We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeri Perkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jeri, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As a Black woman who has strategically navigated racist and oppressive systems of higher education and institutions of academia to receive a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree I knew early on in my career that I was going to have to use radical solutions outside of systems and institutions to create change. In terms of career path and life trajectory I knew that in order to have the impact I desired I needed to blaze my own trail and change the narrative about our Black/African American, Native/Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian Pacific Islander communities. As the visionary and CEO/Founder/Owner of Impact Action Network Advocacy Consulting Agency where we Educate to Liberate by making Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, & Justice (DEIBJ) a systemic and institutional priority and not a checkbox I value unity with our ally communities as a solution-focused approach to bridge the gap between systems, institutions and the communities that they serve. Experiences early on in my career and life laid the foundation for the trajectory of my educational and professional future. I knew early on that the key to myself thriving and not just surviving the toxic culture of racist systems and institutions as a Black woman in America, meant being independent and my own boss. By design systems and institutions are created with unfair structural conditions and accumulated challenges and barriers for communities of color. At the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender and Socioeconomic Status (SES) I identify as a Black woman who has experienced different levels of privilege. So, I feel a social responsibility to my ancestors in alignment with the purpose and calling that my creator has placed over my life to demonstrate social empathy and dedicate my work to the liberation of my people. #NarrativeChanger #Trailblazer #Visionary

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At 17 years old I received an opportunity to start my career in the media industry as an Emma Bowen Foundation fellow at corporate sponsor NBC Bay Area News. My goal was to use the media as an outlet to raise social awareness. One summer a news mentor said, “That’s not Journalism, it’s activism.” Those words marked a turning point in my career because I started to realize that my values did not necessarily align with the institution of Journalism. Throughout my undergraduate experience at Lincoln University, Missouri I produced and hosted my talk show, “Impact with Jeri Perkins” on JCTV Access, served as the Women’s Resource Center Peer Education Student Coordinator, and the Social Media Coordinator of the local Jefferson City branch and Missouri State Conference NAACP. Also, I had an opportunity to intern with government relations firm Flotron & McIntosh and attend committee hearings at the capitol. A plethora of learning experiences paved the way for the educational advocacy work that I do with Impact Action Network and in my Communications Coordinator role with Black Mothers Forum, Inc. With BMF my goal is to amplify the voices of the Black mothers, children, families, communities, and educators that we serve through our monthly newsletter and on our podcast “For the Record: A Conversation With Black Mothers Forum,” produced by Central City Radio. At 26 years old I have a greater appreciation for the experiences that laid the foundation for my work as a community advocate and DEIBJ educator.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Currently I live with my retired parents in the beautiful Estrella Mountain Ranch area of Goodyear, AZ. I find peace in taking walks on the golf course, swimming in our backyard pool, going to the movie theaters at Harkins Estrella Falls, out to eat at local restaurants and shopping at Maurices. By nature I am a homebody and I do not tour the city often however, while living Downtown on Roosevelt Row I appreciated the artwork that celebrated Black culture, history, tradition, and excellence and enjoyed attending the Archwood Exchange to support Black-owned businesses in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have an extreme amount of gratitude for my parents and grandparents for valuing education as the pathway to liberation. My mother Michele Denee Perkins, MBA would say, “Education is the foundation for the rest of your future.” I remember my mother sitting with me everyday afterschool from the time I was in Kindergarten to Seventh grade drilling me on study guide questions, checking my homework and demanding that I prioritize my education before extracurricular activities. My father Jerry Lee Perkins, BS Industrial Engineering would say, “I taught you how to fish, now fish.” My father emphasizes the importance of treating each of his children differently according to the different levels of support that they need. My father says that he is hard on me because, “He sees greatness within me.” At times this philosophy frustrates me however, I am grateful for the passion that is within me because resiliency is the greatest protective factor that my ancestors have blessed me with. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather Julien Stelly fought for Black/African Americans to have the right to vote in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana in 1896, Grandpa Stelly used a family heirloom known as the “Stelly rifle,” to defend himself before he was gunned down by a white supremacy group. Grandpa Stelly’s desire to create change and revolutionary spirit lives within me. I am appreciative of him sacrificing his life for the civil rights of our Black community. My family, ancestors and future children are the reasons why I fight.

Website: https://impactactionnetwork.com

Instagram: impact_action_network

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeri-perkins/

Facebook: Impact Action Network Advocacy Consulting Agency

Other: https://asu.digication.com/jeri-perkins/about_me For questions, consulting services, inquires, interview requests, and public speaking engagements please email: impactactionnetwork@gmail.com.

Image Credits
Heather Nelson Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.