"Raquel Riley Thomas, owner An Officer and Gentlewoman, LLC/Mrs. DC America Organization"Raquel Riley Thomas, owner An Officer and Gentlewoman, LLC/Mrs. DC America Organization

Tell us about your business

The Mrs. DC America Pageant publicly recognizes beautiful married women, living and/or working within a 25-mile radius of Washington, DC, who have obtained personal, professional and community achievements. An official preliminary pageant to Mrs. America and Mrs. World, the Mrs. DC America Pageant welcomes women from all ethnic backgrounds to compete in a yearly pageant for the title of Mrs. DC America.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

I love being a business owner because it gives me the opportunity to link or open doors for those individuals who may have had challenges of doing so in the past. I like to give forward.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

My husband has been my greatest influence. He has taught me that all parties in a deal should leave a table content and with dignity.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

I have two, becoming a Captain in the U.S. Army and starting my business.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

Though you may be in charge of your business, you may not be the subject matter expert on all things in your business. Find people who know their subject and let them take the reins in that area. It will save you time and headaches.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Having a photography background, I use visual aides to get my point across. Sometimes a picture can say more than words and get the audiences attention.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Be cordial to those who support your business, whether they are a big or small business. I make it a point to go to lunch or dinner with my supporters. People do not do business with people they do not trust.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?

One of my favorite tools is Adobe Echo Sign. It makes signing documents so much easier.

Do you have any new projects coming up?

1) We are prepping our new Queen for Mrs. America which will be held later this year.

2) We have several woman Who have signed up for next years pageant. So we are prepping them for 2016.

3) I am in the last stages of writing my book. The book will be about leadership.

4) Working on a DVD with Stacy Adams of Fitness

5) Prepping for our next event “Toast with the queen.” It is our annual reception that celebrates our queen (currently Elaine Espinola Keltz) as she embarks on her trip to Mrs. America. Woman who are business owners or who want to be a business owner should come out and meet Elaine. She is a great resource.

It will be Aug 14th at the exclusive L2 lounge from 6-9pm

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I like to DJ! I have been taking classes. I use to play the drums in a R&B band when I was younger, so music has always been a part of my life.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

To continue to build positive relationships with potential contestants and sponsors.

You want to write a book on Leadership … The military taught me leadership skills that I would like to tell younger generations about. It is a necessity in business. However before you can lead, you must first learn how to follow.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

WE magazine rocks!

What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?

web: www.mrsdcamerica.org