Meet Tashni-Ann Dubroy!
Former NC State chemistry student Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy has made great strides since receiving her doctorate in 2007. As a Ph.D. chemist, Dubroy has managed a rich and varied career path working as a professor, university administrator, business visionary and co-owner, and non-profit co-founder.
Dubroy credits much of her start to the AGEP program at NC State, a summer research experience for upperclassmen undergraduates, which she says “facilitated her first real job experience as a budding chemist” interning in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Novak, a renowned polymer scientist. In addition to gaining lab experience, research and oratory skills, and a scientific acumen, the program provided her the GRE preparation she needed to gain entrance to the NC State Graduate School. “Dr. David Shafer was the Director of AGEP at that time, and he was vested in the success of each of the AGEP participants and fostered an environment of camaraderie,” Dubroy says. She believes her current success is a “direct result of the opportunity to be exposed to the research realm” during her AGEP experience and emphasizes that even after she had “graduated” from AGEP, she continued to interact with Dr. Shafer and the AGEP team, a collaboration that “has not ended.”
Years later as the Special Assistant to the President for Process Optimization at Shaw University, Dubroy leads process improvement in order to maximize cost savings while increasing efficiency, productivity, and customer service. In this role, she examines internal processes while also reconnecting Shaw with the members of the Raleigh-Durham community, reengaging business leaders, and building relationships with educational and civic groups to create new partnerships. Prior to this appointment, Dubroy was Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Associate Professor of Chemistry at Shaw where she taught general, organic, and analytical chemistry courses.
Outside of her work at Shaw, Dubroy has taken on an entirely different project that flourishes her entrepreneurial spirit while still using her chemistry skills. Along with fellow Ph.D. chemist and NC State alumnus, Dr. Tiffani Bailey Lash, Dubroy created a line of natural hair care products targeted to surpass the needs of women in the Ethnic market. Their company, Tea and Honey Blends, LLC, launched in December 2009, formulates with high quality natural raw materials using their chemistry knowledge to create products that appeal to the rapidly changing styles of modern multicultural women. Their distribution has now expanded to include salons, beauty boutiques, and internet sales. Most recently, Dubroy and Lash have launched a beauty salon, Element Beauty Bar, in downtown Raleigh that celebrated its grand opening on March, 14, 2014.
Dubroy credits her interest in entrepreneurism to her parents, who were both entrepreneurs in their own industries. Dubroy was especially inspired by her mother, a beautician in Jamaica, would concoct natural recipes for hair growth from aloe vera, mayonnaise, and eggs. During her tenure in the chemical industry, Dubroy saw the need to pursue business education to equip herself with the business knowledge and lingo she needed to open her own business and worked to receive her MBA in marketing from Rutgers University.
Following the initial success of their start-up, Dubroy and Lash recognized a need for educational support, leadership, and opportunities for women pursuing careers in science like themselves. Often asked to perform speaking engagements and teach young girls how to make shampoo, the two began The Brilliant and Beautiful Foundation (www.brilliantandbeautiful.org) with the mission to transform the success ideologies that young girls have towards the sciences.
In conjunction with The Brilliant and Beautiful Foundation, Dubroy has tailored the shampoo lab she originally opened at Shaw University to suit the needs of middle school girls in light of research suggesting that girls mindsets towards the sciences are most malleable during their younger years. This summer, The Brilliant and Beautiful Foundation will sponsor an annual workshop featuring four exploratory science learning cores at NC State’s Friday Institute on Centennial Campus. During the event, 100 middle school girls will create their own shampoo in the science laboratory then brand and market their own product to an audience consisting of university faculty, staff, students, and parents.
Reflecting on her varied successes from academia to business to service work, Dubroy explains that she “migrated to the United States from Jamaica to pursue a college education” which she believes “has highly impacted the person [she has] become.” “I dream big and have the audacity to believe I can achieve my dreams, and through this art of positive thinking and sweat equity,” she says, “they become a reality.” She advises those with similarly large dreams: “If you are investing in your business, then it will only be a matter of time before diligence, positive thinking, hard work, and serendipity collide. And when it happens, it is euphoric!”
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