Entrepreneur responds to getting fired by launching award-winning business

Lameika Washington started in the security business as a teenager and worked her way up the ladder, making a lot of money for other people in the process. 

After working for one company for more than a dozen years, she says, she reported a salesperson for padding their numbers and effectively stealing commissions. She thought she was doing the right thing, and says company leaders seemed to agree, right up to the point when they fired her. 

Washington says she battled depression and even suicidal thoughts, and credits her faith for getting her through the dark times. She says the inspiration to launch a company called Diamond Security Services came to her in a dream. 

“You’ve been a diamond in the rough,” she recalls a voice telling her; only later did she discover her birthstone is diamond. 

Last week, Louisiana Economic Development named Diamond Security Services its Small and Emerging Business of the Year. Washington says she started the company in 2019 and employs about 80 people, growing rapidly in a highly competitive industry. 

While Washington deals with labor challenges like everyone else, she says positive word of mouth from current employees helps recruitment. She says her company pays wages above the industry standard, including benefits from day one, and employees can be eligible for a small raise within 90 days. 

Asked about lessons learned while building the company, she says she wishes she had done more research in the beginning about how to structure the business and had more managerial help with the aspects she didn’t know much about. 

Diamond works throughout the state, including at Juban Crossing and Towne Center. Washington says the company is poised to expand into Texas and Florida next. 

“It’s been a journey,” she says.