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Octavia Conner: More Than Money Can Buy

Updated: Apr 23

I was immediately impressed when I met Octavia Conner. I had been invited to a watch party by my friend and brand strategist, Nicole Levell, who had been invited by Octavia to appear on the Portia Show as a guest.

 

When I entered Conner’s beautifully decorated office, a feat she managed using her own skills and talents, I was taken by the ambiance, which featured a blend of upscale opulence with comfort. “This is a family run business,” she proudly revealed. She’s been married to her husband for 17 years and she says that she will always support him and push him to achieve his goals. But Conner adds that she also knows “when to be quiet and let her husband lead.” In fact, in her company, her husband’s role/title is Advisor to the CEO. “His advice,” Conner says, “is straight forward, given with love, but it’s unlike any advice that anyone else could give me because he knows me, the good, the bad and the ugly,” Conner admits. Her husband is also universally certified as an HVAC and so he is the man who hung the chandeliers, placed the TVs and other media outlets, and assembled the furnishings throughout the office.



The idea for Conner is to create generational wealth, especially for her children. The mother of four (3 girls and 1 boy) ages 11 – 24 all work the business in some form. Her son, age 24, manages the media seen on YouTube channels, etc. He’s also behind the camera when Conner is hired for speaking engagements. Her 20-year-old daughter has handled bookkeeping from day one and works behind the camera as well. Additionally, the 20-year-old manages and conceptualizes funny TikTok videos for an upbeat and unusual take in the accounting world, which attracts potential clients to their business. The 2 younger daughters, ages 16 and 11 are paid to keep the office organized and clean. However, the 16-year-old will be hired as a part time employee this summer.

 

The inclusivity of a family run business has the advantage of both quality and quantity time spent together. Conner’s office and lobby area have beautiful sofas in which the family can gather to chat or both areas provide her school aged children a place to sit and do homework when necessary. It’s a lesson in struggle and triumph that has enabled Conner to provide the wisdom and care necessary to have both a successful business and a successful family.

 

The seeds were planted early on for Conner to become the financial management guru that she is as she shares that she always excelled in everything math even when she was in school. “Even algebra, geometry, statistics and all those classes that others hated, not me! I loved it. I excelled in math and it was something that I was always drawn to.” As an adult, she became known as the numbers girl, crunching numbers for high profile companies and managing their annual projections.

 

Conner began working in corporate right after graduating high school. While a student at Strayer University, Conner worked as a data entry clerk to support herself and her son, with whom she became pregnant during high school. From data entry she became a book keeper. From there a staff accountant. Then she became an accounting manager and then a CFO for a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company.

 

The road was challenging and without the support of her grandmother, whom Conner affectionately refers to as Madea, it would have been extraordinarily difficult for Conner. She explains that her mother died when she was 5. Her dad was a tractor trailer driver. So her grandmother raised her and her 2 sisters. “She was my everything," says Conner as she reflected on the love and support she received from her now deceased grandmother. When Conner gave birth to her son, she says everyone, including family and friends were hard on her. But not her grandmother. She cared for Conner’s baby while she completed both high school and college, assuring Conner of her love and encouraging her with the belief that she could succeed. Conner was also driven by statistics and the expectation of failure that surrounded her. “In our community,” says Conner, “you hear statements like ‘now your life is going to be hard. It’s over!’ I’m the type of person that when someone says you can’t or you’re going to fail, my mind immediately goes to – I’m going to show you!” And show, she did! Conner graduated high school in the top 5% of her class. “Thankfully, I had my son in the summer so I didn’t miss any school!” Conner says.



After graduating college, Conner persevered, purchased her first home, that she had built from the ground up, and started her business in the same year, 2011. Apparently, the drive, the resilience is home grown, as Conner says she comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her middle sister began a very successful day-care business in Clayton County called Kids of Paradise, many years before Conner started her business in financial management. “Just the freedom that she had and watching her build her business was inspiring.” Says Conner. Her eldest sister is a nurse-practitioner who just received the highest degree of certification and she is now in the process of opening her own business.

 

Yet, with all of this entrepreneurial energy surrounding Conner, she experienced a devastating blow when she almost lost everything! She was managing her sister’s book keeping while working a day job making close to 6-figures. But she felt like she was hitting a ceiling because she didn’t feel fulfilled. While she obviously knew corporate accounting, she knew nothing about small business accounting. However, she knew that small businesses, like her sister's, could benefit from corporate accounting strategies as well. For almost 2 years Conner would sit in her car during lunch or go to the local coffee shops to recruit and provide services to new clients of her own company. Interestingly, as her sister’s business and other businesses that she serviced began to take off, Conner’s didn't. She says she ended up “broke, busted and disgusted!”

 

Conner had been praying and believed that her response was to go out on her own after she received validation one Sunday while at church. The very next day she walked into her cushy job on Monday and quit abruptly. No notice. She just quick! Twelve months later she recalls that her bank account went from a somewhat cushy balance to a negative 152.00! “I wouldn’t even look at the other accounts because they were worse!” Conner admits. “And we were one month away from foreclosure on this custom built home that we owned.”

 

Conner reiterates that while her business was failing, her client’s businesses were growing! She said, ultimately it had to do with her mindset. The expectation she had of herself as an entrepreneur responsible for the revenue necessary to take care of herself and her family needed to change. She knew that she could get a job in corporate, but her mindset hadn’t flipped yet to managing her own business.

 

Conner goes on to reveal that she went back to work for 1 year and 6 months before launching out again with her own business.  Interestingly, Conner says, “God is so good! To this day, I don’t know how I found this program, and I can’t remember the name of it, and I can’t find the paper work, but this program paid my mortgage for a whole year!” She acknowledged her blessings, did the hard work mentally and this time she had a breakthrough. She realized that she was giving everything to everyone else and no fuel for herself or her business. She now shares with others, “you can NOT fully pour into others from an empty cup.”

 

When asked, who is Octavia Conner the woman? – her response is simple yet steeped in spirituality and humility. “Octavia Conner the woman,” she says, “is a God-fearing, God-lead woman that is focused on shifting the financial trajectory of my entire family."

Now that's more than money can buy!


Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is you can do this! You will face road blocks and challenges but it can be done!


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