From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
Business Management Associates, Inc. is an Alexandria-based small business that integrates people and process to transform organizations. To learn more about what that means on the ground, we sat down with LaJuanna Russell, President and CEO of BMA.
AEDP: Integrating people and process to transform organization- sounds interesting! Can you tell us more about BMA?
LaJuanna: My company is Business Management and Associates, Inc. and we are actually celebrating our 15th year of being in business. We have been around a long time! We provide human capital services to federal agencies. So, anything relating to the training, hiring, care, and wellbeing of a federal employee – we provide those services. That can range from training to something called competency development programs and we also help federal agencies design their organizations. So, we do a lot of different things in the federal space.
AEDP: We see that you and your business have won a lot of awards- can you elaborate on a few of them?
LaJuanna: We were on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies for three years in a row – 14’, 15’, and 16’. We won the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Best in Business Award in 2018. We have luckily won a lot of different awards. I am on a variety of boards and because of that, a lot of people see me out in the community and nominate me for different awards. We have been very blessed!
AEDP: What is the next big project or goal you are working on?
LaJuanna: Right now, we are really looking to expand our work in data analytics and workforce analysis and planning.
AEDP: Where do you see BMA going- what’s the next phase for you?
LaJuanna: I am working on growing the business so that it can run without me. Right now, it’s all about me all day and I want to have a company where other people are called upon more that I am. We have about 80 employees across the country. So being the mama bird to all those baby birds can get tough. So, for me it’s important to make sure I have a great management team to handle more so that I am not handling everything.
AEDP: What is the best piece of professional advice you have received? Or mentors you have had that helped shaped your business?
LaJuanna: In terms of mentors, I can’t really pinpoint one because there have been many people that have helped and supported over the years. One big thing I learned along the way was to be authentic to who you are and the things that you want to do. Especially in government contracting, it’s so easy to be swayed by any and everything. It’s important to hunker down and focus on who you are and what you want.
One thing that someone once told me is – the pie is big enough. And you don’t have to be dishonest and unethical – the pie is big enough and there is no need for bad behavior. As long as you can distinguish yourself and show your value, your customers will be there.
AEDP: What is the most rewarding aspect of running your business?
LaJuanna: I love seeing people grow and develop. Like folks who maybe have a high school diploma and did not know or think of what else is out there. To bring them into the business and teach them something and then, all of a sudden, you see them blossoming and learning, growing, and developing skills they didn’t even know that they had. Being able to impact someone’s life in that way is one of the most rewarding things to me about having a company.
AEDP: Finally, can you tell us why you decided to locate in Alexandria?
LaJuanna: My family has been in the City of Alexandria since 1920-1925 so, this is home! I am a born and raised Alexandrian. It’s not unusual when sitting in my office, on the corner on Duke and Washington, for me to look out the window and see a member of my family or my cousin walking down the street. It’s kind of funny! My grandmother lives about a mile from me, my other cousin lives up the street and my mom lives in the Fairfax County part of Alexandria. Very lucky and happy to have so much family close by.
To learn more about Business Management Associates, visit their website or visit their office at 228 S Washington Street, Suite 330, Alexandria, VA.