Q&A with Ronnie Slone, Facilitator of the Drive Minority Business Accelerator powered by ExxonMobil

Meet Ronnie Slone

Mr. Ronnie L. Slone is the president of The Slone Group and brings over 30 years of experience in management, human resources, training facilitation and professional staffing with several Fortune 500 and small businesses alike. He will use his wealth of knowledge as a program facilitator to develop participants in the Drive Minority Business Accelerator powered by ExxonMobil. Slone provided some insight below on his previous experience and his outlook on the Drive program.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Tell us about your business background. How did you get started? 

My journey into corporate life began after ten years in the US Marine Corps, where I quickly became responsible for admin and customer service, recruitment, employee training, and operations. With the help of the SBA, I started The Slone Group in 2005. We focus on the number one asset of any business: the people, their skills, and their desire to realize a vision. Hurricane Katrina interrupted my business plan, and that’s when I started my real education in small businesses. I learned what it takes to operate one and how to recover, or as we say today, “pivot,” to survive. While recovering my own business, I became a consultant with the Louisiana Small Business Development Center. I helped other businesses recover and prepare loan packages to sustain themselves. Since then, my team and I have worked in the small business, corporate, non-profit, and education arenas. As an executive coach, I assist my team with the focus of organizational development and training. 

As the first facilitator of BRAC’s Drive Minority Business Accelerator powered by ExxonMobil (Drive), what sort of guidance do you want to share with the participants? 

The leader of a business is at the center of everything. Leaders invited on this journey as a part of the inaugural cohort should often reflect that they have invited their direct reports on a journey to believe, build, and become. Believe, as a collaborative team, they can make their mark in the surrounding community. Build processes that they can freeze in place and replicate successfully. Become the change-makers within the environment they have always dreamed of being.

What sort of insights and/or skills do you want Drive participants to leave the program with? 

Trust the process! It may feel and look unpleasant at times but keep pushing and moving forward; the path will clear. Peer learning is key! Listen to the delivery team and the contributing experts. Learn from the material and the experiences of each member of the cohort. Engage yourself in activities/experiential learning and all the valuable resources you will gain from this program. Your growth plan will be the most important deliverable of Drive, and it will provide a road map to increased success. 

How should participants invest and commit their time to get the most out of this training program? 

Do the work! Within the program, take intentional steps to protect your learning environment. Although you aren’t required to be a subject matter expert, become an expert in navigating all the program’s resources. Every aspect of the business needs to be understood by the leader. Leaders will need to work on their businesses to grow and achieve the aspirational “big vision.” It takes deep, intentional work, but the benefits and rewards are well worth it.  

How do you think this program will play a role in creating a more inclusive economy in the Baton Rouge Area? 

As a result of leaning into Drive, leaders will be able to cross more t’s and dot more i’s. After entering the program, they are ready to take an important next step in their journey. This program aims to create a more inclusive economy for people of color. Drive desires to make people feel welcomed, respected, valued, and heard in an inclusive environment. This small business development program will address income inequality and the need to elevate social capital for minority businesses. 

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