Take a moment to be inspired as you read about Yolanda, and how she succeeded her goal as an entrepreneur.
Yolanda Conner, recent entrepreneur, has pushed through various obstacles in life to achieve her dreams. And there is no stopping now.
Two years ago, Yolanda was interested in taking Bridges’ financial management class. After expressing this interest to Autumn at the YWCA, she was told that the Getting Ahead would be a good idea for her to take as well.
Like many of our Getting Ahead graduates, going into the class, Yolanda originally thought she would not have anything in common with her classmates. In hindsight, her biggest takeaway was discovering she had much more in common with others than she realized and as a result was able to share personal experiences and learn from them. She also learned South Bend has more resources for those in need than she was initially aware of.
On the other hand, she said, “The most difficult part about going through the classes was having to take a strong and honest look at myself.” She said it is hard to ask yourself who you are and what your goals are. “It’s hard to figure out who you are if you have never taken a true glance. But doing this in these classes really put me on a road to financial recovery, emotional recovery, and it boosted my self-esteem…this enabled me to seriously start my business.”
Y’s Shuttle Service, LLC specializes in the transport of children. Yolanda realized that as a single mom, it was often very difficult to get her son to and from school. He was in a private school for a while, so there were no buses. But even when there are school buses, if children are in sports, there is no transportation for them after their practices finish.
“I realized a lot of people have probably struggled with the same thing I struggled with,” said Yolanda. “As a parent you can’t always just leave work when your children need transportation, or if you do, you may have to make up that time later. It’s also possible many people struggle with just having a car. I wanted to be a resource others can rely on, just like I had resources to help me start the business—I want to make the circle of resources a bit.
After completing Bridges’ classes, Yolanda was also a graduate of the SPARK program through Saint Mary’s, who helps women with few means to start their own businesses. Her business has now been in service for about a year and she hopes it will continue to serve people in the community and even expand some.
In talking about her business, she said, “Not everything has gone as I hoped it would, but it did not go as bad as it could have gone either.” A dream of hers would be to see her business grow into a fleet of vehicles, not just one vehicle, and maybe even extend its reach beyond St. Joseph County.
Yolanda says the most important thing to keep in mind is to never give up. “Keep trucking away,” she said, “Never in a million years did I think I would be a business owner, but here I am! I am still trying to find my niche, but I will keep going. There will be ups and downs, but you can’t give up, you must try to find your place in a community. Above all, I keep praying.”
Yolanda is eternally grateful for the network of empowering women who have come into her life and helped her through. “I wouldn’t be where I am without them,” she said.