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Trailblazer SPOTLIGHT:
Angela Johnson

Trailblazer SPOTLIGHT: Angela Johnson

Name: Angela Johnson
Pronouns: She/Her
Organization: Diverse Hampton Roads
Job Title: Founder
Organization Website:
Years lived in Norfolk: 21
Three words to describe me: Diligient, Conscientious, Compassionate

Angela Johnson
Tell us about yourself. 

I was born and raised in Norfolk. I have a degree in Biology from Old Dominion University. ODU is where I met my husband of almost 25 years. I have three terrific kids and a cat named Hunter. One of my passions is technology. It’s led me to start my web design and development business. Another passion of mine is traveling. I love visiting new areas and learning about other cultures. Immersing myself in different cultures has always been a passion of mine since childhood. Finally, nature is a big part of my life. I love being outdoors and surrounded by the beauty of nature (water, trees, animals, natural landscapes).

What is Diverse Hampton Roads?

Diverse Hampton Roads is an organization dedicated to celebrating, showcasing, and supporting diverse micro and small businesses (minority-owned, women-owned, black-owned, veteran-owned, disabled-owned, and LGBTQ-owned) in the Hampton Roads area.

Our mission is to help these businesses gain more visibility online and in the Hampton Roads community. Additionally, we strive to cultivate networking and workshop opportunities while providing resources to assist in their growth.
Our vision is to build a community where customers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations come together, celebrating and championing the diversity of Hampton Roads.

The idea to start Diverse Hampton Roads came in 2021 during the pandemic. I was visiting a local restaurant and saw numerous business cards in a designated area. I took some of the cards home with me, and upon review, I noticed that most were minority-owned businesses. Many were either lacking a website or any digital presence.

In the current business landscape, establishing and maintaining growth for a small business requires a robust digital presence. Any micro or small business lacking a strong digital footprint misses out on opportunities to connect with its target audience. In addition, building a solid digital presence goes beyond just having a website and some social media accounts. A business’s name should be found in a variety of places online to maximize exposure. Unfortunately, many micro and small businesses operate with minimal to no marketing budgets and often lack access to the beneficial information to help them effectively promote their businesses to potential customers.

After reflecting on how to utilize my web designer/developer background and resources to assist, I created a website featuring a directory. A platform where micro and small businesses can add their businesses to enhance their digital presence/exposure and gain information to help them elevate. Additionally, I made a deliberate decision to focus on all diverse businesses, recognizing the significant challenges they face in this country regarding growth opportunities.

How did you get connected to the ERT and the Foundation?

I got connected to the ERT when it was suggested by my friend and one of our members, Rhashida Bess, that we hold a social event at Plum Point Park.

Given your business expertise and the nature of what you do, what benefits do you feel the trail has for Norfolk?

I think the trail is a great place to bring diverse groups of people together for exploration and various events. It provides a great opportunity for businesses to get involved in community engagement.

What benefits has the trail provided you and what benefits do you think it has for individuals?

The trail has provided a place of peace for me. I’m a nature lover. Every time I’m on the trail, I feel a sense of calm and I feel relaxed. I can easily forget about all the other stuff going on and just be present and in the moment. The trail has also allowed me to see parts of the city that I’ve never seen before. I think it gives individuals a great opportunity to get exercise, meet other people, and connect with the coastal landscape of Norfolk

If you meet someone who has never been on the trail before, what would you say to them to get them interested in it?

I would tell them, “You need to check it out. The trail is one of those must-visit gems in the Hampton Roads area.  It spans the Norfolk portion of the Elizabeth River. You can ride your bike, run, or walk along it. The trail allows you to see beautiful views of the river, explore some of Norfolk’s historic neighborhoods and landmarks, and discover various parks and green spaces, allowing you to soak up the beauty and peacefulness of being outdoors.”

What is your favorite place on the trail?

Plum Point Park is my favorite spot.

Favorite Trailgrazing spot? (i.e. best local food spot steps from the trail)

Neptune’s Fury Coffee Co.

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