Visionary – 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

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Connie Parsons

Owner & Director of Connie Parsons School of Dance

Connie Parsons owns the Connie Parsons School of Dance, the Dance Spectrum retail store, and CRP Holdings.

Connie traces her entrepreneurial leanings back through her childhood. Her grandmother had a business in the 1940s. Connie herself was always a bit of an entrepreneur, even as a young child. As a teenager, she says, she never really worked for anyone else: “I came up with my own ideas, my own jobs, and marketed myself—and it was always related to music or dance or the arts.” Being an entrepreneur, she feels, goes hand in hand with being ambitious and having the creativity to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things.

“The creativity that makes me a choreographer is the same creativity it takes to be an entrepreneur: I strive to be first to come up with ideas, to adapt to change, and to deliver what people want.”

 

One thing Connie loves about being a business owner is having control of her own destiny. “If things go really well and you’re having a great day, it’s because of you,” she says. “And if things don’t go well, then it’s also because of you, and it’s up to you to fix it, to come up with new ways to solve a problem.” It’s important to her that she has been able to provide jobs for others. And it’s nice to have a flexible schedule, in theory—but Connie admits that she works most of the time.

Dedication, perseverance, and determination have brought Connie success. “I am a perfectionist,” she says, “and I really aim to please people and listen to my customers.” That personal touch is an important part of her business approach. Connie listens carefully to her students and their parents, and works hard to deliver what they want.

Winning this award has caused Connie to reflect on what she has accomplished over the last 20 years. In the beginning, it was Connie teaching dance. Over time, she has added a studio and a store, and taken on administrative and teaching staff. Now there are recreational classes, an intensive dance division, examination programs, a competition team, 25 teachers, store staff, and office staff. “When I stopped and thought about everything I had accomplished, I think the best part about winning this award was being recognized for many years of dedication and hard work,”

Connie says, acknowledging also her strong team of teachers and administrators.

Connie finds inspiration in her students, in small children working hard: that drive to persevere, to strive for perfection is also what helps her in business. She’s inspired as well by other entrepreneurs. Having studied psychology at university, she’s fascinated by “what makes people tick and how they think and how they grow their business.” Her own strategy for growth, she says, has to do with creative thinking: “I never know what’s next: I just keep doing things, and I think that’s the true sign of an entrepreneur, to keep coming up with new ideas and implementing new programs.”

The Visionary Award recognizes an entrepreneur who has demonstrated outstanding leadership within her business and her industry, is able to adapt to changing market environments and has leveraged opportunities for continued profitable growth.

The 2016 Visionary Award was sponsored by Cox & Palmer.

For more about Connie Parsons, check out her 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner video.

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