Trena V. Stubbs

CEO and Co-Founder of Apex Virtual Solutions

“I grew up in the small town of Camilla, Georgia. Small town girl with big dreams of one day becoming a business owner. Since the age of about 14, it was decided, I would have my own law firm or start a marketing agency. In my adolescent mind, it made perfect sense because I was smart, resourceful, and always right, lol.  Being smart academically doesn’t always mean making the best decisions. The summer after I graduated high school, I got pregnant with my son. If you know anything about small towns, you know that teen pregnancy is often a career death sentence. Most of the people around me assumed that my dreams of college and business ownership were out the window. I was supposed to attend Albany State University in August after graduation, but due to a difficult pregnancy it didn’t happen. Everyone at this point had given up on me going to college, to their defense I did sit out a year. The one person that still believed in me was the father of my son. We still had plans and becoming parents was just a minor setback.

After the birth of my son, I enrolled at Albany State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in marketing. I was determined to make this happen and I wanted to do it without the help of my parents. I was a full-time student, had my own apartment and juggled two jobs. During my junior year of college, I did an internship at a Ford dealership in Albany, Georgia. I was offered a sales job three months later which was a huge blessing because I would no longer have to work two jobs to support myself. Within the first year, I was promoted to the Internet Sales Manager. I think a huge factor in getting this promotion was that I was the most internet savvy and the previous manager was unable to continue for medical reasons. To be honest, I don’t think they expected me to last long.  At the dealership I worked at, the workforce was predominantly male so getting this new position was a huge blow to many of their egos. To them, I was just this little girl with no real experience in advertising or in the car industry.

Not only did I prove them wrong, but I broke sales records with my radio and classified ads. They soon allowed me to build a team of 5 and put me in charge of the business development department. As amazing as this opportunity was, I knew that once I was done with college, I was still moving to Atlanta with my fiance, now husband. And if you’re wondering, yes, the father of my son.

After moving to Atlanta, I worked for Autotrader, a Cox Communications company. This was a natural transition with the experience I had gained from Ford. After Cox Communications, I went to DHL. DHL was my last corporate job before starting Apex Virtual Solutions with my husband in 2007.

When asked what I would tell women or other people of color looking to tap into entrepreneurship, I lead with effort and consistency. Do what you say you are going to do and never make promises you can’t keep. You have to put in the work, there is no cheat code. To be honest, being minorities, we sometimes have to work harder. As a business owner, you have to be resilient because not everyone will be in your corner. People you don’t even know will be rooting against you. There’s a chance you’ll face racism or even sexism. I did, but none of that matters. Remember that diamonds are created under pressure and just when you think you’ve taken all you can take, you’ll start seeing glimmers of hope and triumph.

It has been a blessing and an amazing journey providing administrative, marketing and structural support to our clients these past 15 years and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store.”

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