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How This Former Receptionist Became a CEO in a Male-Dominated Industry Once a receptionist, now the CEO, Letitia Hanke overcame naysayers to become the only Black female roofing contractor in California.

By Alice Edited by Deepa Shah

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a child, Letitia Hanke dealt with playground bullies who took a toll on her confidence. Through music, she found passion and purpose that led to an unexpected journey into entrepreneurship. While working three jobs to fund her rock star dreams, Hanke served as a receptionist at a roofing company. Only a few years later, she was leading her own team of roofing technicians and building a business, as the only Black female roofing contractor in California.

It hasn't always been easy, however. Even as an adult, Hanke faced detractors who told her that she would never be successful in the construction industry as a black woman. Hanke channeled that negativity into fuel for her business fire.

Hanke credits her team as the secret to ARS Roofing's success. For Alice's tips on retaining the best team, check out these resources.

Alice is a free digital platform that makes smart, instant connections between business owners and the resources they need to accelerate sustainable growth and global impact. Alice is open to all founders and prioritizes access for women and other underrepresented business owners.

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