The bright-eyed, wide-smiled face of Latasha Wakefield-Robinson is no stranger to Newport and Jackson County at this point, as she has made it her point to be known in the community and is constantly advancing her agenda to help others grow themselves. Robinson is an entrepreneur who opened her business, All That I Am Books, after realizing that there were no opportunities for writers to be published in and around Jackson County, but she didn’t stop at the publishing business. Her store also does printing and reproducing and allows for other entrepreneurs to display their products for the public, and that’s just the face of who “Tasha” really is.
Robinson graduated from Southwest Community College, obtaining a degree in Accounting with Computer Concentration and Business and Legal Studies. She received her ministerial license about the same time. She moved her family to Newport in 2013, after caring for her sick sister. “I liked it,” she said about Newport. “The drive was peaceful from Memphis and my life was hectic.” At the time, Robinson had a 17 year old daughter getting ready to graduate and was busier than she ever intended to be with school events, working and volunteer opportunities. “It got to the point where I said, ‘You know, God made me self-employed so I could enjoy my kids and I am missing everything and I have to make a big change.’” The decrease in cost-of-living was definitely an incentive, as well as being with family. But Latasha found herself in a slump. “I was so sad. My kids were like, ‘What did you do to us? There’s nothing here. What are we going to do?’ But I loved it.”
For the first year, the studious worker sat back and watched. While writing a book, she observed just how the community worked. She wanted to know who did what and where things were done and how everything was run. When it came time to publish her book, Robinson realized there was nowhere to be published. “That made me depressed,” she honestly revealed. “I was praying one day and the Holy Spirit said, ‘Be the solution to the problem.’” So she took the task seriously. For a year Robinson collected the things she would need to open a publishing company, buying from holiday sales, picking up items as she saw them, and she stock-piled them in her attic until the day she would open her store, completely stocked and ready to run debt free. When Robinson opened her business in downtown Newport, she felt confident that she was prepared to run a successful business, complete with a business plan and viable need, but she shortly felt that her plan was not going to survive. “I was downtown, and it was a bad area, nobody knew me, I was trying to figure out how to survive in the city and it cost me.” Those feelings, those questions, those struggles are what launched her into being the catalyst she is today for other entrepreneurs. “I’m just trying to be the person that I needed when I was starting out.”
Today Latasha Wakefield-Robinson is the voice of opportunity for minorities in the business world. She serves as a chairwoman of Entrepreneur Economic Development, is on the Dream Council and the Delta Economic Advancement Regional Commission for Congressman Crawford, and other positions in the community as needed. She serves her church, holds speaking engagements, is a mentor for women seeking to better themselves, provides a place for women just needing an opportunity to grow and feel better about themselves, works as a prophetess for those seeking spiritual guidance, and coaches t-ball during the summer.
And in her free time, she learns. “I used to call myself the jack of all trades and the master of none,” she laughs. “I want to know how to do everything. I don’t want to have to depend on somebody to lie to me and I’m not able to follow up behind them.” She said she doesn’t want to do the jobs, but wants to be able to check up behind someone she’s hired to do a job and do it right. “I’ve been taken advantage of, I put myself in a position where that will never happen to me again. So everything that I do in my business, I have learned and I put my hands on. I try to do that for everyone else. Everything that I do, I teach people along the way.” And teach she does.
Robinson has started a magazine, The Small Business News, that will highlight local entrepreneurs and will be released very soon. In October, thanks to her organization and communication skills, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission will be in Newport to assist those who want to learn about being certified as a Minority Business Enterprise, Woman Owned Business and Veteran Owned Business. She is also hosting classes such as Quickbooks for Beginners, and other business related courses and will be announcing new courses as they become available.
“I just want to help people grow. There are plenty of opportunities here, but people have to be willing to work, find the help and reach out for new opportunities.”
Along with the business-minded work, Latasha has a heart for the young people in Newport, especially young ladies. Her newest class being offered is a purity class for girls ages 12 to 17.  She regularly holds an Overcoming Domestic Violence workshop and will individually counsel those needing guidance through the tough times of life. She has recently developed a ministerial training program which will educate those who feel called into ministry in the different areas and types of ministry and how to be used effectively for Kingdom work.
“I just want to be available for what God needs me to do,” Latasha said. “It is my calling to meet people where they are and help get them to the level God intends for them to be.”
For more information about Latasha Wakefield-Robinson’s classes, ministries or workshops, contact her at 870-201-1520