I am inspired when it appears that we are all working together and having empathy for strangers. That we are using our talents and resources to support our communities. I am disappointed that there is a false sense of COVID going away. It feels as if people have forgotten just how bad things can get and there is carelessness as states move to Phase II and Phase III.
As part of my series about people who stepped up to make a difference during the COVID19 Pandemic I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Angela Reddix. Dr. Angela D. Reddix is an award-winning businesswoman and TEDx speaker who has grown her healthcare management and IT consulting firm into a multi-million-dollar operation with approximately 100 employees within her first decade of business. From humble beginnings in Virginia, listening to the wisdom-filled stories of her grandmother, Angela received a spark that would ignite her imagination and passion for leadership. Armed with faith, vision, and instilled with confidence, Angela has actualized her dreams of success as a business leader. Angela is the author of Envision Lead Grow — Releasing the Boss Within, where she shares her knowledge and insights to help women of all ages build their business and improve their lives. The principles Dr. Reddix shares shift their mindset from helpless to a life of purpose and fulfillment. Not one to be limited to a singular pursuit, Angela has developed a devotion to creating the next generation of girl entrepreneurs and leaders. She is leading this social change by providing the blueprint needed for girls around the country to transform themselves into business owners and CEOs through her non-profit Envision Lead Grow (ELG). In its first year, Envision Lead Grow touched the lives of over 400 girls. In 2019, Envision Lead Grow will visit 35 cities to train and develop over 600 girl bosses across the country. For 2020, ELG’s reach will grow even larger and reach 48 cities and 1,000 girl bosses.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how and where you grew up?
I was born to a teenage mother who was away in college and law school; therefore, I was primarily raised by my grandmother during the formative years in Virginia.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes is a book that I reread each January. I remember how she explained what it meant to be the first and only and that spoke to the story of my life. I was the first of my family to move away from my birth city and attend middle school and high school in a predominately white environment. Growing up as a minority in the school, I was the first and only to African American to be involved in many programs, for example, the Latin Club. Later in life, I would begin my professional career and move up the ladder rather quickly, where I was almost always the youngest and the only African American at the table. After starting my Healthcare Management Company, I would experience being the first and only in my circle with the role of CEO and employer. These first and only experiences often led to a feeling of isolation. I found myself, at times going inward and thinking “no” as a defense mechanism. The Year of Yes reminds me of the liberation of saying “yes” to living and fully experiencing the perks of success.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
“If you always do what you’ve always done. Then you will always get what you’ve always got” Albert Einstein.
When I was in graduate school working on my master’s degree, my favorite professor would always say that quote. Almost 23 years later, I think about that message. In my company, I always challenge the staff to question the process and ensure that it makes sense for the direction we are going today and tomorrow. Yesterday brings experience, but we always have to question if the results of yesterday have the same results we expect tomorrow. If not, we have to improve our processes.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. You are currently leading a social impact organization that has stepped up during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to address?
During the initial phase of COVID-19, I was saddened by the devastation occurring with micro businesses all around me. Those small businesses that didn’t have the processes and infrastructure in place to secure the funds from the PPP and were being rejected for workman’s compensation. These individuals were unsure where their next meals were coming from. I have been an advocate for female entrepreneurship and felt the need to be a bridge over troubled waters until they could receive additional funding. Therefore I created the Reddix Rules Fund. This grant program provided 2020 dollars to 13 female business owners. The 13 was significant because this is our 13th year in business. Once we announced the program, other businesses and concerned citizens reached out to me to partner, and we were able to provide funding to 20 women. We had over 300 applications and videos submitted and selected the 20 that made the best pitch for the funds. I was honored to present the checks to the winners on my birthday in May. This was the greatest birthday I have ever had.
In your opinion, what does it mean to be a hero?
A person with courage that puts others’ needs before self.
In your opinion or experience, what are “5 characteristics of a hero? Please share a story or example for each.
- Humility: A hero rescues and the reward is helping others, not public recognition.
- Selfless: A hero makes sacrifices that often come with personal sacrifice.
- Courageous: Most times the task is difficult, but the hero is willing to climb the mountain when most would give up.
- Insightful: The hero recognizes the need and steps up before someone makes the request.
- Resilient: Regardless of the outcomes, the hero hits the reset button and is ready to rise to the challenge once again.
If heroism is rooted in doing something difficult, scary, or even self-sacrificing, what do you think drives some people — ordinary people — to become heroes?
Neuroscience describes how helping others brings personal joy. When ordinary people perform the act of helping others Dopamine, serotonin, and Oxytocin neurochemicals are released. These chemicals allow for a boost in our spirits and create a feeling of happiness. The same chemicals increase our digestion, learning, and allow us to sleep. They regulate our blood pressure and decrease social fears.
Heroism helps others, but it also has positive physical and psychological effects on the hero.
What was the specific catalyst for you or your organization to take heroic action? At what point did you personally decide that heroic action needed to be taken?
COVID-19 had two impacts: The health crisis and economic devastation. I am not considered essential staff therefore, I could not have a major impact to solve the health crisis. I understand business; therefore, I could have a direct impact on improving the economic devastation. Therefore after the second week of the mandated quarantine, I made the decision to do my part to close the gap.
Who are your heroes, or who do you see as heroes today?
Today, I would say my heroes are all of those millennials peacefully fighting for racial and social justice. I am so very proud of them. My greatest hero of all time is my grandmother. She sacrificed so much for her 10 children and grandchildren. Everything I am today, I owe to the love and determination of my grandmother.
Let’s talk a bit about what is happening in the world today. What specifically frightened or frightens you most about the pandemic?
What continues to frighten me is the inability to sustain the decline in cases and not having a vaccine or cure in sight.
Despite that, what gives you hope for the future? Can you explain why?
I have hope that if everyone works together and follows the guidance. What if everyone thinks and considers others, we can survive and create a new normal.
What has inspired you the most about the behavior of people during the pandemic, and what behaviors do you find most disappointing?
I am inspired when it appears that we are all working together and having empathy for strangers. That we are using our talents and resources to support our communities.
I am disappointed that there is a false sense of COVID going away. It feels as if people have forgotten just how bad things can get and there is carelessness as states move to Phase II and Phase III.
Has this crisis caused you to reassess your view of the world or of society? We would love to hear what you mean.
The crisis has allowed me to do much soul searching. Here are five things that I have learned about myself and how I navigate in society.
- I can do more with less. Because I have been forced to slow down, spending has decreased significantly. I realized just how much we waste on a regular basis.
- I have connected heart-to-heart with people more. The conversations day-to-day have been less superficial and there has been more depth. More understanding of others.
- Time has been a gift. I have created more structure to ensure that I am maximizing my output daily.
- Rejecting traditional thought. The pandemic has forced me to look at my business through different lenses. As we moved to a remote staffing strategy and have been more productive, I have wondered why we have the overhead of a large corporate space.
- We are connected even when we are oceans apart. With the various virtual meeting platforms, we have engaged family and professional team members in all aspects of life from birthday parties, graduations, and business meetings regardless of their zip code.
What permanent societal changes would you like to see come out of this crisis?
I am a germaphobe, so I hope that people will continue to be vigilant about washing hands and wiping surfaces.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
Giving is the most powerful way to learn about yourself!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have. My big idea is to transform communities of poverty into communities of prosperity through the promise of middle school girls. I believe my story of humble beginning in public housing to an employer of approximately 100 in the STEM field can be replicated. Therefore, I have built a model as the founder of Envision Lead Grow. Through this program, we are increasing self-efficacy, self-control, consciousness, and the ability to delay gratification. I believe we can change the face of the boardroom by creating an entrepreneurial mindset in middle school girls. They will become employers and top-performing employees and infuse capital into at-risk communities.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Brene Brown has been such an inspiration in my life. I would love to have lunch to discuss the concepts in two of her books Daring Greatly and Dare to Lead. I was first acquainted with Brene Brown when she was sitting under Oprah’s tree on Super Soul Sunday. I decided at that moment that I would pursue my PhD and I would have a significant and tangible impact on the world through my practical experience coupled with my research. I am now doing just that through my nonprofit Envision Lead Grow where we transform communities of poverty to communities of prosperity through the promise of 1,000 middle school girls in 48 states. Pre-COVID, we were scheduled to expand the program to Haiti. This has now been pushed back to 2021. I aspire to be the brown Brene Brown.
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram @iamdrangreddix FaceBook Dr. Angela Reddix LinkedIn Angela Reddix
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!