
As a result of her efforts and successes supporting diversity and inclusion, Alfonso knows about the resources available for minority and women small businesses. Her small business accomplishments have landed her business, Results One, as a participant in theGoldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program, a training program that increases business and job opportunities for small businesses and the communities they serve. As an advisory board member of the DC Women’s Business Center and the Greater Washington Black Chamber of Commerce, Alfonso is passionate about supporting and serving the needs of small minority-owned businesses. Alfonso is also the Digital Content Accessibility Guru at Hera Hub DC, a co-working space, where she offers digital accessibility consulting and advice. When Alfonso is not running and managing her business, she enjoys a really good movie, a good book, knitting and being anywhere near water!
DC Women Business Center (DCWBC) Resource Coordinator Monti Taylor interviewed Alfonso about her experience being a business owner and the resources that helped her grow her business.
1. What does being a business owner mean to you?
It means having the freedom to pursue my vision, follow my passion and do what I love. I wake up every morning excited about what I do, who I am impacting and how I am trying to eliminate barriers as our forefathers did for us by advocating and pursuing a business that I feel will impact people with disabilities. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me an opportunity to create a service that will have a meaningful impact on people. Second, it provides me with the ability to contribute to our economy by hiring people with disabilities. Being a business owner also has enabled me to continue to give back to my community whether by serving on a nonprofit board, women’s social organizations or business organization. Finally, it allows me to see the financial rewards that come with hard work, dedication and commitment.
2. Did you have any mentors/resources that helped you during the startup stage?
Yes, the DC Women’s Business center was a phenomenal resource and I worked with them to become a certified women-owned business as well as took many of the outstanding workshops. The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) under the leadership of Kristi Whitfield was also an outstanding resource through their various training as well as the staff that worked patiently with me as I became a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE). The DC Procurement Technical Assistance (DC PTAC) training was also helpful. I had two mentors that gave me my first two contracts, Patricia Bush (Sustainable Facilities Management Services, Inc) and Evelyn Ross (Fort Myers Construction). Rosie Allen Herring (United Way) and Carolyn Rudd (CRMcorp) have been great mentors who pushed me, listened to me and gave me the advice I needed to proceed and get out of my head and start the business. Finally, my husband, Pedro Alfonso, who has been waiting for me to start a business, has been my best supporter, promoter and advisor and I love him for it.
3. What has been the most effective marketing initiative you have used to promote your business?
The most effective marketing initiative for me has been networking, networking, networking, friends, family, LinkedIn and Word of Mouth. Ninety percent (90% ) of our contracts are through my relationships and networking. Additionally, I have marketed our service through webinars with Marcum Strategies, District of Columbia Society for Human Resource Management (DCSHRM), Blackboard and most recently at the Midatlantic Regional Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Conference held in Baltimore.
4. Is there any other advice or things you think women business owners should know about growing their business?
LEAN IN … and never give up in spite of the challenges and obstacles you will face starting and growing a business.
BE PATIENT. There is no such thing as overnight success. Stay the course, be patient and be persistent. Remember patience is a virtue.
BE SURE TO ASK. Ask for help, ask for the business and you will be surprised how much help you will receive and how much business you may get.
FOLLOW YOUR PASSION. Starting a business takes a lot of time, energy and effort, therefore, it is much more fun, exciting, and fulfilling if you are doing something you LOVE. You will find it easier to commit yourself and stay focused.
NEVER STOP LEARNING. You will find that as your business grows, you may need tools, resources and knowledge to stay on top and adapt to the market changes. Enroll in online workshops, attend business conferences, take advantage of webinars offered and join masterminds. Continued learning will improve your business and build possibilities for new ideas and opportunities.
NETWORK WITH OTHER WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS. Join Women’s Entrepreneurs groups… I found joining women’s groups that are focused on building businesses has increased my knowledge, sales and provided me with friendships, mentors, and peers who support my business.
TELL EVERYONE. Tell everyone about your business. Your friends, family members, acquaintances. Attend networking opportunities, political events, etc, and tell everyone.
DON’T LET SELF-DOUBT STOP YOU. Second-guessing and fear hold so many women back.
FIND A MENTOR. A great mentor will coach you, introduce you to people, advise you and provide you with the reality check you may sometimes need.
TAKE TIME TO RELAX AND CARE FOR YOURSELF. With the stress of starting and running a business, you need to make sure you take time to relax, unwind, exercise, and stay healthy not only physically but mentally.
The DC Women’s Business Center provides mentoring, training, counseling and access to capital. DCWBC is a small business development organization whose mission is to empower women entrepreneurs to build resilient and successful businesses in the DMV region. If you need further guidance please register for a one-on-one counseling session with our small business advisors at dcwbc.org
The DC Women’s Business Center is funded in part by the Small Business Administration and is a program of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.