Meet Akilah C. Thompson Founder & CEO of ACT Inspires Inc. in Long Island NY USA
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.
I was raised in Long Island, NY and recognized I was multitalented at a young age. I ventured to the south to attend North Carolina A&T State University and completed my Bachelors in Accounting & Business Economics. I spent 6 years in corporate America as a Tax Accountant working for top Accounting firms. In 2011, I left corporate America to pursue my other talents and started my trademark company ACT Inspires Inc. Under ACT Inspires, I use all of my talents to inspire people to live a fulfilled life. I am certified life coach , inspirational speaker , fitness instructor , actor , model and author. I also run a nonprofit, Generations Inspired Inc, where we focus on empowering youth and young adults to achieve their fullest potential through innovative, interactive, informative, and inspirational programs.
What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?
I change lives….that is what I love about what I do. I have watched teens transform in front of my eyes participating in programs that I have facilitated or developed. It is extremely rewarding to know that you are making a difference. I started speaking and developing programs when I was in corporate America and fell in love with speaking to youth. I got involved in any community outreach activity the firms had and I realized that I wanted to inspire for a living.
Tell us about any new projects you have coming up (or recently completed)
I recently launched my first program under my nonprofit, I AM B.E.A.U.T.Y. This program is designed to empower and inspire young girls and women by fostering self-love, personal & professional development, career exploration, health awareness, goal setting and pursuit of life purpose. We are currently wrapping up our teen I AM B.E.A.UT..Y summer bootcamp which was for girls ages 14-18. We will be expanding the program this fall to include 3 bootcamp locations and launching I AM BEAUTY Juniors which will be for preteens, ages 11-13.
What is a typical day like for you?
On my typical day, I start my day off doing some accounting work because I am an IRS Enrolled Agent in which I freelance as an independent contractor for tax and accounting services. Then I normally spend the remainder of my day in meetings working on new programming for Generations Inspired Inc. or out in the field speaking at a program as a workshop facilitator or keynote speaker. In the evenings, I might be teaching a zumba class, at a rehearsal for an upcoming play or modeling in a photoshoot or video shoot. My days are always unpredictable and there is never a dull moment. I am living my dreams.
Tell us about your community involvement – what you are passionate about outside of work and home and why/how you participate?
I am passionate about inspiring people and often provide my services as a speaker and fitness instructor free of charge to benefit the community. I have spoken and taught Zumba at drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, groups homes, foster residences, and organizations for at-risk youth to empower them to make better decisions and live their best life.
What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
The biggest risk I have every taken professionally was to leave corporate America. As a tax manager, I was earning a six figure salary and had great financial responsibility as a homeowner. It was extremely difficult to leave corporate America not knowing if I would be able to make it as an entrepreneur. It has been a humbling experience learning how to live below my means to invest any additional money into my businesses. I remain focus on my goals and firmly believe that when you do what you love and live life with purpose the money will come.
From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
My inspiration to want to inspire others comes from my own life. I was a troubled teen that blossomed over time into a talented woman because people nurtured me along the way. ALL of the experiences in life prepared me to be able to connect with young people and I want to be able to help them find their way as people did for me. I have dozens of mentors that have accumulated over the course of my life. College Professors, Administrators, Colleagues, Employers , Former Board Members, Sorority Sisters, and the list goes on of people that have been great role models and mentors in my life. I try to learn from everyone I meet.
What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?
I spent a lot of time this year researching youth development organizations and speakers to help me continue to differentiate myself as a speaker and also “think out the box” programs. I have also gone to conferences and observed speakers to gain insight on techniques to use to be more effective as a speaker.
What one thing would you like to learn this year?
I would like to learn more about counseling and psychology. I have received feedback from parents, that what I offer in my programs is a form of therapy so I would like to be credentialed accordingly.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I would like to be recognized as a best selling author, expert on development youth and world renowned youth speaker. I would also like Generations Inspired programs such as I AM B.E.A.U.T.Y. to have satellite locations all over the US.
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
I love to listen to live music and spend quality time with family and friends. I also love the beach and try to get away to Negril, Jamaica.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
To learn more about Generations Inspired Inc and I AM BEAUTY check out www.generationsinspired.org coming in September 2013.
What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?
My website is www.actinspires.com. You can also find em on social media:
Twitter : @ACTINSPIRES