PROFILE: Steffani Burd, PH.d., ANSEC Group
After receiving her doctorate degree in Applied Statistical Analysis from Columbia University, Dr. Steffani Burd spent the next 15 years working in the fields of management consulting and information security. Suddenly, due to the acquisition of her employer by another company, Dr. Burd and her colleagues found themselves unemployed. “I did not know what I was going to do next but I knew that I couldn’t afford to stay stuck in that predicament. I needed to earn money.” With encouragement and support of the Brevard Workforce BizLaunch program, SCORE, and SBDC at Eastern Florida State College, she has pushed herself and learned from the opportunities. “Having the support of a coach or motivated partner has helped me to keep from ‘getting stuck’.”
Dr. Burd learned about Brevard Workforce and the BizLaunch program through networking and research. “It’s ironic that I can’t precisely recall how I found out about Brevard Workforce and BizLaunch, since they are now my key sources of knowledge and motivation!”
Dr. Steffani Burd says that BizLaunch has helped her to engage in genuine self-reflection. In doing so, she has identified specific points that have made a considerable impact on how she is moving forward in her business. Dr. Burd carefully considered her entire career background, not just what she did in her last position. This helped her to recognize two important points. First, that she enjoys research and second, that “doing the right thing” is very important to her. Steffani discovered that when working with customers in information technology security her primary consideration was helping clients to strengthen their business rather than merely addressing compliance issues.
Dr. Burd has been able to identify her strengths as well as areas requiring some development. She knew that in those areas of weakness, she would either have to fix them or find a partnership to overcome those barriers. In Steffani’s case she excelled at analysis and research but lacked the sales and small business operational skills necessary to succeed. Dr. Burd found creative partners whose strengths were those skills she lacked and her business is beginning to swell.
After attending BizLaunch for seven months, Dr. Steffani Burd has recognized four specific contributions it has made for her:
• BizLaunch has fundamentally changed her mindset – particularly from being “owned by an employer” to “owning herself and her own career”.
• The diversity of speakers’ topics each week has contributed to her ability to view business matters from multiple perspectives, further enhancing her mindset and business acumen.
• Utilizing the available resources such as participation in Start Up Quest, taking classes offered by Brevard Workforce, FIT’s Women’s Business Center, and EFSC’s Small Business Development Center have all improved those areas where she needed development.
• Finally, Dr. Burd says that the sense of community in BizLaunch has also contributed to her success. “I know that I’m not alone on this journey. I know that I can call on the staff at Brevard Workforce or even fellow BizLaunch colleagues,” said Dr. Burd.
When asked what advice she would offer others interested in starting their own business, Dr. Steffani Burd shared, “Keep the risk small and see if it works. If it does, do it again. If not, pivot. Then do it again, and again until you succeed.”
Take your first steps today.