Valarie Dock of Bolana Enterprises

Learn more about the philosophy that drives Bolana Enterprises, Inc. in an upcoming issue of Contracting Profits

Pluck any book of business and leadership off the shelves of a local bookstore, and it's a near-certainty that at least one mantra will be found over and over: hard work leads to success.  

It seems so simple! As any business owner will testify, though, the recipe for success is a bit more complicated in the real world. Often, a successful company springs forth from a combination of people, place and timing. Bolana Enterprises, Inc. in Beltsville, Maryland, is exactly this type of company. Valarie Dock, the founder and president, embodies the much sought-after qualities of leadership that ensure sustained success: a drive to succeed, a penchant for sincerity, and a genuine compassion for people and community.  

Bolana's growth since 2004 has been remarkable, and according to the Women Presidents Organization, her company is one of the 2021 Fastest Growing Companies — and poised for even greater success in the coming years. Take a look at what one of the WPO's "Women 2 Watch" builds the foundation of her company on: 

1) Build from the Ground Up: Valarie took some college courses, but never graduated —instead, she jumped into government work at an early age. After leaving her government job, she worked for another woman that owned a janitorial company for 11 years. 

"I didn't think I'd be an entrepreneur, but once I started, I really liked it," says Valarie. "I like working with clients, and I love working with our employees. We are a family, not just a company." 

Creating a role that provides fulfillment and happiness can help budding leaders power through the early trying years of building a company. 

2) Invest in Community: Having taken some college courses, she knows the value of education. Now, she's in a position to help youth in her community have access to resources and education that can make a difference in someone's future. Her husband, LeRoy, came on board and they started small, mentoring 7th and 8th grade students at a local school twice a month before increasing the frequency. Now, they provide meals for a local crisis center, track down clothing and goods for shelters, and are a regular presence at marches and outreach events. Their name and brand is synonymous with positive change — and every positive association matters. 

3) Empower Employees: Bolana wouldn’t work without the people up and down the team pitching in. From the very beginning, the Dock's placed a special emphasis on developing a family feel in their company. In a time where many businesses are struggling to find and retain quality workers, Bolana has given their employees a sense of belonging that helps with retention and recruitment. They now offer six scholarships on a yearly basis, bonuses for academic achievement, and access to tools needed to help with distance learning when COVID-19 cases pop up — proving that Bolana is just part of the journey for their workers. 

4) Be Sincere: In 2022, it's hard to put up any sort of front that clients won't eventually see their way around. Bolana is built on a sense of trust and sincerity that permeates their operations and makes clients feel valued and safe.  

"We build trust in two ways," says Dock. "Our employees trust us, they know that they'll have everything they need when they're out on job sites where it's easy to feel isolated. They have the training they need, and we connect with them so they know they're supported." 

In turn, the clients have trust in Bolana. The company puts special emphasis on hiring employees that fit into the overall company culture, and strive to make sure on-the-ground employees and clients are a good fit. Each client is unique, and Bolana knows that there's more to doing a good job than just completing the task.