Angela Thornton

by Terry Watson | September 16th, 2016
Angela Thornton (Photo by Jarvis Harris)

Angela Thornton (Photo by Jarvis Harris)

There are three simple things that Angela Thornton believes that someone who strives for success must acknowledge and live by. First, she says remove the word “can’t” from your vocabulary. Secondly, get rid of the dream killers in your life. Lastly, she says you must have no fear, because fear is the biggest dream killer there is.

A native of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Angela moved to North Carolina at a very young age. After high school she received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from North Carolina Central University in Durham and her master’s degree in computer science from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. She has over 20 years of IT corporate experience while working in various roles as a software engineer, business systems analyst and project manager. However, her true gratification comes from being a mother to her 13-year-old son and athlete. When she is not working, she can be found traveling, painting, working out or playing flag football with the Durham Lady Bulls flag football team. Earlier this year, she completed her first mini-triathlon.
She is the owner of three very dynamic businesses. Adella Creative is a web design, graphic design and IT consulting business that provides full-service, website development. She also specializes in customized websites, WordPress sites, and SquareSpace platforms. “We also provide graphic services such as logo design, business card designs, flyers, booklets and more. Adella Creative can also assist with social media set up and management, as well as other IT related services,” she says.

As a web applications developer for many years in the corporate world, Angela also developed a love for website and graphic design. After successfully completing a website for a friend many years ago, she realized there was something else she was good at doing and more gratifying than her corporate job. “I love working with graphics and layouts. What’s tedious to most is fun for me,” she states. Her graphic design business has grown by leaps and bounds, mainly due to the support of repeat customers and referrals. It was because of this growth that she felt it was time to introduce her business to a much larger audience and thus, Adella Creative was born.

Her second venture is Sunrise Escapes Travel, an independent host travel agency specializing in cruises, destination weddings, group travel and tours. While being certified with Sandals, Disney and Royal Caribbean, they can book any cruise, resort or tour that their clients may desire. They are capable of producing custom travel packages for their clients, while working with them to understand their destination desires, such as adding zip-lining adventures with their kids in the rain forests, or a romantic relaxing get-a-way with their significant other at an all adult, all-inclusive resort.

From 2013 – 2014, Angela was involved with a marketing business in the traveling industry. “Although I enjoyed the travel aspect of the business, the networking marketing side of the business didn’t appeal to me as much,” she says. While on a Sandals trip for travel agents in December 2014; she met a lady who had her own home based travel agency. This lady was kind enough to tell Angela how she started her agency. Fully enlightened by the information that was shared with her, she decided to start an agency of her own, Sunrise Escapes Travel was born in January 2015 and currently has seven independent agents who book travel under the agency’s name.

Angela’s third venture is North Carolina Staged Interiors, a home staging and interior design business focusing on the Raleigh/Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Garner and Morrisville areas of North Carolina. “We understand the buyer demographic and real estate market for each of these areas,” she says. North Carolina Staged Interiors’ styling and redesign services connects their client to each space in their home, so that it’s organized, beautiful, stress-free and the perfect reflection of them.

She already possessed a natural talent for creativity and design, whether it be architecture, art, graphics or interior design. She was accepted to Hampton University to pursue a degree in architecture upon graduating from high school, but instead found herself following a different path towards engineering and received a degree in computer science. Over the years she has enjoyed decorating her own homes as well as those of friends and family. Having been a part time real estate agent since 2001, she realized that a home staging business would blend well with her real estate practice, while giving her the opportunity to live her passion.

In 20 years of working as an IT professional in corporate America, Angela says she has been laid off four times. “I remember the first time I was laid off, my mother was in shock and disbelief. I told my mom that’s how corporate America works. My mother grew up in a generation where someone could work for a company for 30 plus years and then retire. You got pensions, retired somewhere and lived a good life in your golden years. That’s not the case anymore. When I was laid off the second time, I knew I had to have a “plan b”. Well now I have three of them.”

Angela is mostly inspired by her mother who she also describes as her hero. “She raised three kids alone and had a phenomenal career in academics as an administrator, dean and nurse educator. She didn’t understand why I wanted to leave such a good paying corporate job to start my own business but before she passed, I think she realized that I was doing what was necessary and was also proud of my tenacity to make it happen,” she says. Additionally, she credits her grandfather with paving an entrepreneurial path for her, as he owned a barbershop and sold hair care products himself.

More than anything, Angela loves to help others. That is another reason why she wanted to get out of the cubicle and connect with others. “I’m a people person and my businesses have allowed me to make so many friends and meet some of the most interesting and accomplished people,” she says. Moving forward she says she hopes to add more agents to her travel business and employ others. “I want to provide jobs to our community and internships to our young, African American students so that they can have some experience when they graduate and not just a piece of paper,” she said.

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