Monique Greenwood: Taking Care of Business With Flair and Hospitality
By Katherine Gilyard
Monique Greenwood and her husband, Glenn Pogue, have several dream homes that they share with the world. Their special blend of hospitality and business acumen have paid off as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of Akwaaba, an award-winning chain of bed and breakfast inns.
Two decades ago, they took a dilapidated Italianate mansion in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant and restored it to its 1860s grandeur with themed rooms such as “Jumping the Broom” and a reception area for weddings and other events. Their timing was perfect, since Brooklyn was lacking in accommodations for travelers.
From Brooklyn, they opened Akwaaba by the Sea in Cape May, New Jersey, that’s now based across the street in the Buttonwood Manor, where the couple first experienced and fell in love with the bed-and-breakfast concept.
Known as a people person, Greenwood was able to combine her passions for architecture, interior design and entertaining to create a home-away-from-home success. She infused her leadership skills as a magazine editor and executive at Children’s Business and Essence into her role as Akwaaba’s president and CEO.
Greenwood incorporated her love of books in bringing a literary theme to an 1890s brownstone in Washington, D.C., her hometown. The Dupont Circle location has rooms named for authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes and Walter Mosley.
The newest location is on an even grander scale. The Mansion at Noble Lane is a boutique spa resort with 14 guest rooms, a pool and grounds made for weddings in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Along the way, Greenwood has instilled her business sense in her daughter, mentored others interested in being innkeepers and returned to her alma mater to give back as the John H. Johnson Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship at Howard University.
Her mantra for balancing one’s personal and professional lives is reflected in the title of her best-selling book: “Having What Matters.”