Juanita 'Busy Bee' Britton
An entrepreneurial aura has always radiated from the energetic and charming Juanita Carol Britton. As a child, Juanita vividly displayed her business acumen. Her talent for enterprise far exceeded that of most adults. She became affectionately known as “Busy Bee” because she was as industrious as a worker bee.
Busy Bee established her first business when she was only ten years old. She spent her summers selling lemonade on the corner of her family home in Detroit, MI. By the time she was 13, the business was so successful that Busy Bee farmed out the cookie-cutter operation to six neighborhood corners. Long before franchising became popular, Busy Bee had the street smarts to know that this was the way to go.
And she went from strength to strength. At 15, she became the business manager of a high school social club -- planning dances, trips and even concerts with several national acts. At 16, she was head cashier at her neighborhood McDonald's and at 17, as an undergraduate student of political science, Busy Bee coordinated and paid for her first solo international trip as an exchange student to Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea.
In 1980, Busy Bee graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Education from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. She returned to Detroit, as she had promised her high school principal, to teach for a year. She then moved to Washington, DC, where she attended Howard University, earning a Masters in Public Affairs.
Shortly after graduating, she landed a competitive internship in the Office of the US Trade Representative during the Reagan administration. Busy Bee has held positions overseas with the US State Department in Dakar, Senegal. She has also assisted on several special assignments during Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and William Clinton administrations. Busy Bee’s exciting career has allowed her to enjoy a wide range of consulting and management- levels roles in the governments of the District of Columbia as well as in federal positions.
The popular East Coast BZB Holiday Gift & Art Show, the African American Department Store, is Busy Bee's brainchild. Thousands of enthusiastic patrons do their holiday shopping with artisans, designers, and entrepreneurs over four weekends in November and December. This ‘Shop til ya Drop’ event will celebrate its 22nd year during the 2012 Christmas holiday season. Busy Bee credits the show's extraordinary success to the loyal support of her mother, Georgiann Austin, her brother, Donald, her two ‘adopted’ daughters, Robin Adams & Danielle Koon, and a host of employees, volunteers and long-time friends.
A driven entrepreneur and community leader, Busy Bee operates several business ventures simultaneously. In addition to the BZB Holiday Gift & Art Show, Busy Bee also owns and operates the Anacostia Art Gallery & Boutique in Southeast Washington, DC. Another successful enterprise is BZB International Tours, an educational and recreational travel service. Then there's ‘Up, Up and Away’, a program that educates young people by exposing them to golf, aviation and airport retail industries. This is done in conjunction with her parent company, BZB International, Inc., which coordinates special events and works with small businesses on retail development, marketing and strengthening consumer and community relations.
Ms Britton’s client list is as impressive as it is varied:
Busy Bee is a partner and Senior Vice President of Paradies-BZB, DC, LLC, a company that operates retail stores such as Brooks Brothers, Heritage Booksellers, CNBC and PGA stores in Washington Metropolitan area airports. She works closely with over 100 employees on publication & merchandise mix, customer service, team building and community outreach projects.
Busy Bee’s most recent endeavor is a partnership with Cardinal Resources of Pittsburg, PA where she serves as the Managing Director for Africa. In this role, Busy Bee delivers the patented Red Bird System, a solar-powered community-sized drinking water system, to communities and industrial wastewater treatments facilities. Red Bird is a self-contained, water purification system that is a high-tech solution designed to function in any environment and without any existing infrastructure. Senegal, West Africa is the site of the launch on the African continent with other launch site countries scheduled throughout 2012.
In spring 2007, Busy Bee debuted her first film, Random Acts of Kindness: A Documentary of Giving, based on an emotional dream she had nine months earlier. She founded the Random Acts Foundation of Washington, DC, dedicated to conducting random acts of kindness toward women and families through humanitarian projects nationally and internationally.
Busy Bee's communication and public relations expertise is focused on building bridges between corporate and community-based entities. In 2008, she was appointed as Director of Communications at the University of the District of Columbia where she made a ground-breaking impact in relations between the administration and the student body during a crucial period of transition at the University. A consultant, motivational speaker and trainer, Busy Bee enjoys working with aspiring entrepreneurs; rural women in micro-economic development projects; and, artists and merchants from around the world.
Busy Bee generously serves on various community and economic development boards and commissions:
In addition, she manages to find the time to be a concerned and devoted mentor and "fairy godmother" to several families in her neighborhood. In her ‘spare time’, Busy Bee enjoys a variety of passions that include scuba diving, spending the night in indigenous African villages and jumping small buildings on a single bound!
Busy Bee’s professional and volunteer enterprises have earned her national and international accolades. In October 2011, she was officially bestowed the honor of being enstooled as Queen Mother Botwe Nana Adobea II of KONKO Village in Ghana, West Africa. She is responsible for development projects and educational improvements for a community of over 400 citizens of KONKO.
Juanita ‘Busy Bee’ Britton is grateful that God has blessed her life abundantly and, in turn, she delights in making great and wonderful things happen for others.