Level Up: Scaling Your Business & Career in Today's Economy

Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson co-founders of NOW Corp together share insights and lessons learned from building a mission-driven business.

Stacey Abrams, a groundbreaking politician, activist, and author, and Lara Hodgson, an accomplished entrepreneur in aerospace engineering, teamed up to create NOW Corp, a visionary company focused on revolutionizing how businesses manage their cash flow. Their partnership, marked by complementary skills and shared values, offers lessons in collaboration, communication, creativity, and innovation.

Both Abrams and Hodgson bring unique strengths to the table. Abrams, who has made history in politics as the first Black woman to serve as the minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, carries an extensive background in leadership and public service. Hodgson’s expertise lies in aerospace engineering, creativity, and innovation, making her a recognized figure in the international entrepreneurial community. Together, they embody a partnership where differences are not barriers but rather opportunities for mutual learning and growth.

The basis of their collaboration goes beyond professional competence. They share a “common belief in doing good and wanting to solve problems,” which transcends titles and individual glory. Their relationship is marked by an equal division of responsibility and a trust that eliminates the need for trivial disputes over positions or titles.

A critical incident during a business meeting, where Abrams felt overlooked by the male attendees, illustrated the significance of open communication and empathy in their partnership. Rather than internalizing her frustration, Abrams chose to communicate her feelings to Hodgson. This challenge led to an essential conversation about race and strategies to address bias, shedding light on the importance of dialogue and understanding within a partnership.

Their joint venture, NOW Corp, emanates from a shared desire to help small businesses access capital. Even without direct experience in banking, they were driven to explore solutions by observing how credit cards had transformed the restaurant industry. Hodgson’s insight that “Your greatest ideas come from the demand side, not the supply side” reflects a profound understanding of innovation driven by real needs, not just market availability.

The partnership between Abrams and Hodgson represents a model of collaboration that leverages diverse expertise, shared values, open communication, and a focus on solving real-world problems. Their journey in creating NOW Corp exemplifies how differences can be harnessed to forge a strong partnership, and how curiosity and empathy can foster understanding and innovation. By aligning their efforts towards common goals and embracing a shared belief in doing good, they have set an inspiring example for entrepreneurs and professionals alike.