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I’na Saulsbery | The Starfire Group

Posted in INSPIRATION by msceonet on April 2, 2010

Emerging, ‘explosive’ entrepreneur runs a red-hot event planning firm

She is working to create a legacy like her hero, Madam C.J. Walker

By Felicia Joy
Senior Correspondent     

Once you meet the red-headed I’na Saulsbery you’ll never forget her—and if you see her card before you meet her you won’t forget that either. She is the founder, and energetic CEO of The Starfire Group, an event planning and management firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.     

I’na Saulsbery, CEO of The Starfire Group, is our Ms. CEO of the Month for March representing ‘Meaning & Legacy’. She has the bold and spirited work ethic of one of her heros, Madam C.J. Walker (click for larger view).


Typically we think of a CEO as the chief executive officer—but I’na might tell you she is the chief explosive officer at her company. They don’t do anything with fireworks—at least not yet—but she has branded herself and her company as the creators and producers of the hottest, most memorable events for clients and their guests. Judging by her schedule and reputation she’s living up to expectations.     

“People talk about thinking outside of the box,” I’na says. “I don’t ever have to think outside the box because I already live there.”      

This gutsy, bold mentality, wrapped in a professional and diplomatic demeanor has sparked success for I’na who started planning events at the ripe young age of 16.  “It was something that I always enjoyed doing,” she says.  So she stuck with it.     

Unique branding and ideas, plus her three Es—explosive, exuberant and extraordinary—have given I’na entree to work with some of the most well-known personalities in entertainment including Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Atlanta-based recording artist, Monica, best known for her top hit with singer Brandy, “The Boy Is Mine.”  I’na says she loves planning and managing all events—from small get togethers like baby showers to big-deal events like television show launch parties.     

Beyonce’ and Usher are the dream celebrity clients that she has yet to work with, but she has her hands full, in the meanwhile, with plenty other projects. “How many hours are in a week?” she asks, smiling. “That’s roughly the amount of time I work. I am always working,” I’na says.     

I'na Saulsbery, March 2010 Ms. CEO of the Month, shows off her business savvy, boldness and style in a classic Ms. CEO tee.


She is endeavoring just as one of her heroes—Madam C.J. Walker—did to build a substantial business that creates a legacy for others to admire and emulate.  A quote from Madam Walker in I’na’s e-mail signature reads: “There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. If I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard.”     

Madam C.J. Walker was the first self-made woman millionaire in America. A widow, working mother and daughter of former slaves, she turned her beauty product business into a multi-million dollar empire before her death in 1919.


I’na who thought at one point that she would be an entertainment attorney says, “I decided to become an entrepreneur because I felt like it was time for me to showcase my true talents as my own boss. The toughest thing about being in business so far is having to be responsible for making all of the decisions. I have to make sure I am making the best decision for my business all the time and that can be a lot of pressure.”     

When asked if building a multi-million dollar business and hiring others—like Madam C.J. Walker did—are important to her, the Columbus, Ohio native doesn’t hesitate. “Absolutely!” I’na says.


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