Candice, you started ALOE, Another Level of Excellence, as a non-profit venture a few years ago
I founded Aloe as I saw a need in the local community to be exposed to STEM programs. I didn’t come across any programs for my own kids so I started a non-profit for kids to learn about STEM and the career opportunities in STEM. The concept was to learn technology via Science experiments. We helped children who need exposure to STEM.
How did you gather the community support for your project?
I worked on creating a diverse board of members for ALOE, people who have the same vision for their kids, and they all and geared up for the same goal. I simply recruited through Facebook, Email and LinkedIn for the Board.
Is there a person in your life or read about that you would like to interview?
Barack and Michelle Obama. They faced such adversity and challenges and have kept their marriage intact. They both experienced tension and hate. We recently moved to new schools and my children have been experiencing forms of discrimination. I want to ask how did they continue to be so resilient. I want to know how they think. What did they teach kids?
What would your former colleagues say about you?
That I am hardworking, kind, and sometimes too nice. I have always been a "yes-person", meaning I seldom say no to new projects. I will get everything done and work late. I want to make sure I give 100% to all aspects of a task and sometimes I get hurt in the process.
Candice is Inspiring
From whom have you learned to be your current best self?
My elementary school teacher in 5th grade told me “I don’t want to see you working in Dunkin Donuts. You are going to college and you are going to make it". A lot of people in my hometown did not go to college, for various reasons. He planted that seed in my mind. He was a candid, middle aged white male. Genuine, honest person who was real and straight to the point. I appreciated people in my life who guided me with such transparency.
What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
My grandmother helped raise me and 5 of her own kids. She became a widow when they were young. My grandmother is a very important part of who I am. She always said "put your children first” -- I would hear at the back of my mind her voice. "Love them, support them." I can say we all have done very well for ourselves, because of her. My parents had me at a young age and they made great sacrifices. They love unconditionally and always provided throughout my life.
I am grateful for my husband, children and dear friends. I feel like I will never live alone. Even if my family passes on, I will know that I was loved. It's what motivates me and keeps me going. I appreciate them all and it means a lot to me to have them in my life.
What message would you like to pass on to the next generation?
Don’t believe everything that meets the eye. What you see may not be exactly what you get. Learn and be patient. Get to know others before assuming what they are or what they could be.
Choreographing Challenges Of
Sharing Gift Of Listening & Empathy
You are launching a new company in a few moments? What is the biggest change here?
I am going from macro level of social work to micro-level with individual families and people. I feel that I have a lot of support from people in the same field. I am nervous because it's something new. I am comfortable working with people one on one and small groups. I want to share the gift of empathy and listening. I enjoy helping people in terms of bettering themselves.
What is the biggest challenge moving from non-profit to the for-profit world?
Being an entrepreneur versus working for someone else means working for yourself instead of a low pay. Now you have to ask to get paid for doing the work. I have to value my service and know my audience. I am in a cohort of 20 women starting businesses in 90 days. I have to learn to be able to offer my skills and confidence and to offer them to the public. Fundraising for a cause versus asking to be paid for your skills.
Key areas are those who have means and need some guidance, we will still be supporting some who need the support in some ways and can’t afford it.
If you take yourself back to when you were 10 years old, what did you want to be?
Teacher and Pediatrician. I always wanted to help young people, all I wanted to do was help and serve people. I had seen women being a teacher and pediatrician. I was told anything is possible for me. I grew up in a small town with support and a strong upbringing in a low-income family. My teachers knew my uncles and aunts. My view was limited because I wasn't exposed to a lot being from a small town..
Balancing Acts of Candice
Adaptability Helps Orchestrate
Talk to me about some of the biggest challenges that you've faced and how have you overcome those?
Balancing career and motherhood since 12 years ago. I am very independent and driven for my career, I tend to set multiple goals. Motherhood has taught me to be realistic in my goal setting. Sometimes I feel that I may not have met the mark but then I come through the other end.
If you were to do something differently, what would you change?
Travel a bit more. Times like these have made me realize that we take for granted the ability to travel and enjoy different experiences. Bali is the next destination, then Ghana , maybe Trinidad.
What is the skillset that helped you with your work?
Adaptability, my population may change or where I am supposed to be changes. At Hands-on Atlanta, I was the organizer to bring everything together. Being the quiet little girl that I was, it amazes me that I can do that today. I found my voice in middle school with student government. Being confident and the orchestrator in communicating to the community. Getting my voice out is my biggest skill.
Is there some skill or talent you have that people don't know about?
I love to design projects on Circuit, which is a cutting machine where you can create sticker like vinyl images and place them just about anywhere. Creating these products is my side business. As far as a hobby - learning bass guitar and practicing yoga is my peace.