We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracy Stephens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tracy, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started my business because I wanted to make a difference in the community. I’m from Athens, GA. Whenever I tell people that they instantly think of UGA. That’s cool and all, but I wanted the city I come from to be known for more than that. A lot of people that visit Athens throughout the year don’t know about the ongoing struggle some residents face every day. 38% of Athens population lives in poverty. When I discovered that statistic it didn’t sit well with me. All I could think about was what I could do to bring forth some kind of change. From there I started my organization Dreams To Kings and Queens that focuses on providing children from low income neighborhoods with the necessary resources they need to have a fair shot in life. I wanted to give these kids hope and show them that they are somebody. So many of them grow up with odds already stacked against them. My 3 biggest community projects I host on behalf of my organization is a backpack giveaway, scholarship giveaway, and adopt a child for the holidays program. Each event has a powerful impact no matter how old the child is. I want to give them all the hope they need and show them that somebody out here cares about them.
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.
I’m most proud of the fact that I started an organization that has impacted thousands of kids. Also, I would say writing 4 books is something I’m proud of. I never saw myself publishing any books because I always wanted to keep my writing to myself, but after seeing the reception it received from everyone I’m glad I made the decision to do it. Within my professional career it wasn’t easy getting to this point in my career. I went thru a lot of ups & downs to get here. After graduating from grad school I had a tough time finding a job right away. I worked part-time for the longest until my first full-time opportunity came about. The company I was working part-time for saw my value and gave me a chance. Although I wish things would’ve worked out sooner, I’m glad I went thru those tough times. It humbled me and made me appreciate life way more. The lesson I’ve learned when it comes to life is that you can’t expect everything to come at once. You have to practice patience and know that what’s meant to be will be. Forcing the process or trying to control the narrative won’t speed things up. Appreciate the joy. Appreciate the pain. That’s what makes us stronger.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my friends to The Battery. It’s a chill vibe with a lot of good spots to get drinks, watch games, or hear some great music. Atlanta has so much more to offer, but this would be my preference for a good time.
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 want to shout out my parents. Everything I’ve accomplished wouldn’t have been possible without them. There were countless nights I felt like I wanted to give up, but my parents always said the right things to keep me going. I appreciate the unconditional love and support they’ve always given me.