Executive Profile:Chef Tiwanna Scott-Williams
Founder & CEO of the PearlFlower Brand
Ursuline College, BSN Nursing
John Marshall High School, class of 1998
Founder of the PearlFlower Foundation
“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” – Dr. Maya Angelou
Tiwanna Scott-Williams – registered nurse turned chef – is the founder of PearlFlower Brand, which is comprised of PearlFlower Catering, Pearl’s Kitchen and the PearlFlower Foundation. A Cleveland native, and graduate of Ursuline College, Tiwanna’s commitment to family, business, and community has guided her purpose and career path. Being the mother of 15-year-old daughter Tristan Elle, has been her greatest joy along the way.
Inspired by her two grandmothers, Pearline Scott and Delores Flowers, Tiwanna started catering while still working as a full-time registered nurse. Tiwanna and her team focus more on her new venture, and they are surrounded by strong business development experts and support. Tiwanna is an active member of The Women’s Business Center, Economic Community Development Institute, The James Beard Foundation, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Chef Tiwanna takes social responsibility seriously and recently launched The PearlFlower Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to create legacy by supporting initiatives directly impacting women, children, people of color, culinary arts, entrepreneurship and non-profit organizations, including Harvest for Hunger, The Hunger Network, The Ronald McDonald House, Norma Herr Women’s Center and countless other local organizations and initiatives. Striving to uplift those around her, Tiwanna readily provides her peers with helpful resources and support to assist in their growth and development. She enjoys spending her free time providing career mentorship for aspiring entrepreneurs.
What professional accomplishment are you most humbled by and why?
Being the first black female to have a permanent space inside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
I don’t just look at this as a milestone accomplishment, I look at it as an opportunity to create a legacy, a path for other women and people of color. I may have been the first, but I certainly will not be the last.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is vital to the longevity and success of any professional. On your most challenging day, where do you draw inspiration to continue feeding your passion for this work?
I draw inspiration from my team. Working with a dynamic team (majority being women of color), is a constant reminder that the PearlFlower Brand is much bigger than I. Being able to provide jobs and opportunities is what fuels me to keep making strides as an entrepreneur. It’s realizing that others depend on me and the success of the business.
What is the toughest decision you’ve made professionally?
Taking the leap of faith by leaving a full-time career as a nurse to go into entrepreneurship and work for myself. It’s a giant leap full of uncertainty, but one I knew I had to make.
The essentials to creating a harmonious work environment are…
Having the right people who believe in the power of the collective. I know I can’t do this work alone; teamwork is essential. You need people who really believe that us coming together is what actually gets the work done and keeps the business growing strong.
What have you come to learn about success?
That you never fully achieve it. I’m always in a constant space of striving and growing. There is always more work to do, and while I am happy with our growth, I also have a responsibility to pull up those around me and help others attain their own success as well.
What have you come to learn about balancing career and lifestyle?
I’m still figuring out how to balance career and lifestyle. Balance for me is a constant struggle. Work quickly becomes your life so being able to set realistic expectations with the people you love is vital.
As a mother, there are many sacrifices I have made for my business. I have to make time for my loved ones and I know how important it is to show up for friends and family. It helps when that they are understanding but it work/life balance does come at a price.
What part of your job brings you the most joy?
Manifesting love through food. I get joy from seeing my clients happy. Also being able to inspire others, who may want to start a business or take a different route from a traditional 9-5.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned professionally? How do you apply this lesson to the work you do?
That every opportunity is not always the proper fit for you. I’ve learned the importance of advocating for yourself which means sometimes you have to say NO. Trust your gut, and ensure you are placing your time and energy into projects that are mutually beneficial.
My ideal vacation is…
Any vacation is ideal, I enjoy being near the water. Somewhere I can find good food, people and culture. Jamaica.