LOS ANGELES — Funeral services were held Jan. 19 at West Angeles Church of God in Christ, 3045 S. Crenshaw Blvd., for Pat Means, the co-founder, former president and publisher of Turning Point Magazine, one of the most prominent and largest Los Angeles-based magazines targeting African-American small business owners.
She died Jan. 8, surrounded by family and friends at her daughter’s home in San Pedro. She was 67.
Means, who most recently served as director of communications and community at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, served as the head of Turning Point from 1992 to 2008. At its peak, the magazine had a national distribution of 50,000 copies every two months and a web presence with more than 2 million visitors per month.
Born in Henderson, Texas on Dec. 15, 1949 to Eddie and Corean Miller, Patricia Ann Miller grew up in a small Southern town where black businesses were the norm.
Means’ own smarts and talents emerged early. She was Hill High School’s valedictorian for having the highest grade point average in her class. She also was the school’s lead drum majorette and lead singer in a group that won a schooltalent competition.
She moved to Los Angeles in 1967 with her husband and high school sweetheart, Carl Means Sr. She completed a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s in business administration at USC in 1971 and 1972, respectively.
Her relationship was less successful. The couple divorced, with Means pursuing her dreams while a single mom with two children, Carla and Carl Jr.
Fresh out of college, Means worked as a communications professional for several companies including Motown, Purex, Foote, Cone and Belding/Honig Advertising. An entrepreneur at heart, she left corporate America after 11 years, moving with her two children to Dallas in 1983 to start a record label with friends. The business partners made several records with artists including Maxine Nightingale, but never saw the success they wanted.
Means worked as a business consultant for several years in Dallas before returning to Los Angeles in 1989. Her stint as vice president of marketing at ProServ, a sports marketing firm, would be her last corporate job before she found success in several ventures under the auspices of Turning Point Communications.
Means and her good friend Karen Hixson started Turning Point Magazine in 1992 to encourage community and business development among African Americans in the Greater Los Angeles area. Both also served as co-hosts of a Sunday morningtalk show, “The Turning Point,” on KACE radio.
Means became sole proprietor, president and publisher of Turning Point in 1995, growing the magazine as a statewide and later national publication.
Means also established the highly successful annual African American Business Summit. For more than 10 years, the business summit provided solutions to the issues that confront diverse urban small businesses — from access to capital, new business acquisition, to operational excellence.
It drew notable keynote speakers including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Iyanla Vanzant. Mean’s monthly BizNotes e-newsletter had over 300,000 subscribers.
“What drove my mom was wanting to make a difference,” said her daughter, Carla. “It sounds so cliché but she always wanted to mentor people and to encourage people to do the same.”
Means also served as a consultant to public officials and executives looking to navigate the “turning points” in their careers through personal and business development.
Means printed her last issue in 2008, shifting to an online version while continuing to serve as a business coach and trainer.
In recent years, Means moved to San Pedro where she began serving as director of communications and community for AltaSea in 2014. She enjoyed the networking and outreach, particularly bringing South Los Angeles youth for tours of the Nautilus ocean exploration vessel to gain exposure to careers as marine scientists.
In recognition of her achievements and service, Means received many awards including Outstanding Alumni of the Year from the USC Black Alumni Association and Female Entrepreneur of the Year from the California Black Chamber of Commerce.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Carla and Tony Callaway; her son and daughter-in-law Carl and Tonja Means of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, grandchildren Tristan, Carlaysea, Jaylyn, Alexxis, Kai and Bayli; her mother, Corean (Scourten) King of Dallas; brothers-in-law and sisters Francisco and Debra Obera and Andrea and Delores Hawkins, both of Dallas; and a host of beloved nieces and nephews and other family and friends, plus her dogs: Peanut and Butter. Means’ brother Charles Miller preceded her in death in 2004.
In lieu of flowers, her family is requesting that donations be made in her name to the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center where Means served on the board of directors from 2013 till two months before her passing. See Donate at www.wootencenter.org.