We had the good fortune of connecting with Joi Whitley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joi, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
I became a tax consultant to help people. As a growing teenager, I always wanted to be a teacher. When I grew older, I began to realize the public-school teachers did not earn as much money as I would have liked to earn. Math has always been my favorite subject, so taxes became a natural strength. I have a helping personality. Most importantly, the goal is to help people of color and other minority groups, such as women and the LGBTQ community. Minorities are affected by taxes because education about taxes is not there. My goal is to educate my communities. My career is more than filing taxes for me. My career consists of changing communities and changing financial situations. By the end of my career, I would like tax offices from coast to coast, stretching across all 50 states of the United States. I would also like to teach tax classes, in-person and virtually. My end goal is to establish tax offices with reliable and trustworthy tax accountants who will run the business while I spend time doing what I enjoy most, teaching.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
personality and southern hospitality but working for myself I can brand my business with my personality features. Taxes are an essential business. In 2019, I had a life-changing year. In June 2019, I separated from my husband. In August 2019, I finally quit my salary position as a Graduate Program Coordinator for WP Carey School of Business at ASU. I also filed for divorce in August 2019. In November 2019 my divorce was finalized, and in December 2019 I sold my home in the west valley and relocated to Maricopa, AZ. As a newly single mother of two daughters, life presented many challenges. The challenges that I faced in life helped build my character and who I am today as a single mother and businesswoman. It became easier to share more of myself and my personality with clients. This was something I was never comfortable doing while working for others. I had been working since I was 14 years of age. Taking this leap of faith to work for me proved to be a success at the start of 2020. Being myself proved to be even more successful. I used to be ashamed of some of life’s struggles, but now these struggles are a part of my success story.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am originally from Jacksonville, Florida and I am always looking for similar culture here in Phoenix. South Phoenix gives me the most culture. I study history and learn history about the South Phoenix area. There is a Black-owned plaza on 16th Street and Southern Ave. This plaza is a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for culture. My favorite place to eat is Southern Fried Restaurant. Although it is located in South Phoenix, the food gives me down south, home-cooking vibes. Next door is Taste of Trap Lounge. This lounge has a stage for live bands, billiards, food, games, and more. Next door on the other side of the lounge is Popular Trend Clothing Store, where you can shop for men, women, and children, clothing, shoes, and accessories. They are home of the all white, Nike, Air Force One sneakers. They have all of the shoe sizes in this popular shoe.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I began working with Focus 9 Enterprises in 2017, an accounting firm, based in Orange City, Florida. My business would not be where it is today without their support and mentorship. Over the last 4 years, I have had several pieces of training and other opportunities for growth with them as my parent accounting firm. There were times when I did not feel I had what it took to make it in the tax world, but the team consistently motivated me and encouraged me to never give up. Focus 9 Enterprises has been an intricate aspect of my learning and development. I am appreciative of their knowledge and endorsement over the years and cannot thank them enough for their commitment and dedication to helping me grow.
Kemetic Eye Entertainment by Martez Cornelius JW-Images by Jerry Maroney Jr.