By Jillian Festa
Business aficionado Taneshia Nash Laird kicked off the College’s fall 2014 Brown Bag series on Friday, Sept. 12, with her presentation, “The Accidental Entrepreneur: Adventures in the Arts, Sports and Community Development.” The Brown Bag series features weekly hour-long talks by speakers, hosted by the Department of Arts and Communication.
Laird, who is a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” began her first-ever presentation about her life with the Dictionary.com definition of an entrepreneur: A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. Through years of steadfast determination and inspired passion, Laird proved to have written her own definition of a businessperson, or as she likes to call it: #SingleMomMogul.
Laid boasted a lengthy portfolio of business pursuits. With her late-husband Roland Laird, she co-founded the TV, book and film enterprise Posro Media, which created one of the first black-owned independent comic book publishing companies in the country. She even gave inner city artists their first professional jobs, an accomplishment that was applauded in the New York Times.
Laird was also the producer and host of NY Rap, a public access cable show based in Manhattan. It featured music videos and community action.
She is Chief Marketing Officer for My Image Studios (MIST) in Harlem, which has been coined “Harlem’s Living Room” — a restaurant, music venue and theater. It is an environmentally friendly social venture created to strengthen the cultures of the African and Latino diasporas.
Closer to campus, Laird was the director of economic development in Trenton, where she focused on business attraction, job creation and expansion. She dedicated herself to Trenton and its large black and Latino community by creating Destination Trenton, a marketing campaign that embraced the arts and heritage of Trenton.
“Trenton has an incredible, authentic history, and more people should be aware of that,” she said.
She also headed LMCK Partners, a consulting company that focuses on community development, specifically in Trenton. She hopes to create the Roebling Innovation Center, a $95 million development which could add 500 to 1,000 jobs in Trenton.
Legacy Business Advisors, Laird’s main business, is a consulting company dedicated to public and community relations with a focus in arts, entertainment and sports.
Laird is Managing Partner of Public Relations of Legendary Eats Sandwich House, whose mission is to create healthier versions of entertainment and sports legends’ favorite sandwiches. It was launched in the Staples Center in Los Angeles in April 2014 and has intentions to spread to other arenas.
She describes being a business person as “finding a problem and solving it, and that failing is part of the process.”
Laird earned a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College and is currently pursuing a Master’s in strategic communications from Columbia University.
When asked how she manages to balance everything, she replied that she “takes her kids everywhere.”
Laird states that you should always follow your dreams. She also lives her life by one particular quote: “Invest in your dream. Grind now. Shine later.”