By Jessica Washington, Youth Empowerment Program Manager

What a journey! From the classroom at Bunche Middle School to the red carpet at the Rising Star Awards Banquet, our star entrepreneur is well on her way! The founder and operator of Miniature Chefs Culinary Cooking Academy, Alexia Minter, has had an amazing ride as a young entrepreneur. You may remember her as the grand prize winner of our 2016 Annual HOPE Global Forums Pitch Competition this past January. As you can imagine, she is extremely busy running her business, and wrapping up her first year of high school. Alexia was thrilled to join Youth Empowerment Group Manager, Jessica Washington, for a brief call to update us on her recent accomplishments.

Jessica: How was your experience this past week as an honoree at the Rising Star Awards Ceremony?

Alexia: This past Saturday was awesome. I was honored as the recipient of the Rising Star Awards. My mom and dad joined me for this event.

Jessica: How were you selected for this award?

Alexia: I am so grateful for my nomination by Operation HOPE. I was contacted several weeks ago by the Mary Parker Foundation to go through an interview process. They even video taped the interview and played it during the ceremony. I’m glad I had the experience of preparing for the HOPE Global Forums last year. I was much more comfortable in front of the camera this time.

Jessica: What kind of questions were you asked on the interview?

Alexia: The Rising Star committee asked what the title meant to me. My answer was, “It must mean I’m headed in the right direction of being a true leader.”  They also asked how my philosophy was similar to Mary H. Parker’s (the founder of the organization)? I told them, “I strive for success in education and through entrepreneurship. I realize how important it is to take advantage of the opportunities that come my way.”

Jessica: What was the highlight of the evening for you, besides winning your award?

Alexia: I really enjoyed hearing other award recipients. I was inspired by their testimonies and stories of hurdles they overcame.

Jessica: How do you think Operation HOPE and the Youth Empowerment Group helped prepare you for this journey?

Alexia: I had the help of my Business Role Models, like you (Jessica Washington) and Ms. Latoyia Booth. You guys taught me how to be professional, use eye contact and the importance of positive body language. Ms. Latoyia spent a lot of time helping me with my interview skills also.

It’s so much more than a workbook or a pitch competition. Operation HOPE is changing lives, and I am honored to be a part of this dynamic family!

– Jessica Washington, Youth Empowerment Group Manager

We are very excited about the progress and accomplishments of all our youth entrepreneurs. We have several opportunities coming up where we will be presenting Banking On Our Future (BOOF) programming throughout the community. Registration is now available for our upcoming Ascend Financial Freedom Summer Camp. Stay tuned for more updates on our Atlanta Youth Empowerment Group entrepreneurs!