Harlem’s Soyini Chan-Shue Of The City Safe Partners Talks Scholarship And More

February 3, 2023

City Safe Partners, a Harlem, NY-based elite security firm, announced a new scholarship program for dependents of full-time employees. 

The City Safe Partners Ruben Epps Scholarship Program will award two $2,500 scholarships to rising first-year college students who demonstrate financial need and plan to attend a public, accredited post-secondary or vocational school. The program is named in memory of City Safe CEO Soyini Chan-Shue’s father.

Dependents of full-time employees who have worked for City Safe Partners for at least one year were eligible to apply beginning January 2023 via the City Safe Employee hub. Applicants must have a high school GPA of at least 2.75, graduate from high school the same year of their application, and enroll in a public two- or four-year degree program that begins by September 30th of that calendar year. A City Safe Committee chaired by Director of Administration Sharon Holland will review each application and announce the two awardees in March 2023.

“As the head of a Woman and Minority Owned Business, I understand that while there are many barriers to success, education can transform lives and communities,” remarked Chan-Shue. “The City Safe Partners Ruben Epps Scholarship Program is our way of investing in the dedicated and hard-working team members who are the backbone of this company.”

City Safe Partners enjoyed an unprecedented year of growth and success in 2022, expanding its tactical and administrative headcounts by approximately 25% in response to signing new clients in Texas, Georgia, and New Jersey and expanding into the public housing and transportation sectors. Recently ranked #15 on the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) 2022 Inner City 100, City Safe was also recognized by the Women’s Presidents Organization and JP Morgan Chase as one of the country’s 50 fastest-growing women-owned/led companies, and by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Woman Small Business Champion of the Year.

City Safe Partners is also opening a new training center that will provide essential training to those who want to become fully licensed safety and security personnel. Chan-Shue plans to center trainings around the company’s core value pillars: Do the Right Thing, Make the Impossible Possible, Be Humbly Confident, We Care, and We Serve Our Clients Best When We Put Our Employees First.

“Our City Safe family has been instrumental to our growth and success,” said Chan-Shue. “I am passionate about supporting our team and their family members as they pursue their personal education goals.” 

Here’s the Interview with Soyini Chan-Shue and Harlem World Magazine

Harlem World Magazine: Who has been the biggest inspiration in your business life? Please elaborate on that answer.

Soyini Chan-Shue: That’s a tough one! My inspiration comes from my family and from our team at City Safe. My employees inspire me to keep going during challenging times and by how they show up every day, despite all of the adversity.

Understanding that we are providing jobs that are supporting families is something I take seriously.  So I am also inspired by what were able to achieve and by what the future holds for City Safe. 

HWM: As “one of the country’s 50 fastest-growing women-owned/led companies”, what has been the secret sauce to your business success in Harlem?

SCS: Honestly I think our secret sauce is a combination of hard work, taking advantage of programs that support entrepreneurs’ growth such as Goldman Sachs 10ksb and SBA Emerging Leaders, having amazing mentors, and knowing ours why.

The advantage of growing up in the Bronx gives me grit and fortitude, two traits that are essential as an entrepreneur.

HWM: When did you say to yourself, hey let me stop working as a cop and open City Safe Partners in Harlem?

SCS: I started at the NYPD very young so, I was in my 22nd year there when I decided to take a leap of faith. I had always dreamt of running my own business. Ironically I was out with some friends and my friend was selling his company. He was a retired Deputy Inspector and was no longer interested in running the company. So, I purchased the company and never looked back.

We were able to take a small security company with approximately 15 employees and transform it to a national company with nearly 400 guards.

HWM: Why do you think scholarships to rising first-year college students are important?

SCS: I think it’s important to remove or lessen barriers that prevent people who need financial support to achieve their academic goals. 

I remember starting at a community college and taking just a few classes because of financial constraints. I had to work to pay my own tuition. So, I understand it’s a difficult road, and I am honored to be able to help remove some of the roadblocks for hardworking individuals.

Follow-up: Can you tell us about your father?

SCS: My father Ruben Epps passed away when I was 27. He was ahead of his time. He instilled values and a work ethic in my sister and I that I carry with me to this day.  He taught us that education is an equalizer. He also stressed that we needed to exhibit Black Excellence in all we did.

My Dad was a veteran of the Air Force so needless to say we grew up with the structure. He also worked for the Department of Education and had a small cleaning business.

He taught me how important it is to invest and not move out of your community when you make it. How to be socially and financially responsible and how important it is to take care of your own and never to forget where you come from.

My father had very little formal education, but he was the most intelligent and wisest man I have ever known.

My dad stressed how important is to invest in Harlem before it was popular. As a child we used to drive around Harlem admiring its historic districts. My father pointed out the architecture and beautiful brownstones.

My love for Harlem and entrepreneurship started with my dad.

So in honor of my dad Ruben Epps, we started a scholarship in his honor.

As we continue to grow it will grow. 

HWM: As a busy business owner in Harlem. Where do you go to unwind (park, dinner, etc.,)? 

SCS: Of course, my favorite is NBHD brûlée. I do almost everything in Harlem. My favorite place to go is definitely Mount Morris Park.

HWM: NBHD brûlée. We’ll check it. Thanks.

Soyini Chan-Shue, City Safe Partners

Led by Soyini Chan-Shue, a retired decorated law enforcement officer, City Safe Partners leverages a combined 95 years of law enforcement and security experience to provide unarmed and armed security professionals to protect government, residential, transportation, and commercial clients and sites.

In 2022, City Safe Partners ranked #15 on the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) Inner City 100. The company was also recognized by the Women’s Presidents Organization and JP Morgan Chase as one of the country’s 50 fastest-growing women-owned/led companies, and by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Woman Small Business Champion of the Year.

City Safe holds 14 certifications, including African American Business Enterprise (AABE); Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB); Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE); HubZone Program Member; and Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB). For questions about the program, contact info@CitySafePartners.com.

Overwatch Services LLC., DBA City Safe Partners Security, 230 West 135th Street, New York, NY 10030, 855) 777-3482, Info@CitySafePartners.com, CitySafePartners.com

Photo credit: Soyini Chan Shue.

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