Supplier in the Spotlight: KOG & Company

| By James Gleason

Creating change in a corporate setting takes more than the just knowledge of what needs to happen - it also takes a passion that can be difficult to bring out in employees, team members, and even C-level executives. Luckily, Khaliah Guillory of KOG & Company has more than enough of both to motivate you and your team. Her LGBTBE KOG is devoted to helping empower people and elevate their work and personal lives to a higher level.

KOG In The Spotlight:

  • Name of business: KOG & Company (KOG)
  • Name of founders: Khaliah Guillory
  • Date founded: October 2015
  • Date certified: January 2017
  • Location of business: Houston, TX
  • Number of employees: 1

1. What is KOG & Company?

I have coined myself a "Corpreneur," which means I have a main hustle operating from the C-Level and assisting small business customers to improve their cash flow.  My side hustle, KOG & Company (KOG), is a people empowerment platform built to spark a global transformation to encourage the masses to operate outside of their fears and summon up the unmitigated gall to courageously pursue their dreams and passions and ultimately inspiring each individual to bring their whole self everywhere, not just to work.

KOG works with organizations that want to leverage inclusion to create a safe, authentic environment to increase team member productivity.

Our value proposition: KOG helps increase brand reputation, customer retention, employee retention and morale, and performance productivity. We cover a variety of socially conscious topics including performance productivity, leadership, change management, and/or diversity. Our goal is to help you, your employees and your business expand awareness and consciousness to promote creativity and innovation, remove limiting thoughts and unconscious biases, and provide actionable steps for immediate implementation. 

2. What were you doing before you founded your business? 

I assist small business customers to improve their cash flow.  Day–to–day operations included developing strategies, delivering presentations to executives, training team members, and data analysis. 

I founded The Cynthia A. Guillory Foundation (CAG) a namesake to my mother who lost the fight to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS.  CAG's mission is to continue my mother’s legacy through the gift of giving and spread ALS Awareness in Houston and surrounding communities.  Our annual initiatives include the ALS Walk to Defeat ALS, backpack/toy drives, and the giving tree.  CAG fulfills my heart's purpose, but what about fulfilling my passion?

Before I founded KOG, life was good but there was always a sense of “Is this it?”  “It this really my higher purpose?”  “Am I living the best version of my life?”  After every promotion, I told myself the next one will fill the emptiness, but it didn’t.  Then KOG was birthed.

3. How did you get your concept or idea for your business?

I’ve always had a passion for speaking.  It wasn’t odd for the comments section on my report card to note my talkative nature… further proof that professional speaking was in my future!

My strengths are developing strategies to elevate engagement, leadership and performance productivity amongst our teams.  One meeting, as I was taking my seat from delivering a presentation, the Senior HR Director leaned over and said, “I have no idea why we pay keynote speakers thousands of dollars to rally the troops when we have you on the payroll.”  As I leaned back with a smile I thought, “You are right, lady!”  In that moment, KOG & Company was formed.

4. What makes your business stand out compared to other businesses in your field?

Me! I have 14 years of experience working for a Fortune 500 company with transferable skills and competencies I leverage every day in my business.  My credentials and customer-centric approach is my biggest difference maker.

Working on the line, in middle management and now C-level allows audiences to relate and immediately connect as I share personal experiences working in corporate America. 

In addition, I created and developed I AM YOU: Dimensions of Diversity—a three-part documentary.  I have witnessed society divide us by race, religion, age, gender, and mental health.  The reality is that once we remove all the manufactured labels we realize our uniqueness isn’t a divider, but a necessary woven piece of the human fabric.

I AM YOU: Dimensions of Diversity's intention is to inspire us to make human to human connections, embrace our uniqueness and identify personal misconceptions and unconscious biases.  This is one of the many innovative tools leveraged to fulfill KOGs value proposition.

More importantly, KOGs foundation was built on passion.  I love this business. I have fun collaborating and co-creating customized experiences for clients.

5. What are your goals for your business in the next year? Next 5 years? Next 10 years?

I've got plenty! Here are a few:

  • Establish the first minority woman & LGBT owned speaker’s bureau, KOG Speaks University. 
  • Designated Certified Speaking Professional.
  • Directly and indirectly inspire 1 billion people in the world using the KOG platform.
  • I AM YOU: Dimensions of Diversity docuseries is distributed through Super Soul Sunday, Hulu, Netflix globally and ultimately encourages humanity to unite by having courageous conversations. 
  • Raise one million dollars to find a cure for ALS.
  • Develop virtual reality licensed training software for B2B, B2C, and B2G

6. What advice would you give to an LGBT person starting a business?

Leverage and utilize all resources available.  Own your lane and develop relationships now for potential collaborations down the road.  Visibility is a must and a key component of building authentic relationships.

What I have learned thus far on my journey to entrepreneurship is you MUST protect your creative space.  Guard it like it's your last prized possession! Trust that the universe is conspiring on your behalf hence there is no such thing as a missed opportunity. 

Step over your failures.  Keep moving.  Sometimes it will suck.  Embrace it.  Your grit muscles are being developed.

Schedule weekly self-care dates with yourself.

Lastly, adopt the motto: Why duplicate mediocrity when you can borrow genius?

This blog post is part of a series celebrating Black History Month 2018 by highlighting the contributions of black LGBT business owners. Interested in having your LGBTBE in the spotlight? Email [email protected].