By Nikki Kingery
Cincinnati Business courier

One of the best-kept secrets in Cincinnati is its rich heritage of black businesses.. Click To Tweet

Allen Woods, 39, is founding partner, chief vision caster and branding gladiator at Mortar.

What was your first job? I worked at a Baskin-Robbins in Indianapolis, making a mere $3.50 per hour.

What do you wish you had known in high school? I wish that I had known that 99 percent of the people I went to school with wouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of my life. Socially, school was difficult for me. I never really fit into any specific groups. #Outkast.

How do you think your co-workers would describe you? It would probably be something like a mad scientist. I think I’m just now starting to realize the strength of my thought process. I’ve always known that it was different, but to have a team around me that appreciates and celebrates the way I think is honestly something new for me.

Favorite line from a movie? Let’s just say that you probably can’t print any of it – but it’s Denzel Washington in pretty much all of “Training Day.”

How do you like to start your day? I wish that I had a real process, but I don’t. I get up and take my daughter to school, return home, check my calendar for the day and start getting ready to head into the office.

What do you think is Cincinnati’s best-kept secret? I believe that one of the best-kept secrets in Cincinnati is its rich heritage of black businesses and their contributions to the city’s infrastructure. I am constantly discovering new stories that fuel my passion to continue creating new contributions.

What’s always worth the splurge? I’m always down for a great pair of kicks! My favorites are the Jordan 1 retros; there’s something about the classic silhouette and I love how Nike is consistently updating the colorways.

What local company, aside from your own, do you most admire? I’m a huge fan of Chris Bergman and everything he’s doing over at ChoreMonster and Family Tech; and I’m also truly inspired by Natasia Malaihollo and how she’s changing the game with Wyzerr.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday? My perfect Saturday would include a walk an the Banks with my family and then grabbing a Red Bike and pedaling up to the City Flea in Washington Park and then grabbing a few fish tacos from Mama Lo Hizo in Findlay Market.

Most recent thing you’ve crossed off your bucket list? For me, 2017 in general has already been a year of self-discovery, adventure and preparing to cross the threshold of my 40s. I have my first-ever camping trip scheduled, and I’m definitely doing more traveling this year than I have in years past.

You know it’s going to be a good day when … I have the self control to skip the deliciousness that sits directly across the street from the Mortar office: Holtman’s Donuts!

Is there something people might be surprised to learn about you? At any given moment, I probably have several gold dollars and $2 bills in my pocket. There’s just something cool about using odd currency, and the reactions you get when you hand it to people.

Kingery is responsible for special publications and copy editing