On the latest episode of the Start Dakota podcast, Startup Sioux Falls’ president, Brienne Maner, sits down with Terry Liggins, CEO of TLC Services, founder of The Hurdle LIfe Coach Foundation, and a recent CO.STARTERS facilitator.
Through The Hurdle Life Coach, Liggins offers mentorship, coaching, guidance, and facilitation services to organizations looking to build bridges with people from different communities.
“My cup overflows with the work I get to do,” he said.
When asked about the “why” behind what he does, Liggins says the biggest thing for him is the importance of community and how it matters to families.
“I want our community to be a safe place for my 10-year-old daughter, and I want that for everyone else’s family, too. I want all people’s families to have prosperous, safe upbringings,” he said.
He adds that, as a person of color and business owner, it’s a powerful inspiration for kids who grew up like him.
“They may not be exactly like me, but we're very similar in some of our conditions and our similar upbringings, and I know that by being in business for myself, by letting my vision come to fruition, that's also giving people hope that they can have the same thing happen for them in their lives.”
Liggins went full-time with his business three years ago in 2020 after working for Lutheran Social Services (LSS) providing reentry services for adults coming out of incarceration. He says it was a wonderful opportunity, but he wanted to go deeper than the scope of his role.
The challenge of entrepreneurship was, in his words, figuring out “how business works.”
“I didn’t have that type of mentorship around me in my upbringing. I’m a first-generation business owner, and I had the passion, the spirit, and the faith, but the understanding of how to incorporate, how to stay in good standing with the law, that was all a learning curve for me,” he said.
“Now, I’ve learned quite a bit and am able to pass that on to others.”
In a way, his journey has come full circle, as he recently had the opportunity to facilitate a CO.STARTERS cohort through LSS’ Center for New Americans, one of Startup Sioux Falls’ partners through the SBA Community Navigator program.
Liggins says one of the major takeaways from that experience was the importance of cultural humility.
“It’s a posture and a mindset that allows all of us to stay in that learner seat as it takes us working with people from different cultures than our primary culture. Sioux Falls is filled with so many different cultures, so many different languages, so many different ethnicities, and that's a strength, and it's beautiful to see. But in order to leverage it, we have to keep the humility intact.”
That’s just a taste of the conversation. Tune into Maner and Liggins’ full episode — available now wherever you listen to podcasts!
This project is made possible through a partnership with Startup Sioux Falls and grant funding provided through the Community Navigator Pilot Program, powered by the SBA. More information can be found here.