Ashley Hicks with daughter Olivia in her stroller. (photo courtesy of: Kate T. Parker)
Calling all the ladies in the world who are owning their #BlackGirlMagic and winning in life. You’re running your career, your love life, managing family and friends; and anyone who knows you knows you’re absolutely a boss. However, while having it all and doing it all may be part of our #BlackGirlMagic DNA, if we are all honest for a hot second, we can unanimously agree: This boss life ain’t easy.
Therefore, in the spirit of running life like a boss, allow me to introduce you to Ashley Hicks. You may recognize her as the co-founder of Black Girls Run!—the social-running movement that she and her friend Toni Carey started in 2009. She describes the business relationship between her and Carey as a marriage, and thus the Black Girls Run! brand as their love child.
“There are ups and downs; however, at the end of the day, everything depends on love and communication. What we’ve created together [Black Girls Run!] is our baby,” she says.
Don’t you just love that? However, when Hicks is not busy inspiring 160,000 women nationwide to make fitness and healthy living a priority, she can be found navigating her way through two new titles: wife and mother.
Ashley Hicks is undoubtedly doing it all: running a nationally recognized brand, with an inspirational personal life. She gave up some of her valuable time for a conversation with The Root in order to share her superwoman-inspired gems.
Make Time for You, Boo
Carving out “me time” isn’t always easy, but it certainly is necessary. So when I asked Hicks how she gets in her “me time” all while raising a baby, being a wife and nurturing a brand, she said that the key practice she has adopted is to rise early.
She greets the day an hour before Olivia (her cutie-patootie 1-year-old) wakes up in order to exercise and get a head start on the household’s chores. “I never would’ve woken up at 5 a.m. before Olivia was born,” she confesses. Not an early riser? Well, your “me time” doesn’t always have to be early or sweaty. It simply just needs to be anything, at anytime, that rejuvenates you. So “start small and commit to it daily,” Hicks suggests.
Ashley Hicks and baby Olivia. (photo courtesy of: Ashley Hicks)
Build Your Dream Team
Once you surrender to the idea that personal time is important, surrender to the fact that you can’t be great alone. For instance, since we are on this “we are superwomen” flow, let’s look at our boy Batman for a second. Yes, he was super and all, but without Robin? Yeah, not so much. Well, same goes for us real-life superheroes. Having a dream team is essential and, in fact, is something Hicks credits for helping her “do it all.” While the work of Black Girls Run! began with friend Toni Carey, it has evolved into a powerhouse movement fueled by a team of both internal staff and city-based ambassadors.
And then there’s the team at her other job, motherhood. When I asked Hicks how she manages to trust others with baby Olivia, she said that the staff at her daughter’s day care is a dream. So simply put, personally or professionally, the secret sauce to living the dream is having a dream team.
Be Willing to Emotionally Disconnect
Another super power of Black Girl Magic (or girl power in general) is the ability to connect with our emotions. However, when this power is untamed in business, specifically entrepreneurship, things can get complicated. I’d always thought that passion was essential to success—that was, until Hicks threw me a curveball on this topic.
When I asked her how she managed not to be crazy consumed and protective of her baby, and how being a new mother affects her work, her answer was: “When BGR! first started we were so emotionally invested, because it was our baby … an extension of Toni and I. However, by years six and seven, that baby became a kid and was able to do more and more on its own.”
This made complete sense to me, and then it clicked: The fine balance in entrepreneurship, like motherhood, is truly being able to meet in the middle of being both emotionally nurturing, yet flexible enough to trust that as your kids get older, they can and will be able to manage more of themselves on their own.
Speaking of managing oneself, when Hicks and I got on the subject of spirituality, she shared that meditation and prayer are very important to her.
I love learning how people end up deciding to pursue entrepreneurship. So when I asked Hicks this favorite question of mine, her answer confirmed my preconceived notion that passion equals success. “When we first started BGR! many people would tell me that what I was doing was my ministry … my calling,” she shared.
So whether you’re a runner, run things like a boss or are a combination of the two, I hope that this real-life superwoman, known as Ashley Hicks, has inspired you to have it all and do it all, all on your own terms.