Entrepreneur Spotlight: Deborah Omowale, Owner Eva's Escape Bed & Breakfast

Deborah Omowale, Innkeeper and co-owner of Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn and CEO of Delodi, Inc. breaking barriers in the hospitality industry in San Antonio area
. After her retirement from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011, Omowale decided to start a new venture. Facing her challenges head on with the support of family and close friends Omowale opened Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn San Antonio just seven months after retiring. [space]

Omowale, a Columbus, Ohio native was born June 9 to Eva Mae Green Williams and Walter Williams. Omowale said her parents worked hard to ensure she would be well rounded. “My parents worked diligently and often two jobs to ensure their baby girl had multiple learning platforms to become a well-rounded lady,” Omowale said. She was no stranger to being a humble servant raised with examples from her Aunt Alberta and her grandmother. “Growing up a pastor’s kid and Eva’s only child, I learned at an early age how to be a hostess.  Getting together at grandmommy’s or Aunt Alberta’s was always a treat. I sat on the stool at the counter in Aunt Alberta’s kitchen and watched the women of the family create amazing meals; host legends such as The Temptations, Willie Stargell (Pittsburgh Pirates), Mean Joe Greene (Pittsburgh Steelers) all while making everyone who entered the house feel at home,” she said. She continued to host and entertain throughout her life and thought about how to use her gifts of hospitality in a business. “After countless parties, weddings, conferences, golf tournaments, family reunions, concerts, fundraisers and more I talked to the closest people in my life about turning talents and experiences into a legacy building businesses.  Together with my sons, Phillip Ferrell II , Dion S. Ferrell and my best friend of over 50 years Mel Causey, we created the idea of Eva’s Escape,” she said. [space]

Although the idea was a culmination of Omowale’s experiences it was not without its challenges and hardships. She said her greatest challenge was leaving people behind. “Everyone is not meant to walk the entire journey with you.  Some should not go at all, some will only travel a few miles and some will be there for the long haul,” Omowale said. It is a challenge she overcomes daily with prayer for a discerning spirit, clear understanding and direction in her life. [space]

Behind her is a support system of business and prayer partners, but she also finds motivation in setting an example for her grandchildren. “I keep pictures of my grandchildren in my office workspace. They are my motivation,” she said. She realized her purpose in owning and operating the Inn when she became a Duchess to her six grandchildren and one godson. “I needed to leave them so much more; there is honor in work and serving others. Additionally and most of all, they can hone their God given talents into strengths and make a good living. They have everything inside of them to be successful. They need to see it and live it,” Omowale said. [space]


Within her business, Omowale stays in the loop by attending state and national conferences annually and absorbs industry information. “I also participate in monthly webinars, read blogs and books. I subscribe to and read industry periodicals and I watch Hotel Impossible,” she said. In the San Antonio area she keeps up with local publications and stays active on social media. “I read the digital version of the San Antonio Express news daily; the digital San Antonio Business Journal weekly and I belong to the Alamo City Chamber of Commerce and the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce,” she said. [space]

At the end of the day, Omowale focuses on prayer and meditation to fulfill her purpose. While she is a to-do list achiever at work she recommends meditation and exercise to unplug from a busy environment. “I am an achiever. I make lists and prioritize them. Guest relations always come first then my awesome staff,” she said. [space]

Omowale said she anticipates to continue her path to change. “Our family will own multiple inns and we will revolutionize the inn and boutique hotel business. We are developing processes to ensure that happens,” she said. This change should form a family legacy and build generational wealth, she is setting the foundation now. “Adapting a financial plan, developing processes and making sure the business can run without me. It is all about the the family legacy, not me,” Omowale said. [space]

To read more or visit Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn San Antonio, go to http://www.evasescape.com/

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