Before she became La Juana the “PMO CEO” Chambers Lawson, La Juana began her career by interning on Capital Hill, grant writing for several non-profits and even teaching AP Biology.
It was her position at a local school district as the District Grant Administrator that brought her closer to her path of entrepreneurship. La Juana was used to managing grants for the district as part of a larger team, but after new leadership brought on changes, she found herself carrying too much on her own. “I said to myself, if you stay here, you’re gonna burn out…I had to move on. So, I started Tacit Growth Strategies,” says La Juana.
Tacit Growth Strategies began with grant writing, but soon would grow into more. A few months after starting her business, La Juana wrote a proposal that resulted in a multi-billion-dollar grant for a customer. This early success set the foundation for what was to come.
La Juana’s community connections also helped her business grow. Her board position with the Women’s Chamber of Commerce helped her generate interest in her new business and one day she received a recognition that would take her by surprise: she was nominated for a feature in Oprah’s O magazine. La Juana says, “I accepted the nomination…I had the confidence at that point to just go full time with Tacit and I’ve been full time ever since.”
However, La Juana did face multiple struggles when first starting her business, including inconsistency in revenue and handling two businesses at the same time. She says, “I started Tacit Growth Strategies in 2018, January, and then I became President and Chair for the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum.” It was a challenge to manage her dedication and relationships in both spheres. She says, “the greatest obstacle was that I split my audience’s attention. They wanted to support me, but they knew that supporting me meant supporting Tacit on a profit side and then supported supporting the African American Museum on a nonprofit side.”
Her entrepreneurial journey would continue when a friend and fellow business owner introduced her to Liftfund, where La Juana found a community of entrepreneurs like her. She says, “I felt like I was part of a community at that point that really was interested in seeing Tacit Grow Strategies be successful. Ever since then, LiftFund has just been instrumental to all the growth and all [of our] upward trajectory.”
It was through a LiftFund loan that La Juana would invest in one of her most stable sources of revenue: project management. She hired a PMO (project management office) director with financial support from LiftFund and got her license as an authorized training partner to help clients get their PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.
Now Tacit Growth strategies is a leading management consulting firm and project management office serving both commercial and non-profit businesses across the country and abroad. In her work, La Juana strives to connect organizations and professionals, focused on community success. She says, “we can now gather these crumbs and [make] a massive, beautiful cake working together rather than just scurrying for these little crumbs and keeping the little problems…That’s really what the company is about. That’s the type of work that we’re able to do now, because of the capital that we’re getting from the PMP exam prep.”
La Juana is inspired by the work she does and feels blessed to be trusted to help others solve their problems. She says, “I have clients that call me every single morning, at the same time …Those calls are now mission moments. I get the call, and I’m like I got it. I know why I’m here.”
In the future, La Juana envisions that Tacit Growth Strategies will be publicly traded and continue to provide more services to connect non-profits across all barriers.