Name: Lisa Hardy-Gardner
Business Name: 1)Reliant Behavioral Health & Community Services and my newest business is: 2) Effective Community Services TLC(Transforming Life’s Circumstances)
Year Business was started in New Haven: 2019
Why did you start your own business?
After years of working in various macro-level state and non-profit organizations, and having children, I knew that I needed to find a job that allowed for flexibility with my schedule. I wanted to be present for my children.
Why did you choose to start your business in New Haven?
I grew up in the Hill. Many of my family resided in the Hill as well. I attended Parochial Elementary/middle School(Sacred Heart Parochial School) and Saint Mary’s High School. Most of my employment from the age of 14 to the present has been in New Haven. New Haven has afforded me awesome childhood memories however, I recognized very early on and even as a teen that there was/is work that needs to be done within my community. At the time I didn’t know what that meant however it wasn’t until Grad School, while working at the New Haven Health Department and completing my internship with the public Department that I understood the depth of work surrounding systemic disparities needed to be done. While completing my internship, I had the opportunity to assist with a project that the New Haven Health Department was working on re: Maternal Health and prematurity, Heart disease, diabetes, poverty. Education, employment, and nutrition. Finding solutions to systemic disparities that affected urbanized communities was and still part of the New Haven Health Department as well as my business-ensuring that individuals and families overall well-being is stabilized through prevention and intervention services. Lastly, As an African American Woman with post-higher education, life experience and along with an extensive work history surrounding the community and mental health I understand the direct impact historical racism has on people of color no matter one’s level of learning. As a child I understood many things I felt in school however I didn’t know how or what it was called at the time, but it was evident. As an adult, I knew I wanted to assist with creating effective change for all.
What challenges did you have to overcome in starting your business?
I didn’t have to change myself or the mission I created regarding serving the community or all individuals in need. I am still learning as I go. Partnerships with like-minded businesses. Community members and volunteers is also important. At this, juncture, you will have to say “no” sometimes, and it is okay. I have stayed true to serving the community, as I will always see it as a “Ministry of help.”