We had the good fortune of connecting with Ana Leyva Adler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ana Leyva, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Creativity has always been at the top of the list for me when I think of values. I think this is because I am a questioner, a problem solver, and a lover of stories. In my 15 year career at Turner (now WarnerMedia) I was able to use all of this to my advantage. As a writer/producer I got to work on my storytelling and as I moved up the ladder I was able to put my creativity to work in problem-solving to make systems more efficient and to enable my team to do their best work. Now, as an entrepreneur, my goal is to help 16-25-year-olds find creative ways to plan their career journey and design a life that can evolve and change with them.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My new business is Test-Drive Your Life. It is a workshop aimed at young adults ranging in age from 15 to 25. The content is based on the book Designing Your Life by Burnett and Evans. I am combining their process of building a successful life by using design thinking and leveraging my creative background in order to empower students to plan a career that will be aligned with their values, strengths, and interests. What sets me apart is my story. I am an immigrant, I had a long corporate career in television and had to reinvent myself after a layoff. In addition, I have found that there is a gap waiting to be filled that will support the work of college counselors. Right now I am on the cusp of launching. I have piloted the workshop successfully and am in the process of building a marketing plan/campaign. It hasn’t been easy. I also have to pay the bills, so it has taken months to get to this point, but I am very passionate about helping my target and I am a true believer that design thinking is the way to go. Not to mention the fact that it also feeds my need to also be working on creating things all the time. My biggest challenge I think has been getting past the insecurity of being the right person to do this, but the more I work on the content of the workshop, the more I’ve realized that design thinking is very similar to the creative process I am so familiar with and I’ve realized I am, in a way, exactly the right person to be doing this. Along the way, I’ve learned that I couldn’t do this alone. My design thinking teacher, Amy Zehfuss has become my mentor and supported this journey every step of the way. I also joined a purposeful accountability group, Live Alive, and this team of women has helped me reach every goal I’ve set in the past 6 months. What I want the world to know about Test-Drive Your Life is that we are invested in empowering youth to build a successful life and define success on their terms. I am also hoping to be able to give back by supporting and empowering at-risk youth.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow, had to think about this for a week. It’s been so long since I’ve gone anywhere. I’m going to assume they are coming in October because one of my favorite things to do in Atlanta is the Spirit of Oakland tour at Oakland Cemetery. So first stop will be dinner at Six Feet Under on the rooftop with a nice view of the cemetery and then the tour. During the tour, we’ll meet some of the “residents” of the cemetery (portrayed by actors of course because some people are afraid of actual ghosts) and get a really good idea of the history of the city. Some of the more famous residents of the cemetery are Maynard Jackson, Margaret Mitchell, and Bobby Jones. But many not so famous but still very interesting people are buried there. There is also a lot of great spots for hiking in the area, Sweetwater Water Creek state park is one of my favorites. So there will be hiking involved during the visit. A nice leisurely walk along the beltline in search of Tiny Doors is another fun activity, especially with kids. Along the way, we’ll pick a restaurant to have lunch at and then end the walk by veering off the beltline to find the Tiny Door next to the King of Pops window and enjoying some delicious popsicles (pineapple habanero for me please). No trip to Atlanta would be complete without a visit to the Civil Rights Museum, the World of Coke, and the Aquarium, all wonderful in their own way and all really close to each other. If time and scheduling permits, I would also include a show at the Fox Theater (or at least a tour of this amazing building) and a night at the best dive bar around, Northside Tavern, to listen to some blues music.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Can I choose 2? The Lola is a community of women here in Atlanta. I met Eileen Lee and Martine Resnick when they began working on this project and have been a member since before they opened their doors. This group of women has mentored me, cheered me on, lifted me up, and encouraged me to explore my gifts and my options.
Through The Lola, I met Bev Carey and joined one of her purposeful accountability groups. This group of women has helped me meet milestones and manage obstacles during my journey to launching my business.
Facebook: Test-Drive Your Life
Other: Since I haven’t launched yet my website and social media addresses are works in progress. My portfolio site for my freelance business is: anaadlercreative.com
Headshot – Leah Roth