We had the good fortune of connecting with Mia L. McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mia L., we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risks are necessary. The thing that you’re scared to do just might be the difference between where you currently are and where you’re trying to be. Taking risks fuels me, but it also keeps me humble. I’m always willing to bet on myself no matter what. If a plan doesn’t work out, fine. Back to the drawing board. The key is knowing when to take a risk versus really sitting down and planning what’s next. Again, risks are necessary, but you have to be strategic.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
By day I’m a Communications Specialist for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Office of Communications, by night I’m the Director of Talent Development for Acting Up LLC, and most recently, I’m the Tri-Cities High School Alumni Association Service Committee, Chairwoman. I sort of fell into government communications. After being a super senior at the real GSU, Georgia State University, I finally graduated in May 2015 and immediately began interning. The internship was only supposed to be for a few months, but I earned an internship extension by pitching a social media strategy which eventually turned into a full-time position as a Communications Coordinator. I was known as one-half of the “social media girls”. At the time I didn’t mind it because I was just happy to have a job, but I noticed I wasn’t growing. There was a point where I started to feel stuck in my profession, but I knew I needed more time to improve my skills and build my resume, so that’s what I did. I felt that I had learned all that I could at that level and decided it was time to take a chance on myself. I took a risk. That leap of faith led me to work in a career that I love, am good at, and trusted to do. An obstacle that I’m still working through is fighting ageism. I’m a member of the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) and it doesn’t help that I have a babyface. Before I get a chance to introduce myself, people automatically assume that I’m lost, part of a school field trip, or that I’m someone’s child. All of this on top of the typical misconceptions that my generation lacks job loyalty, we’re entitled, we’re lazy, we’re trying to take older generations jobs when all we’re trying to do is make it. This used to frustrate me so much until my boss said something so simple, but it resonates with me and gives me peace, “You can’t make people respect you”. Again, so simple but it really helps put things into perspective. There are so many lessons that I’ve learned and I’m certain I have a way to go, but the biggest lesson is to always trust God. It sounds cliché and it’s hard to do, but everything is already written, and that gives me peace. I want the world to know that I’m just getting started. Yes, I have a few accomplishments under my belt and wear many hats, but this is just the beginning. I’m grateful for all the encouragement I continue to receive and I’m equally excited to pay it forward.

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 love downtown College Park; it’s hidden in plain sight. You can take a mini food tour, get a good workout in, and do a makeover all on one strip. Also, I’m completely biased because I was raised in College Park. Whether you’re just visiting or you live here, touring Auburn Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Center should be on your list. I’m a self-proclaimed historian, so I’m always down for learning about my city. The vibes, the culture of Atlanta is a forever mood. I’m also an amateur foodie, but two of my favorite places to eat are in East Point, Taco Pete, and D’essence Café. Taco Pete has some of the best tacos I’ve ever tasted in my life; the ingredients are always fresh and your food is made fresh to order. Any dish you can dream of, D’essence has it on the menu or you can request it. Again, made fresh to order and you will definitely be in a food coma afterward. When I was vegan for all of two hours, Healhfull Essence (SWATs/West End) was heaven. I’m just now really started to venture out and expand my palate, so I follow Foodie/Blogger @wewantimanisfood for all recommendations. She specifically highlights Black-owned restaurants, oh and she makes the best sangria of your life! Your Atlanta Bucket List should have Ponce City Market, Krog Street, and Little 5 Points as staple tour stops. ATL definitely increased Cascade’s popularity, but I grew up going to Skate Towne off Old National.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes, I want to shoutout all of the above actually, lol. Without a doubt, my late mother Monica McDonald Johnson. She was the epitome of love and was just the most amazingly supportive and beautiful person. My grandparents Gwen and Simon Robinson, who are business owners and very involved in their community; they are Black Excellence. My shoutout is also dedicated to my sister, Valerie, who owns several businesses the Effortlessly Fly Group being one, shameless plug, lol. She personifies Black Girl Magic. Brandon Thaxton, one of my mentors, who constantly reminds me that no dream or goal is too big. My best friend, Akilah, she’s an amazing friend, teacher, mom, sister…she’s basically a superhero and she definitely rescues me, like all the time. Last by not least, my friends and family too. I’m surrounded by so many entrepreneurs, public servants, business owners, and most importantly love. They all keep me going, I have no choice but to be inspired. I am a product of all the love, support, and knowledge that they pour into me. I could literally write a novel, but this is me keeping it “short”, lol.

Instagram: @nowstarringmia
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mia-mcdonald-33563559/
Twitter: @nowstarringmia
Facebook: Mia L. McDonald
Other: www.tchsaa.com www.claytoncountyga.gov

Image Credits
Bond Photography- for the photo where I’m holding an award.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana 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.