Business Owner, Susan Reddick Talks About the Art of Giving Back

The former paralegal has managed to build multiple businesses as well as start a mentor program helping to develop young girls

I quickly realized that Susan Reddick’s work ethic was different from most when she agreed to an interview on a national holiday. Most would revel at a day off, yet Reddick was hard at work and squeezing me into her busy schedule. The former Coast Guard’s discipline and commitment have allowed her to build a thriving business, severe in leadership roles at her church, all while developing the next generation of young women following in her footsteps of success. 

There’s No Place Like Home

The Orlando native wears many hats including paralegal, real estate broker, mentor and even a little tax business sprinkled in the mix. There was no denying that giving back was nearest to Reddick’s heart and that stemmed from her upbringing. “There are a lot of people that need help. Someone has to do it” says Reddick’s mother. The youngest of five children, Reddick recalls watching her mother dedicate time to others. It wasn’t until she became an adult that it all made sense just what her purpose was.

After returning home from the Coast Guard, Reddick found herself back in Orlando, applying for a position at the State Attorney’s Office. Humble beginnings as a file clerk lead to Reddick working her way up to becoming a criminal paralegal. Not until she ventured into the private sector working for a Jewish law firm did she learn discipline within her newfound career field. “I learned the most working for a black women. It’s tougher working for professional women, women have to be twice as good in male-dominated industries” says Reddick.

Setting Precedent

During her life in the courtroom, Reddick recalls one particular case, Kingsley v. Kingsley. An emancipation case, Gregory Kingsley was the first American child to sever ties from his mother legally. Seeing how the system took advantage of the mother, Rachel Kingsley, Reddick saw the need to advocate for people who couldn’t do so themselves.

Reddick’s ‘self-help center’ E & R One Stop, stands as a service center for all her customer’s needs. From professional letter writing to bankruptcy and home mortgage modification assistance. A tried and true entrepreneur, E & R One Stop has been in business for 17 years and counting. Not to mention Reddick also owns her own Real Estate company and has started a mentoring program focusing on at-risk girls and women.

Believing in reaching back into the community and pulling another up, Reddick first gained mentorship experience with the C.E.T.A. program. The program would send at-risk teenagers to shadow someone in the professional world. Reddick recalls taking her girls to visit Orlando’s first African-American Clerk of Court and the youngest City Commissioner, Tiffany Moore Russell. Conducting a question and answer portion as well as showing the mentees how laws are made, Reddick has been sure to expose her mentees to professional women who serve as positive models of what success can look like.

Reach Back into the Community

Why does one decide to mentor? “I get joy from sitting back and watching from afar. You’ve invested so much time into a person. Like a job, you train them up, and they move on and are gone” says Reddick. Even if it’s just one person you decide to invest in, the reward of knowing you have done something to influence their lives positively is what matters. Reddick watched her mother, a school teacher, display these very values.

Reminiscing on her past, Reddick recalls going to a private school on scholarship and being one of the only black children in attendance. Faced with discrimination, she still remembers having a great home life. “Wait to have children” exclaims Reddick. Finding herself as a mother at 15, “the cart came before the horse.” Although claiming to have taken the scenic route compared to her friends, Reddick says she still got to where she needed to be, having gone back to school to obtain both her degrees later in life. With two degrees, a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration, and several successful businesses under her belt, the scenic route doesn’t look so shabby.

In true mentor fashion, Reddick left me with gems of her own. “Wait to have children and establish yourself professionally first. On the flip side, one misstep won’t stop you, it will make your pathway harder, but you can still finish.” Graduating with a Ph.D. from the school of hard knocks, Reddick reminded me of something my mother instilled in me; “Focus on getting everything right with you career and education; everything else will come. Wait to be grown!”

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