Adrienne Alexander, founder of the IPY Agency LLC, is committed to the growth and progress of the Atlanta community. Her team has formed the Make a Girl a Woman Conference, which creates “opportunity for people who may not otherwise have anyone to turn to.” During this conference, Black female superheros come together to mentor and train young women ages 14-23 by providing free seminars and panels on financial literacy, conflict resolution-conflict management skills, proper etiquette, self-esteem and confidence building, interview prep and so much more. Rolling out is committed to the growth and progress of our community and the celebration of all urban America’s contributions to society (especially those of women) so we are excited to share the interview conducted with Adrienne about her background and mission.
Why is service so important to you?
We take so much for granted. There are basic needs that are overlooked daily or looked at as a requirement not thinking that nothing is promised to us and life can change in a blink of an eye. I am the product of addiction so I know how it feels to have items stolen to support both parent’s drug/alcohol habit and not having my mom around to have those crucial conversations with.
What is the vision for the nonprofit?
To become a place of refuge for young ladies. Our young ladies need an outlet; a place where they are encouraged to highlight the best parts of themselves but to also embrace things that others may consider flaws.
What are the two most important ways you generate revenue to sustain your nonprofit?
Donations and fundraising. People are so quick to jump on board with viral situations and opportunities to become social media famous that they overlook the concerns in their own backyards. People eat out several times a week, shop as often as possible & spend money on the most random of things, however, if you ask them to donate, they become tone deaf and legally blind.
What are the three areas that you focused on help society?
Our youth are number one. They need us. Our youth are being molested, bullied, abused, taken advantage of & forgotten. They don’t all have great parents or people that will listen to their hurt and it’s manifesting itself in school shootings, suicide & gang affiliations. The other areas would be our homeless population and the elderly.
What inspires you to show at work every day? Knowing that God isn’t done with me yet. There’s a greater purpose that I need to walk into so I’m going to just keeping walking until he says, “well done.”
Describe why lifelong learning is important to you?
We should never stop learning because life never stops teaching. For as cliché as it sounds, we definitely have the potential to learn something new every day.
What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
Being persistent is absolutely No. 1. People can only tell you yes or no but sometimes it takes asking 20 times before getting either answer. Don’t be deterred and never give up because that’s what people expect you to do. Know your worth & handle yourself accordingly. If you don’t place great value on your life, how can you expect someone else to?
What social media or digital tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?
It would have to be Facebook. Facebook has made networking and connecting simple on so many levels. Even though they are constantly changing, I think the evolution is what keeps it fresh. Having Facebook ads and instant messaging makes it very easy to connect with your audience.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
The value placed on being social media famous. It has created monsters! People would rather stand around filming things than helping. Not to mention that our children don’t understand that these videos will follow them for the rest of their lives. The fight and abuse videos are horrific but people love to post because the lure of going viral is greater than their concept of understanding life lessons.
How do you successfully grow from business failure?
First and foremost, it’s only a failure if you don’t learn or grow from the experience. You have to first take a good look at why it didn’t happen the way you wanted it to and then go from there. Take all of the key moments that didn’t perform up to expectation and adjust accordingly.
Name your three most successful female role models and why.
Dr. Laura Dorsey-Elson was the professor at Morgan State University [who] help[ed] me see myself. I was so proud of her being a Black female Ph.D. teaching us how to effectively deal with conflict that I jokingly told her “I want to be you when I grow up” and she said, “don’t be me, be you.” I’ll never forget her for that.
Bozoma Saint John … I follow her on IG and she is amazing! She is so authentically and unapologetically her. Her confidence comes across in every one of her pictures. Then to be the chief brand officer for Uber? Love it!
My stepmom, Celeste Toppin. She stood in the gap for me when I decided it was best to drop out of school. She was the one who brought me the GED paperwork and said, “you’re too smart to sit around doing nothing with your life.” I took the test the first time, passed it and was done with school at 16. For so long, I felt bad for the way my father abused her and made her feel less than and [I] blamed him for her having failed relationships and no children. But in 2013, she remarried and is now living her best life.