How Good Spirits Helped D.C.’s First Women-Owned Distillery Risk it All
Meet the women behind D.C.'s first women-owned distillery that is on a mission to build the community.
This month, we’re introducing some of America’s most inspiring entrepreneurs by interviewing all 18 finalists for this year’s Dream Big Small Business Awards. The awards program honors the achievements of some of our nation’s most remarkable small business owners and celebrates their contributions to the American economy. We’ll be spotlighting a different finalist every day between now and the Small Business Summit 2017, where the winners will be announced (register to attend here).
The company: Nightlight Pediatric Urgent Care
Who’s in charge: Zawadi Bryant
Where are they: Sugarland, Texas
What they do: Pediatric Health Care and Social Assistance
Q: How did your company get started?
Zawadi Bryant: Nightlight Pediatric Urgent Care is the result of three women with different perspectives, skills, and backgrounds that saw a void in the pediatric healthcare industry. Before NightLight, there were no options for parents if their child got sick after the pediatrician office closed other than the emergency room.
Zawadi Bryant, Dr. Anastasia Gentles, and Connie Cazares created NightLight so parents could avoid the hassle of the emergency room and bring their child into a warm, kid-friendly environment. Shorter wait times, pediatricians on staff, and affordable care are a few of the many benefits of NightLight Pediatrics. While the initial goal is to provide a solution to emergency rooms overcrowded with children, the owners also wanted to have an impact on their communities through job opportunities and community involvement. They took their vision from an intangible idea to a tangible organization by observing the industry and strategically placing the first location in Sugarland, Texas. The three owners were also the first employees of Nightlight. They cleaned the clinic, worked the front office and back office, and started grassroots marketing to Pediatricians in the area. Nightlight Pediatric Urgent Care now has seven locations in the Houston area with three more facilities projected by the end of 2018.
NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care is dedicated to serving patients as part of a constellation of care. It takes a village to raise thriving children and we are part of that community of parents, healthcare providers and caregivers dedicated to keeping little bodies, minds and spirits healthy. NightLight’s mission is to provide exceptional quality, affordable, and compassionate service for infants, children and adolescents.
Q: What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Bryant: I’m proud to say NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care is the only minority and woman-owned business of its kind. We’re recognized nationally by organizations such as Inc 5000, for being one of America’s fastest-growing private companies, Houston Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, the Better Business Bureau Excellence Award, and a host of other local recognitions. Also, there is no better moment than creating a culture where employees love to work and seeing their face light up as they discover a new skill.
Q: Tell us about your company’s role in the community. How do you use serve your hometown?
Bryant: Childhood hunger, childhood education, and youth entrepreneurship are causes we support throughout the year. Our organization spends the forth Monday of each month at Kids Meals putting together lunches to deliver to children in need. Kids Meals is a part of a bigger program we have called BINGO (Being Impactful Nurtures Great Outcomes) and we have incentives in place to encourage our employees to volunteer. We’ve hosted Reading Days at local libraries, and we’re currently building out a program that will give parents tools to encourage children to read more. This Christmas season we teamed up with BEAR (Be a Resource for CPS Kids) and made the holiday wishes of five kids come true.
For our outreach efforts, we pursue events with a purpose. We partner with churches, libraries, schools, and other organizations to educate parents about urgent care versus emergency care. Past events included YMCA Healthy Kids Day, Texas Children’s Health Fair, United Way Bay Area Health Fair, and Helen Hall Library Teddy Bear Clinic.
As CEO, I also speak to small business owners about her professional journey. Organizations that we support include the Houston Children’s Expo, The Texas Black Expo, Gabe’s Hope Run, CompuDopt, CSTEM, Houston Children’s Museum, Houston Health Museum, YMCA, Lemonade Day, South Central Sportz Baseball League, Northwest Assistance Ministries, Fort Bend Women’s Shelter, Forgotten Angels, and First Colony Broncos.
Q: What would you do if you won the Dream Big Award’s $25,000 grand prize?
Bryant: The theme of our January retreat was Predictable Growth Through Metrics and Customer Experience, and we plan to put programs and metrics in place to grow our business and WOW our patients and staff. We’ll be opening up two new clinics in the Houston area this year and expanding to other cities in Texas within the next five years. Aside from physical locations, we will be expanding our services to include telemedicine. Our telemedicine pilot will launch this year.
Our mission, simply put, is to light up the lives of our community. The grand prize would support our goal of creating more value for our patients by opening more clinics and launching additional services that will positively impact the pediatric urgent care industry.
Q: What’s your best advice for other small business owners who want to Dream Big?
Bryant: Education and support are vital to increasing business ownership, and I believe iron sharpens iron. I would encourage small business owners to be around other like-minded individuals and other successful and aspiring business owners. Also, it’s important to attend workshops, read books, and find ways to disrupt your industry.
Special note: Our thoughts are with the Pediatric Health Care and Social Assistance team, their community in Sugar Land and all those effected by Hurricane Harvey.