Rolling out sat down with Vice President of Sales Education & Engagement for U.S. Bank-Elavon, Terra Wallace, to discuss her leadership initiative to support Black businesses and communities. The Fortune 500 company announced a $450,000 investment to The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs.
Can you share with us a little bit about the journey on how you got here before announcing the investment?
I came across RICE, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs in March of 2020. We were going through the pandemic and I knew a lot of Black businesses were struggling. You know, the pandemic affected small Black businesses very differently than it affected other small businesses, or non-minority businesses, and I was trying to find a way to continue to encourage our Black small businesses during that time and give them hope and resources as they were out trying to figure it out. I came across the CEO of RICE, Mr. J. Bailey and here we are making this huge announcement about a $450,000 investment that we at US Bank and Elavon are making into the RICE Center.
For those that don’t know, what does Elavon do for entrepreneurs?
We are a company that is constantly on the cutting edge of technology of mobile payments, and digital payments, and we’re continuing to evolve and grow. And on top of that, we’re in the community. So not only are we helping you take your payments, but we’re also becoming a resource for you as you continue to grow your business.
You and Dr. Bernice King actually had a conversation. What was it like when you were able to bring her voice and her mission to Elavon?
What I loved about it was the opportunity to share history with so many of my colleagues from across all these different walks of life. We had over 450 employees in attendance and a lot of our executives. I think everybody in that moment, we’re all in this room, like taking part in this moment in history and humanity at the same time. So it was pretty awe-inspiring for me.
What can you share with entrepreneurs that they should know in their relationship with a processor?
You want to understand who you’re doing business with. The ethics of the company that you’re doing business with is hugely important and US Bank has continually been recognized as the world’s most ethical company. Partnering with a company that’s going to help you grow and considering your business long-term is also very important.
Can you share just a little insight on how you envision both your time and your talent being shared at RICE?
We intend to be a hub inside of RICE. We want to have a presence there. We want to have meet and greets there. We want to have bankers there. We want to have [opportunities] for you to understand our process and all of those things that are important to you as a business owner. So we plan to be part of the community. The goal is for you to at any time, be able to bump into myself or Jamie, or some other executive from Elavon, US Bank and ask a question about your business.
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