Indianapolis' Black Expo
Carla Harris reveals how to succeed in business
July 14, 2015
The key to success in business is to understand what the consumers want, to be direct about compensation and to take risks, author and businesswoman Carla Harris said.
Harris, author of "Strategize to Win," spoke on July 14 at Indiana Black Expo's Summer Celebration. The event, called Lunch and Learn, was sponsored by Harris' employer, Morgan Stanley. Harris' book, which she promoted through the event, outlines her success in business and how she achieved it.
“After 20 years on the street, I clearly realized that there was a lot more to your success equation than just being smart and working hard,” Harris said.
She works as senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley and has recently been appointed by President Obama as a chairperson of the National Women’s Business Council.
Harris was born in Port Arthur, Texas, and raised in Jacksonville, Fla. She is a Harvard Law graduate, but did not have much experience before getting her first job as a Wall Street broker.
“The only job that I had on my resume when I got my first Wall Street job was McDonald's,” Harris said.
Harris said her business success was fueled by her struggles, and she learned being successful was harder than she thought it would be.
“Fear has no place in your success equation... What’s the worst thing that can happen if you take a risk and it doesn’t work out? You fail. But guess what, failure always brings you a gift and that gift is called experience."
Loretto Farr, executive pastor of Overcoming Church in Indianapolis and a coaching business consultant, said she was inspired by Harris' success. She said the event was an important opportunity for black business people.
"To see how she was able to transcend and climb up the ladder gives hope to a lot of small businesses,” Farr said. “Empowerment is probably what I feel something like this [event] is for. Our culture [has] to be able to be empowered, to be able to have the understanding, the coming together and the networking is giving us tools to perform better."
Andres Cruz, Purdue University student and The Travelers Companies insurance agency intern, said the event was a chance for all types of people to gain connections and market themselves.
“I think [this event] helps teach both the young and the older black population here, in Indianapolis, and all across Indiana, a lot of professional skills and methods that we can use to gain better understanding in the business environment,” Cruz said.
Cruz said he will use Harris’ methods as examples in his life. He said he learned from the sharing of her success in the professional world.
“All of her success in the past and the way that she communicates her experiences and teaches other people about her success is just really awesome,” Cruz said. “The confidence that she portrayed and said that you have to present yourself with really goes far. I’ll definitely be doing that.”