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Corliss “Mama U” Udoema: Inspiring CEO shares Advice on Business and Faith!

 In Blog, MIndset, Success Profiles

Gain timeless wisdom in running your business and your life with Corliss “Mama U” Udoema’s Advice on Business and Faith!


Corliss “Mama U” Udoema served for over 20 years in the US Marine Corps, as an Assistant Officer in Charge for the Facility Supports Contracts, and as a Supervisory Procurement Analyst in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, respectively. 

Then, in 2006, she founded Contract Solutions, Inc. (CSI), a professional staffing and management support services company providing acquisition support, training solutions, human resources, and technology solutions.

She is also the President and founder of Agape Love in Action, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to helping people in need. 

With all of these, her motto in delivering excellence is a reflection on why she is an acclaimed businesswoman and CSI is part of the Inc. 5000 list for the last consecutive 3 years, and the 2019 USDA Small Business Contractor of the Year, among others. 


1. Starting the Business. 

Mama U was not really interested in starting a business but when asked by a friend to do it while doing some contract administration with her, she then founded CSI. 

Meanwhile, she also took a position as a Senior Acquisition Consultant at another company, however, after the company lost a contract, she decided to really focus on her business. 

With this, she decided to be part of the 8a program, after being told that the government would only call them back if they are part of a GSA schedule or any other business development program.

“So that’s what I did. And they would ask for something. Then I would, you know, give it to them immediately. Even if I had to get somebody to walk it through, you know, in another town, another state, I would do that.”

2. The Secrets for their Growth. 

In order to really achieve business growth, she hired excellent individuals who have the necessary expertise in various fields needed for their services. 

“A lot of times we want to know the answers, but there’s so many times when you’re running a business, you’re not going to always know the answers. So here’s what I tried to do. I tried to know what I know as opposed to what I don’t know… I tried to find someone that does know. So, you know, the different little things and that’s one of them. And the other one is, you know, to surround yourself with champions.”

Moreover, she makes sure that she works effectively as a rooftop manager who sees all the angles in order to gain the trust of her employees. 

“It’s not easy because when people don’t see what you see, sometimes they won’t… they won’t trust you enough to follow.”

Most importantly, what makes CSI an outstanding company is how Mama U and her team steps up in really achieving their motto. 

“Do it with excellence. You know, no slides was allowed. Do it with excellence. Do it with excellence. And people (will) come back.”


1. Have a strong foundation.

When you are starting out as a business owner, you need to have a strong foundation that can handle your growth and success. 

For instance, this might be getting the right information about the marketplace from Small Business Technical Centers, or networking with other businesses. 

“One tiny, you see one little step, that’s the key in business… You just can’t start off, you know, at the top, you know, and make a plan to grow it but don’t have it. It’s like me, if I tried to put 60 people on the foundation of what I had when I first started, it would, what? It would crumble. It would not be strong enough. So, you have to make sure that you, as you build out your foundation, that is strong enough to support what you’re going to put on top of it.” 

2. Plan the end in mind.

Whether you are on your way to success or you are starting out, you need to have a roadmap to help you focus on what you planned to do. This is why you need to have a business plan.

“When you think about critical path with respect to the business, the first thing to me is a good business plan. You’re beginning with the end in mind, right? Some people say, ‘Oh, well, I’ll just, you know, wing it.’ Well, you know what? That’s probably what you’re going to end up with, a chicken wing.”

3. Do not get into a better-than-nothing relationship.

In employing team members and dealing with clients, you should be with someone that is really interested in what you offer and, in return, you should treat them right. 

For instance, you should hire someone that is interested in your $50 pay for an hour because when you hire someone who really wants $70, then that person might stay in your company but is looking for another company who provides better pay and benefits. 

This also goes with your clients. They might give you an opportunity but just once because they will look for another company the next time. 

“When you get those things in sync, you’ll have good retention. Your clients will be happy because they won’t have to follow the bouncing ball all over again. You know, time… and you do excellent.”

4. Deliver excellence. 

Regardless if you offer products or services, it should be delivered with excellence because if not, it will strongly affect your company. 

This also goes with hiring employees. You strongly need to have people who believe in your vision because if they didn’t, then it would be hard for them to achieve your goals and do their tasks with excellence. 

“I realized that if I work 24 hours a day, as hard as I could… that the best that I could do was average. And I said, ‘I don’t do average as that.’ But once I got the platinum card, then I came back and I started to contract there with her. So, you don’t, I know you’re not a person that does average, I know you’re not.”

5. Just be patient. 

The three P’s that you need are prayer, planning, patience. You might find it easy to pray and plan things, but patience is where most people get into problems.

“You started, you have a pot of dirt, you have that seed, you have that business seed, right? And you know, it takes time. And when people come and look, they don’t see anything, right? But you know, you have a seed in the ground and it takes time. You don’t just put the seed in the ground and then, you know, and the pot and in two days later, boom, you’re big. So it truly is a step by step process.”


If you want to listen to Mama U’s wisdom in running your business, then be sure to click the resources below. You can also visit the GovCon Giant website or the new GovCon Edu where you learn everything about government contracting!

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