Karissa Carson says leading one of the workshops at the recent PNC Bank, Times Community Services, and The Baltimore Times’ “Mind Your Business” Seminar gave her ego a boost.
“It kind of made my head a little big,” said Carson, a Coppin State University senior who in business management major. “Seeing all of the people there and knowing you’re going to come away even more empowered was great.”
Originally from New York, Carson has already made her mark in Baltimore. She was recently appointed vice president for the College of Business students for Ingepreneurial Impact. She is also the director of “Free Your Voice,” an organization dedicated to helping women find their voice by offering empowerment services.
“I have mastered the artistry of side hustles,” Carson said. “From doing hair, hosting workshops, and making handbags. When it comes to generating multiple streams of income, I am the girl with the plan.”
One of seven children, Carson says she was the dreamer in her family. She was also the one with the big heart.
“Now that I’m older, I started making these handbags that have these inspirational quotes on them,” Carson said, explaining that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the bags is given to the homeless.
“When you drive down some areas of Baltimore city, you see a lot of homeless people. I look around, and I wonder what resources do I have that I can use to help these people,” Carson said. “So, I make and sell the bags, and I use half of the proceeds to purchase items like toiletries and other things for the homeless.”
Carson is also an advocate for women.
“I just want women always to be aware that they matter,” Carson said. “When I was growing up, I was so timid and I let people make decisions for me.
“But, I started to realize that my voice matters and that I was going to share my voice with the world. I’m not going to be quiet because society makes it hard for women who speak out.”
Ultimately, Carson says her goal is to start women organizations that will help ignite business opportunities for single mothers and other women. That’s the reason she got involved with “Free Your Voice.”
“Essentially, Free Your Voice is a bunch of college students who are dedicated. We have uplifting speeches, raffles, women empowerment exercises, food, mimosas and live entertainment. We have discussions about trauma and so many other things that affect us. It’s all about women empowering women,” she said.
Carson noted that attending the Mind Your Business seminar was essential to all that she aspires to accomplish.
Mind Your Business was an informative event designed for small business owners, entrepreneurs, creative industry organizations, and DIY businesses. In breakout sessions, the agenda included how to structure a business; how to finance your business; and when a CPA or legal expert should be consulted. Also included was an introduction to tax incentives that are available if a business is located in an arts district.
“I was inspired. There are so many talented people and the seminar was a great resource for everyone,” Carson said.