Kadeja Abbott is no stranger to adversity. She overcame challenges, both physical and financial, to make it to VCU’s School of Business. From her grit grew a determination that motivated her to become president of the National Association for Black Accountants at VCU, graduate cum laude, and find employment at an accounting firm while studying to become a CPA. Kadeja even hopes to start her own nonprofit to help encourage people of color to succeed.
We recently spoke with Kadeja to get her take on creativity in business. Here’s what she had to say:
You had some working experience before attending VCU. How did that help motivate your studies?
I couldn't afford to go back to school, and I didn't have a vehicle, so I started working and saving until I was able to purchase a car, gather some tuition and continue my dream of attending VCU.
Why did you feel that VCU was your way of achieving your dreams?
I wanted to go to VCU ever since I graduated high school. It’s a good school. I knew I could get a good education there.
You were selected to take part in the School of Businesses C-suite courses. What was that like?
Yes. I had great, great experiences in the C-suite class. I was very fortunate to be chosen to take part in that class because it was such a small one. I met a lot of unique individuals who were able to give me great advice.
What kind of projects do they have you do in that class?
Oh, very experiential. And we got to meet chief-level guests that were coming to VCU. We were designated to greet the guests. It was a real honor.
So it opened up some networking opportunities?
It really did. I met the vice president of Bank of America for the Richmond office. I got to know him, and eventually found out that he knows the CEO of a nonprofit organization that I was part of in Richmond. It really started to connect all the pieces between the experiences I was receiving and understanding where I could take what I learned from each of them.
How did the advisors at VCU contribute to your success?
When I got to VCU, I was welcomed by one of the Business School Ambassadors, who is a good friend to this day. He told me about the National Association of Black Accountants. I'd already known about the organization, and I was planning on joining once I got to VCU because I always wanted to be part of that organization and give back to the community somehow. So, I did exactly that once I got to VCU. I ended up being a member, secretary and, eventually, president of the VCU student chapter.
How do you feel about how VCU has positioned you for future success?
I feel good because my goals don't end. I have another goal after the CPA, and I hope it can happen. I would like to start a nonprofit organization myself.
What would your nonprofit cause be?
You know, people of color sometimes get discouraged when entering a challenging field or major. My goal is to expose people, especially minorities, to different fields, so they won't be discouraged. Not to say that it wouldn’t be open for all, but the purpose is to expose people of color to different fields and majors, so they can see other people of color in the same fields. I just want to see that type of exposure.