July 2019

How a passion to change lives fuels this CEO

A passion to change lives and make an impact on at-risk communities drove Denise Shelton’s transition from Department of Corrections (DOC) warden to CEO.

In 2002, Shelton retired from the DOC and formed Community Bridge, Inc. (CBI) — a second-chance employer providing viable, progressive employment and trade skills development. Today, CBI has 200 employees and services six wards in the District of Columbia with snow removal, landscaping and janitorial services.

Building a legacy and changing lives

Starting a business that could serve as a legacy was critical to Shelton. Not only as something she could pass down to her daughter and grandchildren, but to also have a lasting effect by empowering, teaching and supporting others in her community.

Family first (and a little bit of bootstrapping)

When Shelton’s daughter joined the business, CBI had to get creative. They didn’t have an office space — but they did have a parking spot and a van. Not only did the van serve as a meeting spot for Denise and her daughter to make plans and grow their business, the “mommy van” did double duty as a shuttle service for Shelton’s grandchildren.

Shelton is quick to acknowledge the role Bank of America played in CBI’s success story. “As a small business owner, it's very important that I have a bank that supports me, and Bank of America made that walk with us, and made it easier,” she said.

For more information about Denise and CBI, visit the Small Business Community. And, don’t forget to contact a Small Business Specialist for financial ideas to help grow your business.