Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Donna M. Beegle, Founder of Communication Across Barriers (CAB), located in Tigard, OR, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The goal of CAB is to improve outcomes for children and adults who live in the crisis of poverty. We work daily to help people fight poverty, not the people who live in it. It starts with gaining a poverty-informed perspective and strategies that are proven to work.

Since 1991, we have worked in all 50 states and eight countries, providing insider perspectives on what works to break barriers. We have worked with helping professionals from all sectors to gain a deeper understanding of poverty and what they can do to help their neighbors move out and stay out of poverty. Unlike most “poverty experts” who have not lived in poverty, all of our work comes from the perspectives of people who have lived and overcome poverty.

Tell us about yourself

Before Dr. Donna M. Beegle founded CAB, she was born into generations of migrant labor poverty and is the only member of her family who's not been incarcerated. She married at 15 and began working in a foam rubber factory. The stress of poverty destroyed her marriage. At 26, she had a 9th-grade education, a 6-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old son. With the help of mentors, she returned to school and completed her GED. Within ten years, she earned her doctorate. All of her studies have focused on breaking the iron cage of poverty. Dr. Beegle was the speaker of the year for the New Mexico Bar Foundation. She was selected as a Princeton fellow, and Portland State University named two classrooms in the School of Social Work in her honor.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our number one evaluation from participants in our training is that it is “life-changing." In a training just last week, one of the host’s leadership team said, “Today’s training was the first training that I have been to in YEARS where I didn’t leave feeling demoralized or inadequate at my job. There are things that Dr. Beegle talked about that I can actually do now! I left feeling hopeful.”

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The demand for information and tools to break poverty barriers is high. We are working to create an army of educated speakers who can work nationally to ensure poverty-informed perspectives are infused into all organizations. All of our work has been word of mouth. We would love more people to know about the work we do and how they can access our training opportunities and resources.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

You have to have a passion for what you're doing. Customers will see and feel if you are authentic. Talk to everyone you can about your business dreams. There are people who will help, but you have to take the initiative to let them know what you're trying to do. Don't veer off from your passions to please other people. Do what you know is right, even in the face of people telling you otherwise.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Build a strong infrastructure to support your passion. If the people working with you do not believe in what you're doing, you'll have a hard time growing.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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