Read how two DOBE’s pursued a career in their respective fields. Each one has brought their own vision and narrative to their businesses and are ready to give insight as to the challenges they face, what keeps them motivated, and what makes them different from the competition.
Why did you go into business for yourself?
Lindsey: liked the idea of earning a living from being creative and producing results.
Liza: I have a passion for IT and I felt that I could do a better job of providing IT consulting services. Owning my own business gave me an opportunity to provide these services at a higher level. I have zero tolerance for error and I wanted to be part of an organization that believed in raising the bar to the highest standards for both the commercial and government sectors.
What was your thought behind the industry/niche you chose?
Liza: My core competency was providing IT consulting services to the financial sector. Since IT consulting services is not unique to the financial sector, I wanted to expand those services and provide it to all private sector industries as well as the government sector.
Lindsey: It took me 3 years to become qualified for a job that I quit after 3 months.
I had 40K of student loan debt and I decided to find another way to apply what I learned in grad school on my own terms.
What is your company’s mission?
Lindsey: To transform “not” “able” into notable by making disability worth talking about and employment a reality
Liza: We are dedicated to the idea of providing the customer with the right set of technical skills needed for a particular project and ensuring that projects stay on track and are designed and implemented in a manner that focuses on scalability, stability and what is best for the customer.
What is your motivation–gets you up every morning and keeps you focused as a business owner?
Liza: The joy of delivering consulting projects that meet or exceed customer expectations and delivering scalable, stable projects on time and within budget
Lindsey: Truth be told, I hate mornings. But I do love staying up until 3 a.m. working
on growing my business. I am motivated by individual stories and the collective impact we’ve made helping 2000+ people with disabilities get good jobs.
What has been your biggest challenge/risk? And did it work out?
Lindsey: I’ve learned to manage our cash flows a lot better, but it’s cash flow that continues to restrict our growth. For the past year, we’ve bootstrapped to build a technology platform and this has drained our resources. Now that it’s ready to launch, there is an ongoing negotiation between time and money. We already have customers interested in using our platform, but my team is at capacity with work they need to do to keep our current obligations met.
Liza: Our biggest challenge/risk is to consistently stay in alignment with our ever changing client needs.
What has been your biggest investment in your business- and was it worth it?
Lindsey: My time. I’m still waiting to find out.
Liza: Time and Money. When I started the company over 20 years ago, I worked 20 hours a day / 7 days a week for the first few years and I poured every penny I had into it. It was so worth it.
Why was it important to apply for and maintain national certification through USBLN?
Liza: Applying and maintaining a USBLN certification gives a voice to those with disabilities and allows us to show everyone that we are just as competent and productive as everyone else.
Lindsey: I joined the USBLN to come out of the shadows since my disability is invisible.
I’ve maintained my certification because of their commitment to my professional and business growth. I’ve been in business for 8 years and becoming a DOBE is one of my top 3 best business decisions.
What is the single most important bit of advice you would give to a disability entrepreneur who is just starting out?
Lindsey: Surround yourself with smart people that can ask tough questions and hold you accountable for execution.
Liza: It is most important to work closely with your customers to ensure you consistently align with their needs.
What makes you stand apart from your competition?
Liza: Extensive Fortune 100 clients and government experience, clear understanding of best commercial practices, utilize state-of-the-art technologies and partner solutions with a focus on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products and committed to being part of the team and serving its commercial and government clients 24/7, anywhere in the world.
Lindsey: My ability to leverage technology in new and innovative ways.
Did you have a mentor or someone you leaned on for advice? If so, who?
Lindsey: I have several mentors, but Jay Bendis, Transfer Technology Partners, is my favorite coach. He is always my first call and I’m grateful that I can rely on his advice.
Liza: MY MOM! She always told me that regardless of your circumstances, you can be successful at anything you wanted, as long as you try hard enough. … and she was right.
What are three words that best describes you?
Liza: Passionate, driven, complex
Lindsey: energetic, bold, and notable
Lindsey Haaser, Founder and CEO, Advocations
To transform “not” “able” into notable by making disability worth talking about and employment a reality. As a confidential 3rd party resource, Advocations is uniquely positioned to address disability-related concerns, while helping companies source, train, and retain an inclusive workforce. Our proactive approach builds trust, increases self-disclosure and makes disability something worth talking about.
Advocations was founded in 2009, and is a Woman Owned Firm certified by WBENC and also certified through USBLN, as a Disability Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE®). They are located in Charlotte, NC, to learn, more click here: http://www.advocations.org
Liza Zaneri, CEO, Base One Technologies
Base One Technologies provides the total solution. With today’s rapidly changing technologies, we can provide our customers with faster more accurate information. Our clients depend on their systems to be accurate, efficient and robust. We develop world class solutions and provide implementation services that provide more profitability and help run businesses more efficiently. Our mission critical applications are scaleable and reliable.
Our solutions provide effective business strategies for our customers’ needs. Our services range from gathering customer requirements to architecture, design and development through to implementation and support.
In her free time, Liza enjoys exploring the world’s waterways and running in marathons. Base One Technologies is located in New Rochelle, NY and is a USBLN Certified Disability Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE®). To learn more about Base One Technologies, click here: https://www.base-one.com