This woman takes her Detroit interns on an all-expense-paid trip to New York every year!
Meet Alexis Wilson. At the age of only 23, this young entrepreneur has not only created amazing opportunities for herself but for other people as well. She is the CEO of Exalt Management, a brand management agency specializing in creative strategy for businesses such as The Lip Bar, TMPL, The Yunion and Jason Wilson. Through Exalt, Alexis runs The Menternship Program. The Menternship is exactly what it sounds like, an internship where interns not only work for Exalt’s clients but are mentored by Alexis and a vast board of other entrepreneurs and professionals. Alexis has tirelessly worked to put this unique program together to help young women of Detroit have an equal opportunity to network and learn how to become professional, successful and powerful. See what Alexis has to say about her journey and her program :
Tell me about yourself and how you started your journey with The Menternship?
“The Menternship started as an idea in my head to have an internship program. Once I started writing out what I wanted it to be like, I realized that half of my list focused on brand management, while the other half of my list honed in on personal development. That’s when I realized I wanted to combine mentoring with an internship— hence the name ‘Menternship.'”
Alexis says that giving back is one of the most important values that she has when it comes to running both of her businesses. She believes in creating opportunities for others whether you have a million-dollar company or not.
“I feel like it’s getting played out to not actually care about your customers and the community you serve.”
What do you feel are some of your set backs being a young black female entrepreneur?
“The setbacks are just being talked down on and literally being told that you can’t do things. It’s just always that feeling of having to constantly think, ‘I wonder if they’re going to take me serious.’ As a woman, you sometimes have to wonder, ‘Are they trying to go discuss business or are they trying to take me out for a dinner date?’ and you almost never have to worry about that when you’re a man.”
Alexis also thinks that sometimes people tend to focus on the negative sides of being black.
“I just try to stay positive and above the rhetoric that because I am black, I cannot. I like to look at it as because I am black, I can.”
[Photo: Ahliyah Kim]
What are some of your inspirations?
“My peers that are entrepreneurs, people that are young, eating and driven. My mentors and also my parents and aunts that are entrepreneurs inspire me as well.”
Alexis grew up with strong family values and in a family full of driven people. Her parents run “The Yunion,” a successful non-profit organization for children in Detroit. Her aunts also run non-profits and have their own businesses as well. And as a University of Michigan grad, she was able to network with many young, talented entrepreneurs like herself.
She has a strong belief that people really do need mentors in their lives no matter what they’re trying to do.
“Get a mentor immediately, as soon as possible, Pronto! Because you can’t do anything alone and you don’t know everything. There is always someone more wise so you have to be more open to advice. You need someone to be able to see your hard-work and connect you to others.”
“I’m a woman. I see the discrepancy with women in business and I want to focus on where I see a need.”
Tell me about The Menternship, how it works and the layout of the program.
“The Menternship is an eight-week program that is created to teach female college undergrads about business and brand management while also helping them distinguish and establish themselves as women of excellence through mentoring.”
Alexis wanted to provide an opportunity in an area where she saw opportunities were lacking for young women. Therefore, only women who are recent high school grads or pursuing an undergrad degree are encouraged to apply. There are no GPA requirements. The application is solely talent and aspiration based.
The Menternship will allow menterns hands on experience in business and brand management while working with Exalt’s clientele. In efforts to expose the menterns to the brilliant, booming businesses in Detroit, The Menternship has added Detroit Impact Leaders to the program this year from companies such as Detroit vs Everybody, Lululemon, Jabs Gym, Femology, and more to work with the menterns. Seven out of the eight weeks of the program will feature workshops, learning about these companies, their start-up, and the people who run them.
On the eighth week, The lucky Menterns will also be provided with an all-expense-paid 3-day trip to New York where they will meet more executives, explore the city and learn even more while also being challenged to implement what they’ve learned in the program into real life situations.
“Our impact leaders in NYC will be Nike, Ralph Lauren, Essence, BET, Viacom, VaynerMedia, and HelloBeautiful this year. The Menterns will be able to get a behind the scenes insight on how these businesses started, tour the facilities, interview and present to executives, and participate in both simulations and real-life challenges created by the companies.”
What is your goal for The Menternship?
“The goal is to create a network of powerful women, who not only dominate externally in the business world but internally from their core. I want them to value character, integrity and hard-work and to function like that. The Menternship marries personal and professional development to produce leaders with a heart to serve. If I can do that, I’ve achieved my goal.”
If you or anyone you know wants to apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity, Please visit www.thementernship.com
Application deadline is June 25, 2018 at 11:59 PM
Featured Image by Cyrus Tetteh