Sonya A. Lowery

President ? Solaris-House of Fine Graphics ? Greenbelt, Md. ? Age: 37

Sonya A. Lowery literally designed her success from scratch, on scratch paper. A former receptionist, Lowery leveraged the doodling she did in between answering telephone calls to become an award-winning graphic artist as founder and president of Solaris-House of Fine Graphics in Greenbelt, Md. For more than 10 years, Lowery has designed marketing materials to enhance the image of such nationally known businesses as ConAgra Foods, FraserNet?s PoerNetworking Allergan (Botox), as well as countless others. ?Having a great image gives a business an advantage,? she says. ?Smart business professionals make use of all the advantages they can get.?

Lowery has always had an affinity for minority-owned businesses. However, she credits her mentor, motivational speaker George Fraser, with encouraging her to take her image-enhancing efforts into the Black business community. She has since made it her mission to change the way Black businesses are viewed in the marketplace. ?Few businesses are as scrutinized as those owned by Blacks. It?s these businesses that need to pay the most attention to how they look, sound and fee,? Lowery says. ?Your business image is a total package and it?s either working for you or against you.?

Lowery offers businesses and professionals a set of image-building guidelines in her book, The Secret Language of Business Cards (and What Your Brochure Is Saying Behind Your Back).

Lowery received her formal design instruction at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. She also took classes at the Eastern Shore and College Park campuses of the University of Maryland. When not writing books, speaking around the county and making various media appearances, Lowery is chauffeuring her sons, Jordan and Devin, between piano lessons and baseball practice. She says, ?My greatest success is being able to provide a way of life that both my sons and I can be proud of.?