Dr. Angela Reddix of ARDX: “Choose your circle wisely”

Choose your circle wisely. People are placed into your life for a reason. You should think of your life and those you meet as parts of a tree. The people that are your rocks and foundation are part of the trunk and the roots of the tree. The people who make up the branches of […]

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Choose your circle wisely. People are placed into your life for a reason. You should think of your life and those you meet as parts of a tree. The people that are your rocks and foundation are part of the trunk and the roots of the tree. The people who make up the branches of a tree are around us for a shorter period of time but they provide us what we need and then they break from us. We then have bus that provide new opportunities and joy to those who behold them. They, too have a season and time where they eventually float away or grow into a new tree. Finally, we have leaves that represent the people that come and go very quickly in our lives. As you can see, there’s value for everyone you will meet in your lifetime. It’s where they fit into your life that is the exciting part of life.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Angela Reddix.

Dr. Angela D. Reddix is an award-winning businesswoman, author, and TEDx speaker who has grown her healthcare management and IT consulting firm, ARDX, into a multi-million-dollar operation. Reddix serves as the Executive Director and professor of the Hodge Center for Entrepreneurship at Norfolk State University. She is the founder of Envision Lead Grow (ELG), a non-profit that serves young girls, and author of Envision Lead Grow: Releasing the Boss Within. Reddix is committed to her community as a board member and trustee for various local organizations

including the United Way of South Hampton Roads’ Foundation and YWCA. She’s also the co-host of “The Vine Experience” podcast and will launch another podcast with her daughter, Anyssa in December 2020.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I was raised primarily by my grandmother during my formative years in Virginia. My grandmother encouraged me in everything that I did with her unwavering love and support.

As a child, I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher and while that wasn’t exactly what my mother had envisioned for me, the idea of educating others eventually found its way back to me throughout my career. Between leading employee training, both as a consultant and as an employer, and becoming faculty at NSU, and most importantly, my middle school girls at my nonprofit, Envision Lead Grow, I’ve been able to teach others in some capacity and the reward is immeasurable.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

One thing about me is that I’m always on a mission to help others and because of that, I simply don’t settle for mediocrity in anything I do. To me, that stand to not settle IS disruptive. It’s certainly not the status quo. I work tirelessly to research the most poignant data and in turn, I use that data to disrupt the current state of our economy, one community at a time through Envision Lead Grow. My disruptive approach is to provide middle school girls living in poverty the resources to transform their communities and their lives.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started ARDX, I was doing everything just to keep the lights on — answering the phone, scheduling meetings, meeting clients, paperwork, as well as hiring. I have learned so much in that span of time. In one particular instance, I had hired an exceptional employee. Her work was stellar and I knew I could go to her to execute anything. One morning, I overheard her tell another employee that they shouldn’t turn in a certain project that was due because I was “a beast.” I was crushed and felt as if this employee was being disloyal. In no way did I associate that comment in a positive light. That comment really shifted the dynamics of our relationship and it was no surprise that she was not employed with the company much longer after that. Flast forward to almost 10 years later when I overhear my husband watching a football game and saying, “That man is awesome -he’s a beast!” I instantly had a flashback to that moment almost 10 years ago and I realize that I didn’t totally understand the slang being used. It showed me that we are all so different and take things so differently, especially when things are just assumptions. I now take pride in knowing my expectations and that I have amazing teams that work to ensure they, too are on the same page of their own expectations.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

A period of my life was spent working for Mary Kay. I was and still am inspired by the life, legacy, and empowerment of Mary Kay Ash and the business model she created. She was a true trailblazer for women in business and she most definitely defined a lane next to businessmen all over the world. She made a mark, letting everyone know she was here to stay. Working for the Mary Kay brand helped me realize my goals were achievable and instilled deep values of leadership, teamwork, and accountability. These are some of the very values I hold true to who I am as an entrepreneur today.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disrupting is always a positive thing when you are bringing or providing value to something that otherwise, could not stand on its own. I think being disruptive means you are no longer sitting or waiting in silence. It means you are standing up for what you believe in and you aren’t backing down. Those are very important qualities that make you a powerful human being.

A time that I was disruptive in my organization happened when I decided that we were going to be CMMI Level 3 certified. CMMI stands for Capability Maturity Model Integration and it is a process level improvement training and appraisal program. Being verified Level 3 meant we would be operating at a “defined” level. The company leaders and staff felt that preparing for this certification would completely disrupt the way they were used to working. It became a sales job for me to get my team to understand the value. The distinction allowed us to win a seat on a contract vehicle that was a 10-year, 100+ million dollars opportunities. Not only did we get a seat at the table for the large deal, but three years later, we were ranked in the top 1% of companies in the country with a CMMI Level 5 distinction. Had we not had those credentials, we would have lost out on the deal.

Where disrupting carries a negative connotation is when is it self-serving, without a mission, and without value-added.

An example of this was when, as a small business owner, I had decided to move away from the day to day operations. In that first year of these changes, I had hired a team that essentially led aimlessly, approaching change for the sake of making changing. It was like a tornado hit the company. Needless to say, they did not last long within the company and I quickly pivoted.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

“The Devil is in the details,” might not resonate as some of the best advice or phrase I’ve heard in my life, but it truly challenged my interpretation of what it meant and what it now means to me. I see it as God is in those very details. Instead of actually taking the line verbatim, attaching it to something negative, I see God’s wisdom and grace. When you learn the details of anything, you can save yourself time, money and heartache.

Choose your circle wisely. People are placed into your life for a reason. You should think of your life and those you meet as parts of a tree. The people that are your rocks and foundation are part of the trunk and the roots of the tree. The people who make up the branches of a tree are around us for a shorter period of time but they provide us what we need and then they break from us. We then have bus that provide new opportunities and joy to those who behold them. They, too have a season and time where they eventually float away or grow into a new tree. Finally, we have leaves that represent the people that come and go very quickly in our lives. As you can see, there’s value for everyone you will meet in your lifetime. It’s where they fit into your life that is the exciting part of life.

My third piece of advice is to never manage by criticism or compliments. People will love you one day and criticize you the next. Leaders can’t effectively lead or manage by things that upset or enlighten you.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I really believe in setting an example for the millennial group of women. I want them to know what it looks like to have healthy relationships with men and with women. I want them to know what it looks like to have a loving relationship, get married, bring children into the world, and balancing life and work. In this cycle of life, one of the first and most important relationships is that of a mother and daughter. Because of how strongly I feel about this, I’m working on developing a podcast with my daughter, Anyssa. She’s a brilliant girl-boss and my Senior Program Manager at Envision Lead Grow. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She always inspires me and keeps me on my toes. We plan to have very real conversations about our experiences, mother to daughter. We really want to share a piece of our relationship with the world and make people feel like they are listening to a family member. Important conversations are happening everywhere and it’s important to add to that ongoing conversation and be relevant in today’s society. We aim to do just that and so much more.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think as women, we tend to overcompensate for the things we think we are lacking or missing. We forget that we ARE the total package and that we don’t need to present ourselves with any extras. I also feel that it’s in our nature to apologize for successes or growth. Apologizing is a step backward and I refuse to let that happen. While there are many men who celebrate our accomplishments, there are still men who feel we are undeserving and that we are not equipped with the same caliber of education to sit at their table. The times are changing. It’s best to get on board and watch the beautiful transformations and growth. We can learn so much from one another.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I have had many influences and influential individuals in my life. Two books in particular have helped form and expand my leadership as an entrepreneur. The first book happens to be a yearly ritual of mine. Each January, I read The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I read it to remind myself of what it means to be the first and only, a series of experiences that led me to feel completely isolated. This book is my liberation and reminds me to live in those successes. The second book that also continues to inspire me is Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown. Brene’s research ethic and standards inspire me and it was her mission in this world that ignited my mission — to transform communities through empirical data.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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 feel humbled and fortunate that one of my dreams to create a movement has indeed become a reality. That movement is inspiring young middle school girls all over the country and transforming communities of poverty to communities of prosperity. My nonprofit Envision Lead Grow is now in 178 cities across the country.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“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.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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