Friday, January 20, 2012

Leslie Class > www.lccareers.org

Leslie Class, Founder, Learning Curve Career Center (LCC)

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
First, you must have an idea with the patience see it develop and dedication to make it grow. Then, you must have the absolute determination and mindset not to fail. Lastly, you need the vision to see every obstacle as a learning brick for you to build on.

What did inspire you to start your business?
I took vocational training and became a Medical Assistant in 1994. For almost 20 years, I have been building my career as a healthcare professional. In 2004, I became an instructor in the field. Through teaching, I instantly developed a passion for helping others. The fulfillment that I gain by sharing my skills and experiences with my students is inexplicable. However, at that time, I was working for a (national) corporation that regularly markets these types of programs within lower income communities at an extremely inflated price. I witnessed many students deal with loan default and additional financial issues. I became unhappy with the recruitment practices of the institution and I was prompted to open Learning Curve Careers (LCC). I help others begin a career in the same way I did, despite any adversity. I teach students marketable work skills minus the exaggerated cost for the education so they can find meaningful employment.

How did you finance it?
I chose to work two jobs to help finance my dream initially. I currently own and operate a small paramedical company. Class1Paramedical allows me the time and flexibility I need to continue to develop my second business, Learning Curve Careers. I keep expenses down for LCC by forming partnerships with existing organizations.

Being Hispanic… Does it have any influence on your business?
In the New York metropolitan area, this type of career training tends to attract a lot of students, many of which are Hispanic. All potential students are seeking employment training that prepares them rapidly for work. Typical students tend to be female, single parents, underemployed or newly unemployed. The ethnic and racial diversity of the students is similar to that of the surrounding communities. They often have additional socio-economic problems. Many students have jobs, children, and childcare issues, transportation problems, debt and credit issues, and/or lack of self-confidence. I am a Puerto Rican female born and raised in here in New York. I have experienced teenage pregnancy, single motherhood, unemployment, and a lot of economic and personal struggle. I was a victim of domestic abuse, and I am a mother to a child with cerebral palsy. I can relate to my consumers. I believe my experiences and adversities have given me the strength to work for progress, to continue to aspire for more, and the struggles help give me the insight that I need to provide a better product to people that I serve.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I am blessed with a very strong sense of self. I believe in my work, I am proud of what I have accomplished, and I know I am capable of even more, so I continue moving forward and growing. I believe in myself.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Financing is always a huge concern, but I continue to be innovative in my planning, and things are slowly working themselves out, just as they always do.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I want what everyone wants for his or her business; I want to see faster growth. I want to reach more people.

What was your childhood ambition? 
I always wanted to run my own business, to be my own boss.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
I truly admire people who have the determination to build, develop and ultimately realize their dreams. Those are the type of people that effect change in the world. First and foremost, I have always admired my father, Reinaldo Class. He was a successful Latino businessman in the field of electrical contracting. Nancy G. Brinker – is the founder of Susan B. Kolman Foundation, who began this foundation in her living room. Sean Carter, or “Jay Z” is an artist and self-made businessman. He has successfully ¬built his business into an empire.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I think all time frames work for meetings, however meeting topics, and potential attendees should determine what time of day might be most appropriate.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I have sacrificed spending money and my personal time. I only purchase what is really necessary and I work a lot so I don’t feel that I have enough time to spend with my family.

What is your favorite quote? 
Here is only one of many: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” - Harriet Tubman

Is it difficult to be unconventional?  
No. It’s the way I’ve always been.

Biggest mistake made? 
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, I don’t believe in mistakes, only lessons, it’s all how you choose to look.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why? 
I do consider myself an innovator because I choose not to sway in my determination. When I face a challenge, it causes me to be more innovative in my thinking so that I can accomplish whatever it is that I want to do. I like to figure out a problem my own way.

About the company
Learning Curve Career Center (LCC) offers training programs focused in allied healthcare. They are specifically designed towards helping economically challenged members of our communities, those seeking additional job skills, and students aspiring to begin careers in the healthcare field. The training is affordable and prepares students rapidly for certification and employment as a healthcare professional.
The programs empower people and prompt self-sufficiency through job training and placement assistance. We have a variety of classes that focus on the specific skill sets necessary to succeed in a number of different careers. We hope to improve the level of professionalism throughout our neighborhoods and also to expand the available opportunities for residents. 

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