We believe that business is personal. It effects the function and flow of our families, neighborhoods, communities, regions, states, and countries. We also understand that a nation’s economy is built on the hope of entrepreneurs and the success of small businesses. OneLight International recognizes to improve our communities, we must first improve our small businesses: teach and hone essential business skills, support owners both spiritually and financially, create an environment where knowledge and resources can be shared, and mentor the next generation of business minded youth by exposing them to seasoned and successful community members.
“Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’ And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ (Luke 2: 46-49 (NKJV))
OneLight International (OLI) is nonprofit public benefit corporation created by an entrepreneurial family—Velma Union (mother), Juan Walker (son), and Andress Walker (daughter)—to strength communities through the lens of providing financial literacy, small business technical assistance, and spiritual guidance. The organization, then Accents for Jesus International, was created in 1990 as the community development arm of Accent Financial Group, a financial services company. As the organization grew, so did its reach; OneLight Education Consulting was formed as a DBA shortly after. In 1998, Accents for Jesus International and OneLight Education Consulting merged. One year later the organization was reorganized and renamed to what is now known as OneLight International.
OLI is actively engaged in communities across Southern California, with an emphasis on Los Angeles and its surrounding cities. The organization is a long term stakeholder providing small business support and guidance to individuals, families, organizations and government entities. The organization has had a long standing focus on training youth to be healthy, happy, and productive members of their communities. The YouthSpeak Initiative facilitates exposing urban youth to diverse people, locations, and income creation opportunities to spark a paradigm shift altering life trajectories.
Small business is at the center of OneLight International’s vision of sustainably vibrant and flourishing neighborhoods and communities. The Community Wealth Builders Initiative (CWBI) has been created to address the gaps in services for local entrepreneurs and small businesses. Business coaching, innovative strategy development, educational training, and business management services that support businesses through inevitable growing pains. Drawing from the experiences of the entrepreneurial staff, our business coaching serves owners holistically: business, personal, familial, circumstantial and spiritual. The Initiative’s classes prepare business newcomers for the entrepreneurial lifestyle as well as provide technical assistance for current owners. Our strategic planning services assist entrepreneurs in practical expansion efforts. CBWI’s business management services takes the burden off of the entrepreneur or business owners by filling in wherever is needed until permanent employees are hired or outsourcing is feasible and/or affordable.
OneLight International continues to use the wisdom of yesterday, the innovation of today, and faith in the future to cultivate social enterprise in our neighborhoods and communities.
To see neighborhoods & communities in the United States and abroad thrive as they become self-sustaining through healthy social enterprise.
To serve and equip underserved individuals and families as they become productive citizens of a global economy through social enterprise.
Velma W. Union, D. Min., Co-Founder & Executive Director
Dr. Union has amassed a wealth of business knowledge over her 40+ year career. She has experience in the restaurant, finance, insurance, business mergers & acquisitions industries. Her specialties, however, include tax preparation, planning, issue resolutions and nonprofit formation & management. The Internal Revenue Service was her training ground for understanding tax policies and problem resolution. She was an auditor for financial institutions with assets of $250M. In 1990, Velma acquired Accent Financial Group Inc, a financial services company with an emphasis in insurance, real estate sales, and mortgage banking. The company was a family affair with her children, Juan Walker (deceased) and Andress Walker, as officers of the organization. During her tenure at Accent, she earned certificates in Real Estate Development for the University Southern California and Economic Development from Harvard University.
While at Accent Financial Group, OneLight Education Consulting—which later was reorganized into One Light International—was formed as the nonprofit arm focusing on community engagement and small business education. In 1995, the tax service division, Velma’s specialty, was acquired by an outside firm; the insurance and real estate divisions were headed by Juan Walker. In 1997, Velma took a hiatus from the business world to pursue Theology degrees, a Master and later a Doctorate, at Fuller Theological Seminary. That same year she formed The Lord’s Church located in an urban sector of Los Angeles, CA. Earning her Doctorate in Ministry in 2005, Dr. Union has since worked to marry economics and theology together as she served small businesses locally, nationally, and internationally. She believes that business IS personal and that it takes spiritual as well as financial wisdom to be successful. As a teacher, business coach, and strategist, she continuously enlightens and supports both individual entrepreneurs at institutions such as The University of LaVerne, Fuller Theology Seminary, and the National Urban League. She has also published the book Is The Church The Church?, exploring the historical and cultural context of the Black Church, its importance, and ways it can improve as the society evolves.
Dr. Alonzo (“Lonnie”) Anderson, Ph.D., Co-Founder
A co-founder of One Light International, Lonnie is a cognitive psychologist with a background in public policy and education. His emphasis is in child growth, development, and learning styles. He has more than 30 years of experience as a university professor, research psychologist and consultant to a diverse array of public and private organizations. He served as the director of Literacy Research for the University of California, San Diego. He earned both a Masters of Arts and Ph.D. from Michigan State University in social psychology; Lonnie also studied as a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University.
Andress Walker, Treasurer
Andress is an accountant and auditor with more than 20 years of experience in the private sector. She proudly served America in the United States Navy for 12 years. She now provides accounting and business advice to a diverse clientele including medical professionals, business executives, celebrities and professional athletes. Ms. Walker earned her BA in Business and Organizational Studies from Pitzer College. She has an MBA, with an emphasis in accounting, from the University of Phoenix. She is an educator in the community college system and is currently a doctoral candidate with an emphasis in Accounting.
Gloria Klug, Director of Marketing
Gloria received a Bachelor of Arts studying journalism at UCLA. She sits on the board of directors for the Culver City Chamber of Commerce and the Inglewood Area Ministers Association. She’s is a community organizer with a heart for community health and the development of boys to men in South Central Los Angeles. She has devoted her time for the past 7 years to a group home for boys on probation. Gloria was ordained a minister in 2013.
Erica Harris, Business Coach/Program Director
The Community Wealth Building Initiative
Erica is a social entrepreneur with 10 years of experience in business formation, brand identity, and business management. She owned Happy Baby Vending Inc, a vending machine company that conveniently sold eco-friendly diapers, wipes, and organic snacks. An alumnus of the University of California, Davis, Erica established and managed the Financial Management Program on campus for four years. Her college concentrations include Nutrition and Managerial Economics. In addition to her university education, Erica has also received business training through the UCLA Anderson School of Business’s Riordan Scholars and Fellows Programs, the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy, and Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence’s Urban Rebound Business Accelerator Program. Ms. Harris has garnered awards and recognition from the UC Davis Big Bang Competition, the National Urban League, and the Hitachi Foundation’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program.