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Small Business Success Story - Imani Productions
After 12 years working as an army nurse, Khedijah Iman Vidal retired to life as a civilian in 1998. Her years in service gave her a basis in administration and discipline and provided her with a lifetime of adventures, both good and bad. During her military career she served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia.
After retiring, she settled in Atlanta, GA and returned to school at the Art Institute of Atlanta. There she pursued degrees in both video production and multimedia. Khedijah graduated with honors in 2001 at age 47 and earned several prestigious awards, including "Most Contributions to the Video Department" award and "Best of Show" for her portfolio. Her work is still featured in the student handbook and shown during the annual open house at the Art Institute of Atlanta.
After graduating, Khedijah continued with several note-worthy projects she begun while in school, including Tyler Perry's Play "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", Gospel Music Stellar Awards Show 2001, “Bonner Brother's Hair Show 2001”, “Helping Teens Succeed” national promotional video, and music videos with several independent record labels.
While in the midst of wrapping up those loose ends, life intervened in a way that set her off course for several years. In the winter of 2001, Khedijah moved to Richmond, VA to care for her sick mother.
Imani Productions was already in the formative stages while Khedijah was living in Atlanta. She had learned the technical skills and gathered an impressive list of professional contacts there, but she knew the business wasn’t developed enough to survive the move. She served a stint as Executive Producer Representative for one episode of Harriett Turnquest TV show "Citizen's Alert." She produced one more show from Richmond, via telephone and Internet conversations with her crew. Time and money were stretched to the breaking point.
Khedijah quickly found employment at YWCA working with her second love, children. For three years she worked as an after-school teacher. Her crowning achievement at the YWCA was the successful development and implementation of "Star Power", a program designed to help students improve their SOL scores. Since its inception, YWCA students involved maintained an 85% SOL passing rate.
In the winter of 2003, Khedijah and friend came to New Visions, New Ventures with plans to start a daycare center. It became evident that the partnership was on shaky ground and that plan fell through the cracks after six months of hard work.
Discouraged by the dissolution of the partnership, one of the business counselors encouraged Khedijah to think about what she really wanted to do, not what she thought, as a 50-year-old woman, she was expected to do. She admitted to having a video production degree and to her dream of entering the field as an entrepreneur. Revisiting the long dormant idea of beginning her own video production company, Khedijah realized her passion. She just needed the encouragement to dream it was possible.
Expecting to be paid what she’s worth in the market was a challenge for Khedijah. NVNV counselors gave her the confidence to project herself as a professional and to ask for appropriate compensation. While in the program, she has had opportunities to meet other women who are ready to set out on their own and has been introduced to business and networking opportunities such as the VBO fair.
After months of struggling with marketing, she began directing her business to the faith community by creating public access program highlighting church events. She is responsible for producing, shooting, editing and packaging these programs. She is currently working on an historical documentary series as well.
Most importantly to Khedijah, starting her own business has made her children see that dreams can be chased and caught.