Aaliyah Haggard- Founder, Advance and Emerge Women Q&A
Diversity in Entrepreneurship
Aaliyah is the founder and president of a non-profit organization called A & E Women. Her organization focuses its efforts on the social and professional advancement of women. They leverage a wide range of support channels, such as workshops, social events, and content studies to actively problem solve one another’s past, present, and future adversities
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit or is this something that is completely new for you?
“It is very new to me. For the longest time I didn’t know my direction and purpose, and I’m still figuring it out as I’m only 24 years old. But I got more of an idea after I graduated college and started finding myself as an individual. That’s when my entrepreneurial spirit came out and I wanted to be more of a social entrepreneur, creating products and services that help the greater good of society while still being a business.”
What is the story behind Advance and Emerge Women and how did it begin?
“It was originally supposed to be a hybrid book club, a mixture between a support group and book club because we read self development books. This came about because in college and in my life I’ve had a lot of experiences that have broken me down as an individual and I didn’t have much of my sense of identity.
I was running track at the University of Arizona and I got into a career ending car accident. I broke bones in my neck and had minor brain trauma. It completely did a 180 on my life, of course depression and all of that stuff sets in so I was a very lost individual when I graduated. From there my current fiancé gave me a book called “What To Say When You Talk To Yourself” by , and that book changed my life. It taught me the power of your mind and self talk and you can create your universe. That made me think, “Oh my gosh this is such a simple and amazing idea that can help people in so many areas of their life, I wonder if people really know how powerful their mind really is, specifically women”. So, I decided to start a book club.
I did a soft launch for A&E Women and I just realized how much of a need that there was and we created a 501(c)3 for it. It actually started to develop into something more than a book club because we started bringing in women owned businesses to present their story and their business and we became a resource of networking so that’s how we grew. We ended up having a hard launch to rebrand and re-identify ourselves and came right back out with our event of relaunching into the community.”
Your messaging is very uplifting and positive using words like Queen to speak to your audience. Is that something that you did intentionally?
“I think it’s really important for all women to identify as a queen. Throughout society and history a good amount of us have been in the shadows or not shining in the way we can. The goal of calling everyone a queen is to equalize everyone but also empower. I want women to identify with their power that they already have, it’s not like you need to get the power you have the power, you just need to bring it out.”
“I learned that I need to be focused with the tasks at hand versus worrying about the end result.”
What have you personally gained from starting your own business?
“I learned that you can really do anything you put your mind to, and you don’t have to be a super special person on this planet to do something awesome. You can really do whatever you want to do to the capacity of how far you want to take it, it just solely depends on you as an individual.
Lastly, always enjoy yourself. Especially if you’re doing something that you love, it’ll be stressful at times but it should not be making you cry everyday and stressing you out.
Really just enjoy it and think about the now and what’s your why. “