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With only $20 in her pocket, Cleveland woman helps build $2 billion business

Posted at 9:20 PM, Mar 10, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Making sure women entering the workforce, or those already there, excel personally and professionally, Dress for Success Cleveland is not only helping ladies with their appearance but arming them with the skills they need to be successful.

Radhika Reddy's story begins on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

“I was in international banking in India,” said Reddy.

An educational scholarship brought her to Cleveland.

“I came with $20 in this country and worked 80 hours a week,” said Reddy.

When Reddy got her green card in 1995, she started a successful career in real estate finance.

“I’ve been working for myself ever since I was allowed to work in the country. You’ve got to be authentic and work hard,” said Reddy.

However, like many of the women who came before her, Reddy faced roadblocks.

“But I didn’t let it stop me,” said Reddy.

The discrimination she said came from misunderstandings more than being a female.

“Being a foreigner, the accent and some of the cultural issues has been my biggest problem,” said Reddy.

None of that could keep her from fulfilling her dreams.

“I don’t think you can succeed if you ever feel like you want to give up,” said Reddy.

With so much growth, Reddy brought on business partners in 2001, creating Ariel Ventures.

The female-owned LLC, which Reddy said was not intentional, has helped facilitate $2 billion in public-private finance transactions not only in Northeast Ohio but across the country.

“So, with nothing, knowing nobody, that type of success to have here is only possible in U.S.,” said Reddy.

Reddy recognizes her journey is one worth sharing.

She if often a keynote speaker or attends panels for non-profits like Dress for Success Cleveland.

“Hard work has paid off a lot in this country. I try to help inspire women that in spite of obstacles and handicaps that you can still succeed as long as you have self-confidence and don’t let other things pull you down,” said Reddy.

A motivating message that can show women what's possible when they put in the work.

“You’re not always going to be able to do what you love, but you can always love what you do. Just keep moving a step at a time and you’ll get there,” said Reddy.

This article was written by Mike Brookbrank for WEWS.