We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Terrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jennifer, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
“Who is your boss?” This is one question that I have strived for years to have one word as the answer: me. So many people are too scared to take a leap of faith in order to step beyond the status quo when it comes to opening a business. From having a secure form of income to just being afraid to take a risk, there are so many reasons why a person will not step into the business world. Even so, I would not let this stop me. As a black woman in the business world, I had to make up my mind to allow the sacrifices that the women before me have made to serve as a regular form of inspiration. A high number of individuals have done many things to hold me back in the business world due to my race and gender, but I have not let this step me. It is my goal to keep going until my business becomes highly successful throughout the country.

What should our readers know about your business?
Being a risk-taker is definitely what sets me apart from others! Becoming a graduate of Grambling State University was my first risk on the path toward success in life, because I wanted to reach toward success. For many years I enjoyed being a teacher. It was a pleasure for me to have my students tell me that they learned so many life lessons from me, not only lessons from the subject I was teaching. Knowing that my students were being touched by lessons beyond the walls of the classroom, I was inspired to become the founder a nonprofit organization by the name of Today’s Other Choices, Inc. With this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, I have been able to raise the bar in the lives of many young people who are often written off as “at-risk.” My efforts with the nonprofit are driven by my goal to ensure that the youth who others have turned the page on will not live in poverty as adults, nor will they have criminal backgrounds. As well, I do my best to make sure that the families of the youth are not held down by a low socioeconomic status. Although I was already a teacher and a nonprofit founder, I still saw even more things ahead of me. Cooking is something that I love, and being able to have others enjoy my recipes is a joy of mine. After having so many compliments of my cooking style, as well as my knowledge of my love of the business world, I decided to combine the two. With this, I opened a restaurant known as J’s Tasty Kitchen, which allowed me to step into the business platform. Becoming a business owner was not an easy task, nor was becoming the founder of a nonprofit organization. So many people would turn away from me as once they learned two words about me: black woman. The potential donors to my nonprofit often did not want to donate after learning about my race and gender. Adding to this, many individuals did their best to hold me down because they did not want to see a woman’s restaurant succeed, especially one that was black-owned. Despite this, I did not give up on either of the two! I took my own personal funds to start my restaurant and to open my nonprofit organization. It was very difficult to do this, but it was certainly worth taking the risk. There are times in life when we must take the time to see that a risk is worth the reward. Taking your own personal funds to start what you believe will be one of those times is something I highly advise doing. Although my restaurant is a small business, I am doing my best to ensure that it will one day succeed throughout the country. Additionally, while my nonprofit serves the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, it is my goal to have it one day reach millions of children all over the nation.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take anyone visiting the area to J’s Tasty Kitchen! This would give them the chance to enjoy my cooking style and savor the recipes that my customers enjoy time and time again. As well, it would serve as a way for them to see how J’s Tasty Kitchen was once a mere idea in my mind, yet it is now my very own business.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family is certainly the foundation of why I am the woman who I am today. I can’t say enough how much I am appreciative of the sacrifices that they have made to ensure my success throughout my life!

Website: todaysotherchoices.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Js-Tasty-Kitchen-1526422704318713/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0jpznSLm5gagZuEAh-fdsA/featured

Other: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Nonprofit-Organization/Todays-Other-Choices-Inc-1253900187967877/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.