Darlene T. Carver had a dream to own a business school and seized the opportunity when she was only 25 years old. She researched the location, networked within the community, developed a marketing plan, and with minimal investment, signed a lease, bought furniture and equipment, wrote curricula, set up office procedures, produced marketing materials, and began the process of ascertaining approval from the Maryland State Board of Higher Education to operate as a school called Abbie Business Institute (ABI). Within four years, ABI received national accreditation.

The school continued to grow, and by the time Darlene sold the school ten years later, ABI had moved three times to more extensive facilities, doubling the space each time. Almost 40 years later, the business is still in existence.

Because Darlene was always passionate about training, she started a training company, Merlin & Associates, Inc., and works with corporations and government agencies providing essential skills training to help improve productivity. Darlene has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a Small Business Training Advocate for two years in a row. The Governor of Maryland gave her a Citation for “commitment to the people of Maryland…by making a difference in their lives and employment experiences.”