Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

LAEDA Hosts Its 1st Ever Virtual Graduation

Posted on 11/2/2020 by Ray Lamboy

Camden, NJ- A favorite tradition amongst staff, every October LAEDA takes the time to acknowledge its community of entrepreneurs and small business owners with an annual graduation ceremony for its cornerstone nine-week trainings, the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) and the Women’s Business Academy. Held on Thursday, October 29th, the event featured 27 newly minted graduates from the Fall 2019, Winter 2020, and Spring 2020 cohorts. The only difference was that this year, the tradition went virtual.

In the introductory announcements, Ray Lamboy, President & CEO of LAEDA spoke, “Each individual came to LAEDA for help in bringing their talents forward to open his or her business and each individual worked so hard in the program. Tonight we want to recognize each individual’s achievement.”
Next, Krista Bey, owner and operator of Elegant Lotus, LAEDA board member, and EDTP alumni, came to the stage to share her thoughts and experiences. “A MAP is a valuable strategy in the life of any business owner. This means, as an entrepreneur, you need to have a Mentor, Appreciation, and Perseverance,” she emphasized.

After Mrs. Bey’s celebratory speech, the audience heard from class representatives. At the end of each cohort, participants elect a leader to represent them by giving a speech during graduation. The 2019/20 student representatives were Chanté Brown of Sterile Instruments Processing Institute, Shakira Sampson of Delicate Homecare Agency Corp, and Mimi West of WMB Construction Services, LLC. Each of these ladies used this opportunity to thank their counselors, LAEDA staff, the instructors, and their fellow classmates for contributing to their success during this intense period of learning and growing.

“The first step was signing up for this class, showing up on time, and completing each assignment. Now, I wish each of you more success,” stated Ms. Brown.
“None of us were ready for 2020, but because of LAEDA, the most incredible thing is that we are prepared to run our businesses no matter what is thrown at us. In this class, we birthed our businesses from Auto-Detailing Shops to Female-owned barbershops. Session 86, we made it. Thank you,” declared Ms Sampson, bursting with excitement for herself and her classmates.

Ms. Mimi West represented the third and final cohort with a congrats for “completing and persevering through a nine-week training on the computer when not all of us were computer savvy! Now we must stay focused and use the resources given to us to achieve success in our businesses.”

Ms. Kat Harrison, Program Manager of the LAEDA Business Services Center, thanked instructors for their support of LAEDA’s mission. “LAEDA instructors are not just experts in their fields but experts in doing their business in our [LAEDA’s and our students’] community. This year’s Instructor of the Year award was presented to Marketing instructor, Ms. Trina Allen, CEO of JAM Consulting International, LLC.

Although not presented in person, Certificates and LAEDA pins were mailed to all graduates by LAEDA’s administrative staff. Annabel Soto, LAEDA’s Office Administrator gave encouraging words to the new graduates describing the meaning behind their pins and certificates. “Your Journey has just begun, keep it going and don’t give up and we can only help you when you let us know,” she expressed.

In closing, President & CEO Raymond Lamboy left graduates with these words, “When things get hard, always remember your WHY! This will be the gas in your tank that will keep you going. Also remember LAEDA is here for you as much or as little as you need. Your success is our success since you are now a part of the LAEDA family.”
The graduation ceremony, which was pre-recorded and premiered LIVE on LAEDA’s YouTube station concluded with thank you to all of our donors without whom we would not be able to exist and a final “procession” of each student receiving their certificates from their counselors (proper social distancing protocols were followed!

Thank you to all who attended online to watch our graduation ceremony premiere. It was a wonderful experience sharing comments with each of you and doing our best to replicate the excitement and pride that accompanies an in-person ceremony.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the LAEDA alumni network, apply online or call us at 856-338-1177 for more information. The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) is an intensive nine-week program that takes place two times a year. The Women’s Business Academy’s nine-week program began in 2016 and takes place one time per year. Each provides 72+ hours of training from industry professionals, business planning, and one year of technical assistance.