We had the good fortune of connecting with Ari Dennis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ari, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I’ve realized over the years and after having a family, that work life balance isn’t an equal serving concept. Trying to give a 100% into nursing, my business, home, which include my husband and three sons then trying to have a social life became chaotic and stressful. And even though I was trying to give my all into all these “categories”there were still parts that were being neglected. So that’s when I had to decide HOW to prioritize and WHAT to prioritize, which ultimately taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Because I can’t do it all and I definitely can’t do it all at 100%, it’s not humanly possible. Trying to be everything to everybody breaks down your mental, physical, and emotional health; and if you’re a spiritual person then that’ll take its toll as well. So I say all that to say, my balance scale is always teeter tottering, and I’ve learned how to redirect my attention from one thing to another when that particular “category” needs me. Now introducing, discernment. You have to have discernment to make the balance work.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I didn’t go to college straight out of high school, I actually spent two years just living life and figuring it out, evaluating the things around me And making a decision on what I wanted to accomplish. I joined the military when I was 20 and after getting out I decided to use my G.I. Bill to get me through nursing school. In the midst of my nursing career I decided to open a shoe store with the intent of starting my own shoe line. None of these decisions that I made were easy, especially when they weren’t supported by people that I respected or admired. However, I know that that doubt, pushed me to be successful in all the endeavors that I set my mind on pursuing. I want people to know me as a lover of life, a giver, a friend, a genuine woman and that I’m living these 35,000 days to it’s fullest, without reasonable doubt.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I hope my friend is well rested before coming down and I’ll make sure to clear my schedule. We’ll shop at The New Black Wall Street Market, The Village Market inside Ponce City Market and we’ll definitely eat and drink there. I’ll have to take her to Atlantic Station and since we’re in the area we’ll go over to the SCAD fashion museum. We’ve got to have an afternoon at Piedmont park, explore the belt line, catch the street band, if we’re lucky. We’ll eat at the Bandó, BarVegan, Slim & Husky’s, GardenParc, have tea or coffee at Brooklyn’s Tea. We’ll see some historical parts of Atlanta; Sweet Auburn Ave, Dr. MLK’s home, the Civil Rights museum, the Underground, Tyler Perry studio. Nightlife: we’re going to Boogalou’s, Suite Lounge, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, and we’ve got to find out where Gritz and Jelly Butter are playing, cause that’s where we’ll be. I’m forgetting some places, but any down time we’ll chill and play it by ear.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
God keeps me together, he keeps me humble and still allows me to be driven to live life and enjoy its bounties. My husband, Brandon, he picks up the parts that I can’t or don’t do (LOL). He also keeps me focused, because my mind can get off track and he brings me back and in that he continues to love me, regardless. My sons for being curious and understanding while letting me be me. My parents, my in-laws, my siblings, my cousins, my dearest friends, aunts, uncles, all the family support, and all my dearest of friends, their belief in me and my dreams has kept me going when I was at my lowest. Lastly, and most importantly the business owners that I’ve grown to know and respect at, The New Black Wall Street Market. We’ve become a family of merchants who can lean on each other during this whirlwind life of entrepreneurship. They bless me in many ways and I pray I’ve been able to return the same grace.
Linkedin: Ari Dennis
Chris Evans with Clearly Focused Media Works Stonecrest Weekly podcast with Gazza & Angel