My Library and Courses
Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Give Back to Your Community

The day we taped this story about Monica Morgan, we saw her in the library of the local middle school.  Pictures like this one were in a display she was showing the children while she talked about her  trip to South Africa where she took the photos.

Key Question:


Give, give and then give some more.

The library of Small Business School is full of generous business owners because those are the only owners we find interesting. Selfish people are not worth studying and they don't build the type of businesses we want to share with the world.

Q: What did we find Monica involved in and do you think her motivations are purely altruistic?

We found Monica at a middle school talking about the display of photographs she took when she went to record South Africa's first free election. Later we saw Monica taking time to be a big sister to a little girl.

First, let's consider the school activity. What on the surface looks like Monica taking time from her business to teach young people is really one of the ways she generates revenue from the South Africa project. She landed a corporate sponsor for this exhibit and the sponsor wants the exhibit placed in many locations where people can learn about the historic event.

Therefore, in a way, this is not giving back to the community it is doing the work assigned to her by her sponsor. The corporate sponsor then is really the entity giving back to the community and it is all good. Everybody wins.

The big win for Monica is that she earns hard cash and at the same time she is the face of generosity.

Second, what about the little girl? It would have been a lot easier for Monica to get through her busy day without having to tend to a young person. The extra effort Monica put forth to interact and include her protege will be rewarded somewhere down the line. In the film, "Pay It Forward" this idea is demonstrated but this is an ancient concept. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:1, "Cast your bread on the water." Every person needs to learn this lesson and we see business owners every day demonstrating that they understand its power.

Think about it

What community service are you involved in now?  Do you feel good when you complete your volunteer work?  Is the group making progress?  Are there other groups that might be a better fit for you?  Do you give employees time off to volunteer?

Clip from: Monica Morgan Photography

Detroit:  Meet Monica Morgan.   She took a calculated risk and it paid off. And, then she got serious about running a business.

In this episode of the show you can learn many lessons about sole proprietorships, risk-taking, sharing, mentoring, being mentored, and chutzpah (even temerity).  Today, Monica runs a full-service photography studio and is at the top of her game. She is a photojournalist who contributes to Newsweek, Jet, the Detroiter and the Associated Press. Rosa Parks first commissioned Monica to do the cover for her bestseller, Quiet Strength, then she became Rosa's photographer.

We all ask, "How can I get to the top of my profession?" Monica has done it.  Mix one part courage (heart, the muscle) with two parts intelligence (brains, that deep knowledge of your profession) and three parts tenacity (personal will), and then, constantly reinvent the formula. Magic begins to happen.

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Monica Morgan Photography

Monica Morgan, Founder

500 River Place Drive
Suite 5109
Detroit, MI 48207

Visit our web site:

Office: 313-259-7005

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1990

Give Back to Your Community

Dr. STANLEY WALDEN (Principal, Hutchins Middle School): (Voiceover) And what a privilege for the students at Hutchins Middle School to see this, to be a part of this history.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The school principal, Dr. Stanley Walden, tells us local business is involved with students at Hutchins.

STANLEY: And we are delighted to have Monica here today as a small business owner not only to talk with kids but to show them the exhibit.

MONICA: (talking to students) Well, all of a sudden I heard this loud noise, and then a succession of noises. And this woman turned and looked and saw that this young man--after they looked up into the sky, and we realized no one was shooting at us after we had taken cover, they went right back to register and to vote, because bombs and bloodshed had become a way of life.

They died for a right that many people here take for granted. So these are the photographs that occurred as a result of the bombing here. This particular picture was the front page of the Detroit News here. And it went all over the world. This is a woman who was actually searching for her child moments after the bomb had gone off.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Monica's exhibit has corporate sponsorship and is a reminder of how important business can be to schools.

STANLEY: Small business is welcome in this school from the time we open in August through June, just either to work one-on-one or to talk with an entire class to explain the business, maybe provide an opportunity that we can take the class to the business.


STANLEY: Because students do not always make a strong connection or the link between education and a career.

HATTIE: Oh, so we need to teach them...

STANLEY: And that's a bridge that can be gapped.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Next on Monica's agenda came a press conference at a downtown hotel.

Unidentified Man: And then following afterwards, Bill and I will be available, along with our team, to respond to any questions that you might have.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Monica is a mentor to several young people, and today one of her students shoots pictures, too. After the press conference, we made our way back to the studio for a photo shoot of Michael Jones. He is regional manager of corporate affairs for Anheuser-Busch, and Monica has been his events photographer for three years.

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