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Community Highlights: Meet Angel Magasano of Little Black Book: Women in Business

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angel Magasano.

Hi Angel, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Growing up in a rural-suburban community south of St. Louis, I was fortunate to have a close and supportive family. My brother, Kenny, and I lived in a small town next door to my maternal grandparents and attended the same school from kindergarten through graduation. As a child, I was a competitive dancer and pageant girl. I credit those activities with my ability to be poised, well-spoken, and experienced in showmanship.

After graduation, I continued my education at Missouri State University where I served on the Sugar Bear dance squad, a promotional tool for the University. It was that experience that taught me the value of community engagement as a component of promotional marketing for an organization. As a member of the elite squad of dancers, many doors were opened for me to learn about local business owners and the value of networking and community support.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Communications Management, I entered the workforce in the field of marketing and worked my way up to the director level. Having started a family during this time, I was now in a position where I felt the demands on my time by my corporate job were becoming unfair to me. I began to realize that no one really cared about me as a woman and all of the other hats that I was expected to wear. Like many women, I was doing my best to balance my demanding job and travel schedule with my family. I was juggling my marriage, my children and their homework, their school schedule, and their extracurricular activities. At home, I was the wife, the mom, and the nurse. the cook, the maid, the laundress, the social planner, the travel agent, the arts and crafts teacher, the disciplinarian, and the errand-runner. Whew! That’s enough to send anyone over the edge.

I was beginning to feel that my family life had become an inconvenience to me. I found myself being “too busy” to play with my own children. Didn’t they know that there was grocery shopping and laundry to do? So…ten years into my professional career, I made the decision to leave the corporate world and stay home to raise my children. Going from a life as a high-earning corporate professional, to a stay-at-home mom (who made $0) was a huge adjustment. It’s no surprise that a short time later I began running a home-based bakery creating beautiful cakes for all occasions. Running the cake business was great, but there was one problem: I was a marketing professional, not an entrepreneur.

The need to learn from other women business owners and form a system of support and education is what led me to create a community to meet the needs of female professionals known as Little Black Book: Women in Business (LBB). As a former corporate professional and budding entrepreneur, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about growing a business, so I began reaching out to other like-minded business owners to share best practices and business growth ideas.

Ten years later, I have grown the Little Black Book organization to nearly 400 members spanning nine chapters in both Missouri and Illinois. Little Black Book is a membership-driven, professional business development organization for women committed to improving themselves and their community through purposeful connections, ongoing self-development, sharing information, and service to the community through charity work and philanthropy.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Even though Little Black Book is now an impressive and thriving professional organization dedicated to connecting and developing women in business, it was not always smooth sailing. Early on in business, I made mistakes by not having a fully functional business plan. This is the biggest mistake many business owners make, and it is the one that will hold back the owner from realizing a business’s full potential. In a sense, what I had done was buy myself a job. I did not understand the difference between owning a business and being an entrepreneur.

Not having a solid plan led to unmanaged growth. As the popularity of the Little Black Book organization surged from community to community, there was no plan in place for operations, leadership development, succession planning, or human resources to support the growth. As a result, Little Black Book opened chapters that it ended up closing due to the lack of knowledge on my part about successfully scaling a business.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Little Black Book: Women in Business empowers professional women to elevate.

Every woman deserves to know that she has a huddle of women that will allow her to discuss her personal and professional goals. A safe place for like-minded women to come together and connect. A place where women are comfortable being vulnerable and discussing their challenges and aspirations. A place where encouragement to rise up and succeed is celebrated.

Little Black Book: Women in Business is a membership-driven organization for professional women committed to improving themselves and their community through purposeful networking, ongoing self-development, and charity work. The organization’s mission is to connect, empower, inspire, support, and educate women as members help one another acquire the confidence, knowledge, skills, and resources necessary for professional and personal growth. Little Black Book members are a unified group of diverse, collaborative professionals coming together to grow and achieve more than they could alone. Through building positive relationships with one another, members support and empower each other to achieve work-life balance and overall personal well-being.

Numerous educational workshops, empowering connections events, and community outreach campaigns, coupled with a robust virtual connections platform, help Little Black Book meet women where they are, and support them as they become the person they aspire to be.

In addition to the standard programming provided by Little Black Book, members may also opt into one of its many affinity groups including self-development and leisure book clubs, “Moms on the Move,” parenting club, “For the Run of It,” run/walk training club, new business owners club, and a private chapter of Toastmasters International. The organization is comprised primarily of female entrepreneurs and women who are building a book of business for the corporation for which they work.

Little Black Book hosts the only all-women conference held in the St Louis region in celebration of International Women’s Day. The conference is entitled, “BECOME: Women’s Day of Inspiration.” At the conference attendees are treated to a day of inspiring and empowering stories from local women who have achieved the highest level of success within their business or profession, and have made a difference in the community through their missions and outreach. Each year on March 8th, St Louis area women are invited to “play hooky with us.”

Business programming is not all that LBB does. The organization stands on five pillars: Connect, Promote, Share, Give and Become. The women of LBB really experience the opportunity to shine through its many give-back campaigns throughout the year. In 2021, the organization made an $85,000+ financial impact on local charities and non-profit organizations. Most notably, Little Black Book’s annual “BrrrBASH” campaign has supported the Toys for Tots Foundation since 2012. For the past four years, the “LBB BrrrBASH to Benefit Toys for Tots” has accounted for 20% of the total number of toys distributed by the US Marines to happy children at Christmas.

We are proud to know that LBB is the largest donor in the greater St Louis region, and St Louis is the third largest collection in the United States. In addition to the Greater St Louis campaign, Little Black Book also manages BrrrBASH toy collection campaigns in Lincoln and Marion Counties in Missouri, and Madison County, Illinois. All toys collected in those counties will directly serve the needs of the local children.

What do you think about happiness?
Professionally, running a successful women’s empowerment and business development organization which allows me to watch other women stretch and succeed truly fills my cup. I have watched women become so empowered that they literally change the trajectory of their lives.

Personally, nothing makes me happier than spending time with my partner Joe, my son, Nicholas (24), and my daughter, Danielle (23). Both of my children are grown and living happy, productive lives of their own out of state. I work hard so that I can take them on vacations and experience the world with them.

My personal self-care comes primarily in the form of travel. My partner Joe and I enjoy experiencing the beauty of the many national parks in the United States, as well as trips to cities both large and small. Immersing ourselves in the art, culture, cuisine, and dynamics of a large urban center, or learning the background and exploring the local businesses of a small town is an experience in education and history.

Pricing:

  • $300 LBB Annual General Membership
  • $6,500 LBB: LUX Business Strategy Retreat

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kim Eichelberger and Joan Williams

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