Special/Signature Issues » 2016 Top 40 Under 40

Lorie Coker, 34

Owner and Principal Consultant, Table 5 Consulting

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You could say that Lorie Coker’s mission is cleaning up through service: supporting nonprofits that improve the community while producing a line of soaps on the side — sales of which support nonprofits.

Coker founded Table 5 Consulting in 2014 to provide organizational, program and strategy support to nonprofit organizations. Besides using her education — bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and a doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University — Coker has fine-tuned skills that help her achieve success for nonprofits.

“I try to meet people where they are without losing sight of the goal,” she says, citing abilities “to understand diverse perspectives, identify areas for improvement, and bridge communities and resources to encourage sustainable and practical solutions.”

Most meaningful to Coker are causes that empower youth through mentoring, education and literacy, sports and character building.

During the summer, she worked with the Richmond Public Schools in conjunction with HandsOn Greater Richmond to organize more than 500 volunteers, who worked nearly 1,400 hours to beautify and deep-clean schools.

Coker’s creative outlet reflects her ability to connect resources with needs too. Tohi Collection, an online company offering handmade, natural soaps and body products, donates one bar of soap for each bar purchased.

She says Tohi, which means “health and peace” in Cherokee, reflects the Native American philosophy that wellness arises from harmony in mind, body and spirit. The donated soaps go to such groups as a homeless student program, refugee camps and through the Inter-Tribal Council in Oklahoma, in honor of her family’s Cherokee heritage.

Coker’s outreach continues after work hours through the Junior League of Richmond, Kiwanis Club, HandsOn Greater Richmond and Virginia Mentoring Partnership, which combined support the Peter Paul Development Center, Friends Association for Children and other causes.

“My parents led by example,” Coker recalls, “with the model of service above self.”

“Lorie inspires others to achieve and ‘do good’ in the world,” says Coker’s sister, Lindsay Dickinson, a speech and language pathologist and owner of Therapy Toolbox. “She takes a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.”