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Inspiring Conversations with Angela Douglas of Douglas Strategy Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Douglas.

Hi Angela, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
I grew up in Chester SC. I loved the community but it was limited and I needed to see more. I traveled across the country and furthered my education along the eastern seaboard – DC, Virginia, Georgia, and Columbia.

I worked for state government in various capacities and kept a role in academia. In 2007, I decided to go into academia full-time as a university lecturer and coordinator for the Master of Public Administration program. I remained involved in politics, governance, and community in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

After 8 years, I was pulled toward change. I wanted to have a more profound impact on community and leadership development. In 2015, I had an opportunity to assist with business and tax development for small businesses while I worked on research and my own consulting firm. That opportunity enabled me to move back to Chester SC and freed me to do some creative community engagement in my hometown.

Later that year, I ran for and won a seat on Chester City Council. 60% of the vote in a 3-way race! It was time to demonstrate good leadership in an elected role that I had studied, taught, trained, and written about for years. I am a professional political scientist. I have degrees in political science, history, and public administration. I have credentials in housing, taxation, and leadership.

However, my parents my first teachers and examples of leadership and activism. They were always involved in the community and required us to be active in community-related service organizations too. My dad always said, “There is a greater purpose beyond ourselves in this life.” And, he lives his life to give back to the community and its people, so I guess I can say community-focused is just the way I was reared.

When I started Douglas Strategy Group, LLC, I wanted to recruit, train, and help good leaders. Never did I think it would be in such a diverse and impactful way. The evolution of DSGLLC has been extremely fulfilling as it aligns with my purpose to build my community in the most positive way.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’m from a small town, own a small business, am a black woman in politics and government in the South… I would ask if that was a joke or a real question. But, of course, there have been many challenges and obstacles. In business and in governance, it is always a bit of a challenge to get others on board with your vision or to be taken seriously as an expert or professional.

However, we must persist and allow them to see our contributions. It goes back to the adage – “Action speaks louder than words.” With such persistence, I have been able to bring millions of dollars into my community to help its residents. I worked very hard to guard against the appearance of any unethical dealings.

Therefore, I gave away and turned away a great deal of business. For a small startup, that meant limiting my company’s growth. I did not want to compromise or even seemingly compromise my integrity or that of the community. Social capital and partnership development were important to my ability to transform my community.

Chester SC is small in a low-resourced community. We do not have tons of millionaires and philanthropists willing to give. Professionally, we have experienced a traditional brain drain, where our college students do not return home to invest their newly learned skills and education. Low capacity and low resources can often slow and sometimes kill progress.

Nonetheless, I have encouraged what I call “stacking coupons” or creatively combining opportunities, resources, and incentives to make progress possible. Through my reiterated, encouraged, and committed community outreach, partnership development, and creative collaborations, Chester has seen more opportunity in the last 7 years than it has in many many many years.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Douglas Strategy Group LLC?
DSG is a boutique consulting firm. I essentially assist organizations and individuals build capacity to make a difference in their lives and in their communities. Initially, offering mostly assistance in the area of campaign politics, I quickly realized that my purpose was much greater than that.

Thus, I have built the business upon my expertise in governance, community outreach, marketing, and economic policy. My current foci have been three-fold: to assist clients with maximizing the current tax policies in their decision making to encourage growth in housing through nonprofit partnership development and outreach
to address racial and discriminatory practices through research and policy development

I offer empowerment speaking and workshops, strategic planning, organizational assessments, public affairs and community engagement, grant development and sustainability, and business consulting. I also collaborate with an accounting firm, Ambassador’s Business & Tax Services for extended business consulting and tax services, including planning.

I am very hands-on. Many firms similar to DSGLLC offer canned presentations, reports, and engagement activities. However, smaller and more rural communities need more involved outreach, customized activities, and more collaborative opportunities. One size never fits smaller communities.

My trajectory of having been born and reared in a small rural community, educated, lived and worked in mostly large metropolitan areas, and relocated back to the small area has given me a great mix of resources, experience, and expertise to assist my clients based on their actual needs.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Other than placing me in the right place at the right time, I am not sure if luck or coincidence has been a major factor in my trajectory in life or business. I have a great foundation in education, focused study, and hard work.

However, I can say that I have been blessed by having achievable visions for myself, my business, and my community. With great vision, education, and tenacity, I have been well prepared to take full advantage of those chance meetings.


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