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If I Knew Then …

Antwanye Ford

Background:  Antwanye Ford is the president and CEO of Enlightened Inc., an information-technology and management-consulting firm. Ford has more than 20 years of experience in government IT and cybersecurity. He is an alumnus of The George Washington University, where he earned both his bachelor’s and his master’s degrees.

The Mistake:

I didn’t value relationships enough early in my career.

I don’t think people — particularly entrepreneurs — understand how valuable relationships are in business. Early on, I was smart and good at what I did, and I thought the world centered around me.

I thought I made other people better just by my very existence because I was able to deliver.

I didn’t value relationships at first, and I got pigeonholed into being thought of as someone you called on when you wanted something special done — but I was not thought of as someone who would be a great teammate to help others. I was almost known as a diva.

Initially, at Enlightened, I assumed incorrectly that everyone had my same passions.

“As an entrepreneur, you never arrive. You just evolve and grow.”

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