TKT & Associates
THREE-YEAR GROWTH 11,106.7%
It seemed like a natural progression to Tierra Kavanaugh’s family. In 2006, she left her position as executive director for then-Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher’s newly created Office of Minority Empowerment to launch her own business, Louisville-based consultancy and staffing service TKT & Associates. She had one co-founder—her mother, Sheila Kavanaugh.
Over the next 14 years, TKT grew to roughly 250 employees as it managed diversity spending and training and offered staffing services for cities, states, and Fortune 500 companies, including Deloitte and Toyota. From 2016 to 2019, TKT increased revenue a whopping 11,106.7 percent, earning the $135 million company a spot at No. 20 on the Inc. 500—the highest ranking ever achieved by a Black female founder.
At the onset of the pandemic, the quickly growing company labored unsuccessfully to secure Payroll Protection Program funding from Kentucky banks. Kavanaugh and members of her team began conversations to reassess strategic goals and shore up any emergency planning. Then, on April 30, four months before Inc. had finalized TKT’s historic place on our list, Kavanaugh died unexpectedly of natural causes, leaving her mother, the company’s executive vice president, in charge of keeping her daughter’s legacy, and the company, alive.
I was a VP and human resources manager at TKTbefore my daughter passed. As co-founders, Tierra and I talked about succession planning. We just naturally assumed I would leave first. Now, I’m running TKT.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
MAY THE BEST BRAND WIN!
Zico founder Mark Rampolla recently bought back his coconut water company after a sale that decimated the brand. Now he’s rebuilding it with a new team, but facing fierce competition from an old rival.
HOW BORING BENEFITS CAN PAY OFF
The pandemic, the grim economy, and the stress of remote work have made employees’ physical, mental, and financial well-being more important than ever. At the same time, bosses are trying to meet their employees’ needs on a tighter budget. One solution? Voluntary benefits.
Is This a Business?
Marco Zappia, a former bar director in Minneapolis, has an idea for a cocktail commissary business.
How To Spy On Your Rivals
Inc. doesn’t recommend corporate espionage—but if you can get creative while staying on the right side of the law, go for it. That’s what John Ross, CEO of Test Prep Insight, was thinking when he heard that one of his competitors was meeting with a potential buyer. Ross—who was also contemplating a sale of his Sacramento-based online education company, wanted to get some intel on the buyer. But how?
Cybercriminals Target SMBs, But New Technology Helps Fight Them Off
Contrary to popular belief, big companies are not the only favored targets of cybercriminals. SMBs are just as attractive.
HR Technology Adapts to Remote Work's Permanence
From social issues to virtual collaboration, HR technology is evolving to meet the needs of future employment models.
I Was Wrong: No More Mr. Nice Guy
For three years, Dan O’Malley tried to be the boss everyone loves—never criticizing, always smiling. Now, he says that was the wrong approach.
Lissy Hu – Repeat Performance
Should You Be More Like Bezos?
As the Amazon founder exits the CEO role, he leaves his successor a set of rules that might be helpful to any entrepreneur bent on conquering the known universe.
Invitation To a Crisis
Sometimes, a little added pressure can help your team scale new heights.