Boss of business learned her way in trenches

Boss of business learned her way in trenches

December 8th, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Sharyn Moreland, director of Chattanooga State Community College's Small Business Development Center, is photographed in their offices at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center on Cherokee Boulevard.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.


Job: Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center

Employer: Chattanooga State Community College

Education: Bachelor's and master's degrees in business and vocational education from Youngstown State

Career: Though her degree is in education, Moreland got her business career start at now-defunct MBI Office Automation, a company specializing in services such as word processing before personal computers hit big. She later became the director of sales development for Memorex Telex. She later ran her own training and consulting business.

Personal: Moreland lives with her husband and two cats in Ooltewah. She has two stepchildren and five godchildren.

Sharyn Moreland has helped open businesses for most of her life.

Before starting her own training and consulting company, she spent seven years moving from town to town setting up franchises for a business services operation.

So helping others grow their companies as director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center is an easy fit.

"I've been there. I've walked in those shoes," she said. "It's just working with people."

Moreland began running the center Oct. 1. So far, she said she's had a lot of success helping new businesses, but that's only a part of the Chattanooga State Community College-funded center's mission.

In the coming year Moreland wants to focus more on established businesses. Moreland's center sits in the Business Development Center on Cherokee Boulevard, home of the small business incubator. That's helped her reach startups with the center's free services but made it difficult to reach out to established small businesses.

Any company with fewer than 500 employees can take advantage of the center's free consultations and seminars. Those growing businesses, she said, are where job creation lies.

But whether a new or established small business, Moreland is there to help them. Since graduating from high school in Ohio, she's wanted to be involved in business education. When she was content leaving school and taking a job at a call center, one of her teachers pushed her to go to college, inspiring her career path.

She got her master's degree in business and vocational education at Youngstown State University, then worked various jobs all over the country setting

up company franchises, managing businesses' sales divisions and starting her own training and consulting company.

"Never get stagnant. You've got to always keep learning," she said. "You never know everything you need to know to be successful."

That's a lesson she's taken to heart. Moreland has constantly adapted to take on new jobs, not always by choice.

At one point in her career, she was working in Texas and flying back to what was then her home in Florida to be with her family. She got tired of being away from her loved ones, so she quit.

Six months later, her husband lost his job, so Moreland found a new one -- closer to home, thankfully -- working in human resources.

Today, she's happy to be at her new position. She still plans to travel for fun, but Chattanooga's where she wants to stay, she said. She has plenty of experience to share with business people.

"It's not about stuff," she said. "It's about people."