HomeMaking MoneySide HustleFrom Poverty to Billionaire: How I Turned $1,000 Into a $25 Million...

From Poverty to Billionaire: How I Turned $1,000 Into a $25 Million Empire


Darrell McKissick and his family have a rich legacy in design and construction, spanning back to the 1790s.

As the business’s fifth-generation leader, McKissick carries the family’s passion forward.

His company, McKissick & McKissick Architects & Planners, offers design and project management services.

McKissick’s motivation stems from witnessing his family’s success in the industry.

He recalls attending family gatherings where he would hear about their projects and be inspired by their dedication to shaping cities.

Despite being a black woman in a male-dominated field, McKissick never doubted her abilities, having grown up surrounded by successful role models.

With determination and a solid business plan, McKissick launched her company in 1990.

Starting with a small client base, she gradually expanded her business, eventually surpassing her previous salary as an employee.

Notable projects in McKissick’s portfolio include Dunbar High School, the Barack Obama Library campus, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

These projects have garnered national and international recognition, showcasing McKissick’s talent and the impact of her firm on the industry.

However, she remains ambitious, aiming to establish her company as a firm of choice based on excellence rather than labels.

McKissick’s family legacy and her unwavering drive have propelled her to become a trailblazing leader in the design and construction industry.

  • Key Takeaways

The importance of mentorship and role models

Darrell McKissick’s family provided her with inspiration and guidance, instilling in her a belief in her own abilities and shaping her career path.

The value of perseverance and determination

Despite being a black woman in a male-dominated field, McKissick never allowed doubt to deter her.

She remained committed to her goals and eventually established a successful company.

The impact of passion and purpose

McKissick’s passion for design and her commitment to leaving a positive legacy have inspired her to undertake ambitious projects that have transformed communities and celebrated underrepresented histories.

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