We had the good fortune of connecting with Virginia Leeks and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Virginia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Starting VeeMarie Consulting shortly after the pandemic began, my thought process was to help individuals within my community start successful, legitimate businesses to gain another stream of income or build generational wealth.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Outside of VeeMarie Consulting, I am the founder and CEO of Be the Village Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization for undeserved youth and juvenile offenders. I created my nonprofit to educate and engage youth through tutoring, mentoring, and counseling. As a graduating college student pursuing license in professional counseling, I intend to provide counseling services to youth through my organization to address mental health concerns and everyday struggles adolescents face such as gang violence, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, and battles with self-esteem. My ultimate goal is to open a youth center to provide an array of services to youth that society label as “at-risk”. This is my passion and purpose because by society standards I was an “at-risk youth” but I beat the odds and became a first generation college graduate with three degrees. So my purpose is to encourage other youth that if I can do it, you can too and I will be someone to help them along the way.

I have several years of experience working with juvenile offenders and foster children and I maintain these connections through my 9-5 as a social worker. Although I wear many hats professionally and face many challenges, I am able to see the need for VeeMarie Consulting and Be the Village Inc. on a daily basis and I am assured that all the hard work will make a great impact in my community.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am an Atlanta native, proudly born and raised so here’s a few of my favorite places:

We would start Sunday with virtual church service at my beloved IThrive Christian Church!
After church, we could enjoy the rest of our day with some good food and vibes at BQE on Edgewood.

Monday we could enjoy a quick breakfast at one of my favorite hidden gems Rosie’s Cafe in East point or second location in Atlanta, Ga. For dinner, we could enjoy fine dinning at “The Capital Grill” or one of Atlanta’s newest spots like Frost Bistro or Blaze Steak and Seafood.

Tuesday we could work off some of our eating, enjoy bike/scooter riding, and sight seeing on Atlanta’s belt-line. For lunch. we could dine at one of the Mexican food spots in Ponce City Market.

Wednesday we could visit “The Painted Pin” for bowling, unique games, food, and fun.

Thursday we could wine down and enjoy food and vibes at Boogalou or Cru Lounge.

Friday we could visit the Botanical Gardens for a rich experience and enjoy massages and saunas at Jeju Spa in Duluth for end-of the week self care.

Saturday we would have to visit “Ruth Chris” for their stuffed chicken before my friend’s departure and catch a season game at our amazing Mercedes Benz stadium.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to thank and shout out my African American community! During the pandemic, I witnessed many individuals within my community, family members, and friends, start businesses and light a path to ownership. Some individuals started businesses to stay afloat due to being laid off and others finally decided to put their dreams first instead of continuously building their employers’ dreams. Either way, I witnessed my community stand up in a time of turmoil and take control of their destinies. It was the most beautiful thing during such a terrible time in the world and it fueled my desire to not only start a business but also use my business to help my community. So I started VeeMarie Consulting to help individuals in my community start legitimate businesses such as LLCs (Limited Liability Companies), Nonprofit Organizations, and Partnerships to support longevity and wealth beyond the pandemic.

Instagram: @veemarie_consulting , @bethevillageinc

Facebook: @veemarieconsulting, @BTheVillage

Other: Email: veemarieconsulting@gmail.com, bethevillage@yahoo.com

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