Dr. Lisa Folden

Redefining Destiny:

Tasha Barnes’ Journey to Being a Trailblazing Entrepreneur

by Myra Stacey

Born and raised on the east side of Buffalo, New York, Tasha Barnes’ early life was one of familial warmth and complexities. In a household bustling with the energy of four girls and one boy, Tasha’s life was enriched by her family’s diversity, which included biological and adopted siblings. 

“Growing up in such a dynamic environment,” Tasha recalls, “taught me the value of understanding and embracing differences from a young age.” However, the journey wasn’t devoid of challenges. As a teenager, Tasha faced the daunting reality of becoming a mom while still in high school. This pivotal moment could have defined her, but Tasha chose to steer her story differently. “I was aware of the statistics and stereotypes surrounding teen moms, especially in a community grappling with poverty,” she says. “But I was determined not to let my circumstances dictate my future.”

Tasha’s resolve was her guiding light. 

She recalls, “I had to grow up quickly, balancing the responsibilities of motherhood with the dreams I had for myself.” This determination propelled her forward, igniting a deep-seated desire to change not just her narrative but also to break a cycle that had persisted in her family.

“I grew up in a household where financial struggles were the norm, and educational attainment wasn’t a given,” Tasha shares. Her mother and grandmother, both teen moms, faced similar struggles. Tasha was keen to disrupt this historical echo in her family lineage. “For me, it wasn’t just about breaking free from poverty; it was about rewriting the script for future generations,” she reflects.

The journey took a lot of work. Limited resources and societal judgments were constant hurdles. But Tasha’s vision was clear: to forge a path of success and stability for herself and her son. “He was my driving force,” she says. “Every challenge I faced, I saw as a stepping stone towards a better life for us.”

Taking a Leap into the Unknown – Tasha’s Educational Journey

Tasha’s educational path was marked by both determination and pioneering spirit. As the first in her family to attend college, she embarked on a journey filled with uncertainties but driven by a steadfast resolve to break the cycle of poverty. “Choosing to go to college was a leap into the unknown,” Tasha reflects. “But I knew education was my ladder to a better life.”

Balancing motherhood and studies, Tasha pursued a degree in business, a field she felt offered versatility and opportunities. Her journey was challenging, particularly in subjects like accounting, where she needed extra support. However, through these challenges, Tasha discovered her aptitude and passion for accounting, a realization she credits to her accounting tutor’s encouragement.

Professional Growth – Adaptability and Ambition

Tasha entered the professional world as an accounts payable specialist for a large construction company. This role was her stepping stone into the accounting world, a field that promised stability and growth. Her journey, as she swiftly moved up the ranks from staff accountant to senior accountant and eventually to controller, is a testament to her adaptability and ambition.

However, it was about more than just climbing the corporate ladder for Tasha. She wanted to excel and make a significant impact in her field. This drive led her to pursue dual master’s degrees. “I wanted to be the best accountant I could be,” she states. “But I also saw an opportunity to blend my business acumen with a master’s in health, envisioning a unique niche where I could make a difference.”

Career Evolution and Aspirations

Tasha’s vision for her career evolved over the years. From seeking stability, she moved towards creating an impact. This shift in focus led her to establish her own boutique accounting and consulting practice. “My firm is not just about numbers. It’s about advising and guiding businesses, especially in real estate and community development,” she explains.

Looking ahead, Tasha envisions her firm expanding its reach, not just domestically but also globally. “I see my firm stepping into international markets, increasing our diversity exposure, and playing a role in addressing global issues like the housing crisis,” she shares, highlighting her aspirations to contribute to affordable housing solutions.

Reflecting on her Journey

Tasha emphasizes the importance of mentorship. “I wish I had realized earlier how crucial a mentor could be in navigating the professional world,” she says. Now a mentor herself, Tasha understands the value of guidance and support, particularly for women in the workforce. “Mentorship is about sharing experiences, offering insights, and sometimes just being there to listen,” she adds.

Tasha’s commitment extends beyond her professional life into her community. She volunteers with the Smithfield Community Coalition in North Carolina, contributing her expertise to tackle issues like gentrification and displacement. “I believe in giving back, in using my skills to help those in need,” Tasha says. Her work with the coalition involves ensuring financial transparency and helping secure funding for community initiatives.

Additionally, Tasha is passionate about financial literacy, especially among women and young girls. “Growing up, I didn’t know about managing finances. Now, I make it a point to educate others, to bridge that wealth gap through knowledge sharing,” she explains.

Personal Life, Motivation, and Insights

Tasha finds daily motivation and grounding in podcasts. “Les Brown’s ‘Greatness’ podcast is a source of inspiration for me,” she shares. “His messages resonate with my journey and keep me focused on my goals.” Tasha also listens to ‘BiggerPockets,’ which aligns with her professional interests in real estate, providing her with insights and strategies for her business ventures.

When managing the delicate balance between her professional and personal life, Tasha emphasizes the importance of boundaries. “It’s about compartmentalizing my time and energy,” she explains. “I prioritize self-care, like spa days, to recharge. It’s crucial for maintaining my well-being and ensuring I can give my best to my work and family.”

Tasha cherishes the strong network of friends she has cultivated over the years. “My friends are a source of strength and accountability,” she says. Annual traditions like ‘Friendsgiving’ and couple retreats are vital for her, serving as opportunities to connect and recharge. These gatherings reinforce the value of companionship and mutual support in her life.

Reflecting on personal aspects of her life, Tasha shares a unique detail: “I married the same man twice,” she reveals. This personal journey, with its ups and downs, is a testament to her resilience and belief in second chances. “It’s a part of my life that many don’t know, but it’s shaped who I am,” she adds.

Lessons Learned, Proud Achievements, and Future Goals

Tasha candidly discusses her experiences with business failures, notably an unsuccessful cleaning company venture and challenges in her accounting firm. “Failure isn’t the end; it’s a learning opportunity,” she asserts. From these setbacks, Tasha learned the importance of delegation, having the right team, and constantly evolving as a business owner.

Looking ahead, Tasha is proud of her achievements, particularly earning dual master’s degrees and overcoming the challenges of being a teen mom. “These experiences have not only shaped my career but also my character,” she reflects.

One of Tasha’s significant learning experiences was her attempt to obtain a CPA certification. “It taught me the importance of understanding my ‘why.’ Without a clear purpose, commitment wavers,” she admits. This insight guides her current approach to both personal and professional pursuits.

Tasha Barnes’ story is one of resilience, growth, and transformation. From a teen mom in Buffalo to a successful entrepreneur and community advocate, her journey is a powerful narrative of overcoming adversity. Her commitment to mentorship, community involvement, and continuous learning are core elements that define her both professionally and personally.

Tasha’s insights provide valuable lessons on the importance of understanding one’s purpose, education’s power, and resilience’s significance in the face of challenges. Her future aspirations and ongoing projects reflect her dedication to making a meaningful impact in her field and beyond.

Tasha’s achievements underscore the essence of human resilience and the capacity to create change in one’s life and the broader community.

Lisa Folden

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