Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity on a daily basis. For the next 29 days, you will be able to celebrate wonderful human beings, like, Littie Brown with us.
Inspirational, influential, creative, dynamic communicator, are words most often used to describe entrepreneur and author, Littie Brown. Through her years of employment and community involvement, Littie has helped individuals personally and professionally realize their dreams.
Because of her investment in their lives, many persons have been promoted, taken on new opportunities and realized their own potential.
Professionally, Littie has successfully led sales organizations for three Fortune 500 Companies. She began her career in sales and sales management with Xerox Corporation where she spent 26 years. From there, she went on to Dunn & Bradstreet and then to W.W. Grainger, Inc. as Regional Sales Vice President rounding out 35 years of corporate leadership.
Today, Littie is in her ninth year as an entrepreneur where she is the President/Co-Owner of LittKare, LLC (dba) SpeedPro Marietta, specializing in large format printing. From banners to vehicle wraps, SpeedPro Marietta helps companies bring visibility to their business or organization. Her motto is “if you can image it, they can print it.”
Since becoming an entrepreneur, Littie has become active in the business community. Serving on several boards, Littie recently ended her term as President of NAWBO/Atlanta: National Association of Women Business Owners, Atlanta Chapter, she is the 1st Vice-Chair for PIAG: Printing and Imaging Association of Georgia, Board Member of Cobb Chamber, and a Board Member for Zion Baptist Academy.
Previous positions include, the Past President of East Cobb Business Association, and Past Vice-Chair for MBEIC: Minority Business Enterprise Industry Council). Littie is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Cobb and currently a board member of the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association.
Littie is known as a mentor, teacher, advocate, and an author. In 2016, Littie published her first book, “Leadership Lessons from the HART: Keys, Tips, and Insights on Successfully Leading in Business and in Life.” Her second book, “An Issue of the HART: Learning to Be a Great Giver in Business and in Life” is slated to launch in 2022. Littie has spoken to both primary and secondary students at numerous high schools and universities. Most notably, she was a guest panelist for the Cole School of Business at Kennesaw State University.
As a business owner, Littie continues to share her knowledge, passion and insights wherever she is asked. She was a panelist for the Women of NABA Empowerment Forum, a panelist for the 17th Annual Phenomenal Women’s Conference at Kennesaw State University, a guest speaker at the East Cobb Business Association monthly luncheon, a guest presenter/teacher for the NAWMBA conference (National Association of Women M.B.A.) just to name a few.
In 2019, SpeedPro Marietta was selected as one of the Top 25 Small Businesses of the Year by the Cobb Chamber. SpeedPro Marietta was again recognized as one of the Top 30 Small Businesses of the Year by the Cobb Chamber in 2021.
Littie earned a B.B.A. in Management from Texas State University. She is single and very active in leadership roles in her church, Turner Chapel AME in Marietta, GA, and the community. She is an active member and officer of the Rho Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her interests include travel, golf, sporting events, and spending time with friends and family. She resides in Mableton, Georgia.
Let’s meet and celebrate Littie:
What’s your origin story?
I was raised as a military brat. My dad was in the Air Force and my mom was an educator. I moved five times as a child. My last move was to Austin, Texas, where I finished my junior high and senior high school years. I graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, and was hired by Xerox Corporation in Austin, Texas. I went on to spend the next 35 years with three Fortune 500 companies with 26 of those years at Xerox Corp. I still consider Texas as home even though I have been a Georgia resident for the past 18 years.
How did you get into the graphic printing industry?
I would say the business found us. After spending most of my career in Corporate America, I was looking for something new. I received a call from a franchise consultant saying you should consider owning your own business. After sharing the information with my friend, Karen Brown, who always wanted to own her own business, we had the wild idea of going into business together. With my sales background and Karen’s architectural/operations background, we thought this could be a great partnership.
Along with being friends for more than 10 years, our trust in God and similar work ethic, we felt we would be successful. We were presented with several options and felt the SpeedPro option would be the best for us. Large format printing was a new market and on the cutting edge of printing.
We had the opportunity to purchase an existing business that would get us off to a good start. This opportunity would be the most challenging and most rewarding. We would be able to grow the business and positively impact the community.
Who were your mentors?
We have several mentors in the SpeedPro network and other business mentors that had been entrepreneurs themselves. Our network of support is too large to call any one person out, but our biggest mentors would have to be both of our moms! They may not have given us business advice, but they are our biggest champions.
While there will be others, what do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
I believe every year is a big achievement, but the one that sticks out the most, was achieving the revenue goal we have been reaching for over the last few years. We were finally able to get our business over the $500K mark during the pandemic.
We never closed our doors and even purchase new equipment. The 15th of February marks our nine-year anniversary as SpeedPro Marietta business owners. Being the only all-Black Female business ownership in the franchise and one of a very few owners in the industry, is a great accomplishment. I applaud all Black-owned small businesses that are still making it!
What drives you to create?
I don’t consider myself a creative person, but I am always thinking of new ways to grow the business. I enjoy having creative people around me. If you can show it to me, I can probably sell it.
What TV series or movies are portraying powerful, inspirational Black images over the past year that mean something to you?
One of the best documentaries that inspired me was Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. As a member of the sorority, to see the history played out on the screen was inspirational, educational, and enlightening.
The movies that inspire me are, Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker and Hidden Figures. To see Black women that are determined, resilient, and smart is truly inspirational.
REELated: Read about others on The Reel Black List
What is the biggest challenge to Black people in your industry?
I believe the biggest challenge is connections. Because we are not visible in the industry, we must rely on help and support from people who don’t look like us. Often, we must push harder to get our face out there and be recognized for our talents, skills, and abilities. Building relationships is key to our success in the business. Those relationships produce opportunities, referrals, and knowledge.
This industry was new to us when we started, so we had to learn everything from scratch. Having the backing of the franchise made the process easier and smoother. The owners are a very supportive franchise network. You can email for help at any time and receive multiple replies to any question.
Black people can be successful in this business just like they can in any other business they choose to get in to. It just takes drive, determination and sometimes just being in the right place at the right time.
How has having the superpower of your Blackness helped you?
As business partners, Karen and I were both raised to be proud of who we are and strive to be the best we can be. While we come from different areas and backgrounds, we have several common threads. Our Christian upbringing, our focus on education and our commitment to family. Our superpower has taken us through all of life’s challenges both good and bad and it is what drives our business.
If Black culture is your superpower, what is your kryptonite?
Lazy people! Especially people who have great potential and just don’t want to put it to use. Finding good staff can be a challenge.
When you’re not working or creating, what do you do in your off time?
I don’t take enough time for myself, but when I do, I am playing golf. I love the sport. I am very active in my sorority, Rho Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and I enjoy entertaining friends and family. It has been quite difficult these last few years and it is well overdue.
Predict your future! Where are you in 5 years?
In five years, I am enjoying life. I will have a staff that will run the day-to-day business operations while I am out meeting new people. You will also find me actively taking part in community activities and I am regularly playing golf.