By Joseph McCain
The Winston County Journal
Building a business from the ground up is always challenging yet it is a challenge Shelley Thomas relishes.
As she reflects, she sees the new business as a culmination of the foundations she has built in her own life with the help of others.
The idea of entrepreneurship started as a young age for Shelley Thomas since her dad, James L. Cresswell owned six businesses and still always had time for his two children.
In college, several persons helped bring her out of her shell and focus on her calling of developing her leadership skills.
After college, she participated in a traveling leadership program aimed at developing student leaders and recruiting students nationwide.
Folowing her position at MSU, Georgia Pacific called and hired her as an advisor to train managers and employees. She helped employees develop the skills for efficiency and job improvement.
After Georgia Pacific closed Thomas moved forward by joining the East Central Community College team. She helped open the ECCC workforce-training program in Louisville and build up the center for the college.
After several years building the ECCC program, Thomas felt the pull of fitting her dreams of creating her own business.
“I started planning a year ago,” said Thomas. She noted that her bosses at ECCC were very supportive of her endeavors and planning.
She began to build clientele and moved out on her own into her new business Thomas Leadership Consultants (TLC).
Thomas felt her genuine concern for people and her active personality could make a bigger difference in the world helping others become leaders, managers and top employees.
“I could have done the consulting out of my home but my heart is in helping people find a career and helping others move forward as others have helped me move forward,” said Thomas.
With the recognition that others have helped her develop as a person and a leader, Thomas as part of her grand opening and ribbon cutting recognized nine of those special people.
Thomas first recognized her father James L. Cresswell.
“I wanted to prove the point that leadership skills start at home,” said Thomas.
Thomas outlined how her father as a single dad ran six businesses and helped instill an entrepreneurial spirit in her along with a good work ethic. She added that her father also always took time for his two children by attending all the important events when she and her sibling were growing up.
Thomas then recognized Marissa Atkinson who now lives at Oxford but was the president of the Thomas’ sorority when she was a freshman and Atkinson worked with her to develop her leadership skills.
“She saw potential in me,” said Thomas.
Thomas recognized her husband Dow Thomas for his supportive nature in all her endeavors.
“He has always encouraged me,” said Thomas. “He helped me overcome my fears of starting this new business.”
Thomas recognized her former boss at Georgia Pacific David Key who taught her about manufacturing and how people are a businesses greatest resource.
“He helped me learn to relate to all different types of people and finding their skill,” said Thomas.
Thomas also recognized Alderwoman Judy McLeod for her leadership in the community.
Thomas then recognized Joseph Knight who served as her former boss at ECCC and also introduced her to several other persons who would help her develop as a leader and now business owner.
Thomas also recognized Dodie Conklin, Craig Jackson, Dr. Lemond Irvin and Cecilia Garris all who contributed to specific skills that are being used at her new business.
“The message is that it takes someone to take an interest in you and help develop your talents and skills… That is what this is all about,” said Thomas.
Thomas noted her new business would was not only aimed at helping persons find a job but find a career, find success and match to the right business.
“When someone comes in here, I hope to help them determine what success is to them,” said Thomas.
Thomas with her company Thomas Leadership Consultants, LLC will provide Human Resources, Business Consulting, Employee and Work Team Training throughout the State but will focus mainly on Winston County.
She will also provide job referral services to all local and surrounding area employers.
“I have trained and counseled our local workforce for the last 4 years and know how to pinpoint great staff to add to your team,” said Thomas.
Thomas will also help job seekers with resume and cover letter development service, career coaching, assistance with completing job applications, and prep interviews.
“We have a workforce that wants to improve their skills. They just need someone to focus on them and get them where they want to go,” said Thomas.
The ribbon cutting for the business was held November 15.
“I am so excited about this adventure,” said Thomas.