Yolanda Shields

by Terry Watson | January 16th, 2018
Tiffany Shepard

Tiffany Shepard

Greatness begins with compassion and genuineness. Those two words can be used to describe Yolanda Shields of Nashville, Tennessee. Shields has deep roots in entrepreneurship, faith, and family. As the mother of one son, Roland Jr., she has also served as a great role model to him. He is also an entrepreneur and started his first business at the age of 11. Now 26, he is still making waves in his respective business circle.

Shields grew up listening and watching her grandfather run a businesses he started in Alaska during the 1950’s. “I knew as a child that I would start something. I felt that if my grandfather as a black man could start a successful business in the 50’s, surely I could,” she says. So that is exactly what Yolanda did.

Presently, Shields manages YES Builds Coaching and Consulting. She offers high-energy innovative hands-on training seminars and coaching with a dynamic tandem facilitation style, tool-packed to equip you for success. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, YES Builds is a consulting and training firm with a focus on business strategy, sustainability, executive coaching, and training for small and midsize for-profit and nonprofit companies worldwide.

“I have a passion for business and empowering others to succeed in all that God has for them,” Shields explains. “As an author, speaker, coach and business strategist, I assist individuals in moving their vision forward with clarity, strategy, and activation. It is one thing to have an idea but the realization of it happens when you are able to put a plan together to move it forward.” Her first book, ‘Letters to Our Sons’ was released in 2011. In 2016, she followed this feat with a second book, ‘Entrepreneurship is a Mindset not a Storefront’ in 2016.

She has over 20 years of experience as a business leader as well as international workforce development and social entrepreneurship in the continent of Africa and other third World Countries. She has also traveled extensively throughout the United States, France, and Africa, which has helped her to expand her reach in the area of business. Shields has an MBA (Human Resource Management and Entrepreneurship) and has been appointed by Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam to the Labor and Workforce Development Board for the State of Tennessee and Vice Chair of the Oversight Committee.

Throughout her career, Shields has worked with many corporations for-profit and non-profit and currently serves as a mentor at Vanderbilt University’s Wond’ry Innovation Center. She has been privileged to work with various celebrities such as CeCe Winans, Darrell Green, Art Monk, Tony Boselli, and many others. “My work always includes a component that gives back which is a core value for me and has been a part of the work I do in the continent of Africa and the USA. I believe if you are a servant leader and give back you will succeed. I am a passionate leader that believes everyone should have an opportunity to succeed in whatever they are called to do and it is possible with the right training and support,” she says.

She launched Yes Builds after holding many senior level positions and running several businesses, including consulting part-time for well over 15 years and decided it was time to do it full time. “I tell many entrepreneurs it’s okay to start small and build something that can be sustainable,” she says. Entrepreneurship is not easy but it is rewarding if you have a plan and resources to sustain the work during hard times. She admits there have been many times she wanted to quit and go back to working for someone, but would tell herself “If I can do it for them I can do it for me”. “When those times come you have to get creative and innovative and I have done just that with great collaborations and partnerships. I know those thoughts will continue to come and that’s when I reevaluate what we are doing and why and make changes where they’re needed. You have to keep it fresh and relevant and not get stuck doing things that are not working or bringing in revenue and great value to your clients and customers,” Shield says.

As an entrepreneur, Shield loves the opportunities she has to make an impact on the next generation with her Youth Entrepreneurship Summit. The summit is hosted each summer, along with her Entrepreneurship Power Hour in middle and high schools. “I believe entrepreneurship is about finding solutions to problems and I love that I am able to play a role in helping my clients find solutions,” she said.

As Shields continues to move forward, her focus remains with faith, family and friends. “Sometimes you don’t see how much you have accomplished until it’s shared by others. My faith in God continues to remind me that I am destined to win as I walk towards all that I was born to accomplish. I am inspired by the many women and men throughout history that have paved the way for me and how hard they pushed without giving up. That is why I don’t give up,” she says. “Never take small beginnings for granted. Every opportunity is leading you to the next open door. Always give 100 percent and remember things happen when you not only talk about your dreams and visions, but when you put action steps and a plan in place. Give more than expected, be a lifelong learner, give back, never stop believing in yourself, work hard, and always have a prayer strategy.”

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