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

Hi Terri, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Growing up as a young African American girl in Waterbury, Connecticut, my passion was reading and writing. I didn’t believe I or my writing was that special. So, I kept my short stories, poems, and rap lyrics hidden. In high school, there was no outlet for kids like me who loved to write. So, I did my work and prayed that graduation would come quickly. I attending North Carolina A&T State University and majored in Computer Science at my mother’s request. But my passion for writing never left. After working for several fortune 500 companies, I decided to create a writing program that I wished was available when I was in school. I started my after-school program, Fun Creative Writing, in 2013. But I also wanted to make the same programs accessible to underserved students without cost. In 2018, I founded and funded LIFT2Enrich, Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit designed to support young writers who need a productive, creative outlet.

Good writing starts at a young age. However, especially in our underserved communities, there are writers, creative thinkers, and innovators who do not have an outlet. There is an abundance of focus on sports-related programs and STEM initiatives, and that’s great; however, our creative children are falling through the cracks, which leads to things like gangs, drugs, or students simply not living up to their full potential. It’s not easy running a nonprofit, and we are truly working on a shoestring budget. Despite this, we keep moving forward because our parents, teachers, and students believe our program is making a difference.

After writing and publishing five books of my own, I was asked to create a program for adults who wanted to write better and become published authors. I founded The Writer’s Tablet Publishing Agency and have worked with best-selling authors, Hall of Famers, large corporations, and aspiring writers.

I believe that words are critical in communicating your message. Whether it is an essay, novel business documents, or marketing material, I genuinely enjoy using my creative talents to help make my clients’ work shine.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When it is all said and done, my goal is to increase the confidence in our youth. Many times it’s not the environment you were raised in or the lack of financial resources that determine your lot in life. It’s establishing a belief in yourself that no matter what, I will succeed.

Establishing a true and genuine connection with people is important, and that is doubly true for children. The old saying goes, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. I recall the teen workshop I delivered at the Boys and Girls Club. The students dragged themselves into their seats, half asleep and super annoyed. The workshop allowed them to reflect on their gifts and talents and how they can be monetized. By the end of the 2-hour workshop, they were smiling, presenting their work, and fully engaged. Some even asked when we would return. It’s moments like this that fill my spirit.

I often wonder why I was given this opportunity. It all started with following my dream to be a writer and then following the prompting from God to teach our children. My progress hasn’t always been up and to the right. There were many challenges. I’ve learned that no one succeeds by working in their own silo. I had to learn to put myself out there and network with others. I’ve learned the art of selling myself without sounding braggadocious. I’ve learned to ask for help, (which was is a hard one for me.) I’ve also learned to hire the right people and have a great team that shares my vision and passion.

Although my slogan is to build better writers, I believe I am building the next generation of great minds. Thanks to my husband, I’ve learned not to worry about the number of young people I reach. I would rather have a deep impact on a few students than a shallow interaction with many.

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?
Day: The National Center for Civil and Human Rights Evening: The Beautiful Restaurant
Day: Hiking at Kennesaw National Park
Evening: Capers Bar and Grill
Day: Atlantic City Station
Evening: City Winery
Day: Centennial Park
Evening: Hawks Game
Day: Tasa Caribbean Restaurant
Evening: Chastain Concert
Day: The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta
Evening: Battery Park – Punch Bowl
Day: Slutty Vegan
Evening: Friday Jazz at the High Museum of Art
Day: Buckhead Church
Evening: Paschal’s Restaurant

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?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my husband of over 27 years, Will Whitmire. It is because of his encouragement and sacrifice that I was able to follow my dreams. When my fancy corporate job decided to downsize, I frantically called my husband to tell him I was being “let go.” He told me not to worry, to come home, and we’ll figure it out. He gave me the peace I needed to pack my things, say goodbye to my shocked team, and walk out with my head held high. Even with two children (ages six and four months), he told me I could go back to work when I wanted or do something completely different. I chose the latter and wrote my first book.

Since that day, he has supported my creativity as I became a five-time published author, started my creative writing after-school program, launched my publishing agency, and most recently, established my nonprofit, LIFT2Enrich, Inc. My husband, Will, has been there, cheering me on and supporting me in every way imaginable. Without him, I might have never been able to mentor so many young and “not so young” writers. My community of support has been outstanding, and there are too many people to name. But I have to also give a shoutout to my mother, Marcia Neal, for encouraging me, supporting my writing career, and helping LIFT2Enrich, Inc. reach underserved children. I get my philanthropic spirit and my youthful appearance straight from my mom.

Website: https://lift2enrich.org/

Instagram: LIFT2Enrichga

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/terriwhitmire/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terri.whitmire/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9rD2gKpHts

Other: Student Testimonies: https://youtu.be/8WHgzBmMDis

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.