By Valerie Jones
There are some people who become content after they achieve a certain level of success.
And then there are people like Carla Lane.
Lane is the president and CEO of LaneStaffing, the largest minority-owned employment solutions provider in the southwest United States. That designation wasn’t easy to get. Coming on in 2003 as the senior vice president and chief operating officer of what was then DiverseStaffing, Lane was responsible for driving the company’s comprehensive financial strategies.
In 2006, Lane took a risk and purchased the then failing company, changed the name and shifted the creative and operational mindset. The results were definitely worth the risk.
“It was strategic to purchase an already established company,” she said. “I bought their assets and had to literally figure out, through trial and error, how to dig the company out of a hole and make it work.”
It takes a certain level of business acumen and foresight to take a struggling company and transform it into a $20 million enterprise.
Lane was able to do so, leading LaneStaffing to expand to more than seven states, and with a client base of Fortune 100 and 200 companies and government contracts.
Lane has been featured in Forbes and Ebony, been recognized by numerous publications and organizations, been a recipient of the 2007 Pinnacle Award – the highest award for entrepreneurial excellence given by the Houston Citizen’s Chamber of Commerce (now the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce) – and still finds time to be there for her family as a wife and mother.
But her superpowers don’t stop there.
Lane knows the importance of charity and giving back to the community.
She founded This Woman’s Work, a local nonprofit organization with a mission to empower girls and women for success. Funded gifts to the organization help support several programs, which include:
- Stepping Into Strength (SIS) Mentoring Program, which builds and develops young girls in the community to become resilient, fearless, educated and empowered to succeed. Young girls are mentored every month and provided educational workshops and college readiness along with social and cultural activities
- Carla’s Closet, which provides support for women who need appropriate clothing to secure or maintain employment, is a Dress for Success Houston (DFSH) referral partner and the Closet supplements that effort during times when clients cannot get to them such as closures, holidays, weekends, etc.
- IronWomen Mentor is a program for women to eliminate negative competitiveness and encourage positive assistance to each other. These women serve as mentors to girls in the SIS Program as well as mentors to clients who receive services through the Closet and to professional women.
On Dec. 3, Lane found a way to combine two things she loves – high heels and champagne – into a charity event benefitting This Woman’s Work.
Stillettos and Champagne 2017 was the organization’s second annual event and it took place at the Ensemble Theatre. It was an extraordinary night of inspiration and empowerment – and like the name suggests – stillettos and champagne!
“Everybody knows that I love all things shiny, bubbly, glitzy and glamorous, but isn’t that part of the magic of being a woman?” said Lane. “And can’t women support each other and still be all those things? On Dec. 3, the answer was a resounding ‘YES!’”
The Stillettos and Champagne reception featured live music, dancing, artwork by local artists, a fashion show featuring heels designed by shoe designer Kamica Hampton and the “I Can” awards presentation – which recognized outstanding women who are helping other women in the Houston community.
“It was phenomenal,” Lane said of the event. “When we started the journey of creating a space for mentorship and a hand up for women and girls, I wasn’t sure that people would support this passion work. However, I am pleasantly surprised that [they]get it. It’s a cause that is unique, but important, and although it’s not a matter of physical life or death, it is a matter of emotional life or death, of living or existing. When women lend their wisdom, experience, networks and resources to each other, something magical happens. This Woman’s Work happens.”
To learn more about This Woman’s Work and how to support, visit www.thiswomanswork.biz.