Genita Ingram, Entrepreneur and Director of Marketing, JDR Consulting, LLC

Entrepreneur, Genita Ingram can help you find a home or piece of land, decorate it with the assistance of one of her many fine artist contactors, develop a marketing campaign to sell the home or land, recommend great recipes for healthy living, and help you secure a scholarship or business loan in the process.  Ingram’s able to do all of this because she has consistently reinvented herself as a businesswoman and developed transferable skills that have led to her success in the worlds of art, entertainment, publishing, nightlife, real estate and more.

For nearly a decade she created, operated and managed three successful establishments including Café Afrik, the exhibition gallery Rameses Art and Video 666 and Night Club.  Since those initial efforts, Ingram has taken on roles as a product developer and publisher with Macmillan-Mann, art collector/dealer and publicist for creative artists.  Presently Ingram divides her time between consulting creative artists, developing an upcoming fashion week in Bamako, Mali and serving as the Director of Marketing at JDR Consulting LLC and JDR Realty Capital, LLC.   With her savvy marketing skills she has advanced JDR Consulting from a local firm to a nationwide leader in real estate.

Rolling Out spoke with Ingram about learning leadership skills the hard way, why finance rules the real estate business, how she is navigating the industry during a period of gentrification and more.

Were you always a leader or was there some moment in your life where you had to work at developing that facet of your personality?

When I was attending college I always felt like I didn’t have focus, but I was always clear that I wanted to make money.  I followed my passion for the arts by opening a gallery, and my love for healthy eating by opening a restaurant.  I started all this in 1984, and leadership was something I learned early on just by being an entrepreneur.

Did you develop your unique style of leadership while in the process of establishing your businesses?

Honesty, sincerity, determination and my belief in what I do makes me distinctive.  If I embrace something I embrace it with passion and people see that as something special.  As a leader I’ve prevailed and reinvented myself and learnedt from others.  When you stay beside your peers they make you step your game up or get out of the game.

What are the critical tools you use to make major decisions when it comes to real estate?

Finance directs all major decisions.  I work closely with my accountant, bookkeeper, lawyers and partners in the business who are financially savvy.  The finance is what keeps you going and developing land and business.  It becomes like a drug.  Once you start making money you can’t stop, even when you lose money.

Across the nation there is mass gentrification within many major cities.  How has that reality impacted the way that you conduct your business?

I see that we have to take a chance in real estate.  You have to plan five years to ten years out, and can’t look for immediate gentrification.  You have to position yourself and buy low.  Most of us have to take advantage of our credit scores and start building a financial portfolio even if it’s one apartment, house or condo, so that it will increase in value.

How do you spend your downtime?

My favorite ways are to travel and decorate.  I also love giving back through Project Enterprise and helping entrepreneurs start their business.  I remember when I was young no one gave me an opportunity to be a business owner.  So now I’m a founding member of Project Enterprise and we give away scholarships and $2 million to entrepreneurs annually.

The column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of arts administration company, Souleo Enterprises LLC.