We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process to start my own business did not happen overnight. It was the culmination of my upbringing, frustrations, and the yearning to do something greater than myself that led me to become a business owner. I learned how to become a publisher and offer custom publishing services, because major publishing companies were not able to meet me where I was in the publishing process. Between 2013 and 2014, these companies consistently ignored and minimized my requests as a customer to individualize their packages and pricing to help me become an author. Out of frustration, I began researching what I needed to do to finalize my own project and become my own publisher.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My overall career experience has been in office administration, human services, and the legal support field. In 2016, I earned a Paralegal Degree specializing in E-Discovery. I am currently a Client File Retention Coordinator at Hunton Andrews Kurth. I am the CEO of Ascension Publishing, LLC, Vice President of Entrepreneurs and Business Owners, Editorial Manager of the Healing Connector, creator of the Issues of Men platform, public figure, co-host, author, mentor, actor and speaker. Nothing came easy! In life, challenges, walls and barriers do exist, but they are less likely to be an issue if you change your perception and find a solution to move past or through it. It’s a choice. It was passion! It’s a process. My career path in employment and business has not been an easy one because I was often overlooked on contracts, and prominent positions based on my skin color, hair style and other prejudices. I understood then that no matter who I was as a person, no matter how much education I had, no matter what fraternity or organization I join, no matter what position I held in business or employment, no matter how much money or material things I have, no matter what title or status I have, that I wouldn’t be treated equally or looked at as human being. These societal dysfunctions forced me to learn and adapt to my situations and surroundings. To the point that I no longer cared about what they thought or said as long as they didn’t physically touch me, take away my ability to plan, earn, and provide for my family. I have been hired, chosen and or elected to many of the positions mentioned above based on my work ethic, track record, character, attitude, adaptability, dedication, perseverance, and persistence. None of which would have been recognizable if I didn’t fight for myself, consistently move forward, and use the negativity that I received in a positive manner. I wanted to get into the game, show my skills, and become a starter, so I did. I learned how to play their game and became a star. I went back to school and earned a degree to open up opportunities to earn more money and add credibility to my name as an author, mentor and speaker. I had to cut my locs twice since moving to Virginia to get the position and money I wanted. Otherwise I was just another finalist interviewing for a job I would never obtain, but the sacrifices put me in positions to earn more to invest in my savings, my businesses, and my family. Whether you or I feel that the trade off was fair or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I learned so I can share this information with you so that you may not continue to experience life from a victimized standpoint. If someone puts a mountain in front of you, use the system to climb or go around it. My publishing business came into existence because of the obstacles I experienced becoming an author, overpricing, stringency, and horrible customer service. Ascension Publishing provides quality, and customized services to bring our clients’ creative vision to life. We meet our clients needs wherever they are in the publishing process.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting out of town for the week and based on his preferences I would take him to the following places. Since he loves great tasting food I would take him to Bonefish, Mission Barbeque, LaTaza, Sergios, the Flying Pig, Skrimp Shack, Ma Michele’s, Southern Kitchen, Croaker Spot, Garfield’s, Traditionz Smokehouse, the Cheesecake Factory, and Olive Garden. For an occasional cigar I would take him to Enzo’s and Mona’s Cigar Lounge. For the combination of food, drinks, shooting pool and bowling I would take him to Uptown Alley, River City Roll, AMF Shrader Lanes, or Slingshots. For desert I would go to Desert Divas and the Tipsy Cup Cakes RVA. For dancing and night life, the Kabana Rooftop, Images, 150 North, 63ThirtyFive, and the Pit. For art and sight seeing I would take him to Byrd Park, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and various minority tours.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost. I want to dedicate this shout to God, my parents, Linda Richardson, and the late James A. Richardson. My wife, Sonya Allen, James Richardson, Jr., Leslie White, Lillie Marshall Collick, Bonita Claiborne, Cornel Enoch, Derrick Hall, Anthony Hoyt, Muhammad Wilson, Russel Blanding, Kimberlaine Johnson, Kevin Jackson, Tameeka Leslie, Rodney Allen, William Allen, family and friends. I also want to thank all the members of Entrepreneurs and Business Owners, Everyday People 365, the S.O.E. Realty Group, Transformation RVA, Black Connections, LLC, Storm Talk Radio 365, Generational Words, LLC, Eyes of Your Heart, LLC, and the Book Club. I am off to a great start with your involvement, guidance, and support as I continue to evolve as an individual and entrepreneur. Thank you!