Understanding what it’s like to be a girl, Teen Life Coach, Andrieka J. Austin (aka “Ms. AJ”) has the unique ability to be transparent and to translate with sincerity as a youth/peer professional. What makes her different is that she cares and she shows it. She is admired and respected by youth and adults alike. She knows the way to live a self-empowered life, and helps girls and women accomplish the same.
Journey Girl, LLC helps girls and moms have better relationships and inspires socialprenistas to be the B.O.M.!
1. How did you get started in the industry? How can someone who is interested in your work get started?
I got my start in the industry working with an all-girl nonprofit organization in Atlanta, GA, providing afterschool enrichment programming for middle school-aged girls in low-income communities.
Anyone interested in being a social entrepreneur just has to have a dream and drive (ambition) to get started! It takes lots of effort and heart to make the impossible happen on a daily basis. Start within your community and scale.
2. What’s the future of your industry or job?
The future of the teen life coaching industry looks bright! There has always been a need for workers who can serve with their whole heart and help cater to the needs and best interest of our future generations.
3. What do you look for when you hire an intern or entry-level candidate?
The qualities I look for in my staff and volunteer interns (VIPs) are leadership and initiative abilities, level of professionalism, outgoing personality, character, honesty, integrity, long-term commitment and dedication to the project, and excellent interpersonal communication skills. She (or he) has to resemble me; Journey Girl. Each of these qualities, plus more, is needed to meet the demands of the work we do on a daily basis.
4. What is one thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression?
To make a favorable impression, an intern can take the lead on a project (as long as it benefits the organization) and do things BEFORE they are asked of her. Leadership initiative on a project and suggesting a new or better way to improve on ideas and methods always captures my attention and will look good when explained in their letter of recommendation from me, at the project’s completion.
5. Can you share a positive intern story and an intern horror story? No names needed…
One extremely positive intern story was from an intern I had a few years ago. She was a local college student who had all of her “ducks in a row”. She met deadlines early. Went above and beyond her duties. She showed up to assignments (even when she was sick). She took the lead on GREAT projects (that I had not even asked her to do), and the organization is still benefitting from those today. So, in a sense, she too left a legacy for others to follow. She is now helping to run a growing public relations firm here in Atlanta.
A semi-horror story was from my very first intern. She had very poor work ethic, and it showed. She did not complete assignments. She was not in it for the long haul. This made me have to work harder to do my job (and hers). But, because we had an agreement, I was determined to carry out the terms until the very end. Needless to say, I was relieved when that time came. She went on to attempt to start an organization similar to mine. I have not heard from or of her since. I believe in always seeing an experience for good and a challenge as an opportunity for positive change.
“I influence change and positive impact in the lives and relationships of girls and women worldwide.” -Andrieka J. Austin, Journey Girl, LLC