Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Williams Rucker.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
MSK started in Chicago, Illinois in 2008 as a response to a young lady who I met at a teacher. She was a great student but needed some help on the social-emotional side. I enlisted the help of my friends and family to serve as mentors for her and she began to tell her friends about the things she was learning and doing and pretty soon, I had a class of 30 girls in our inaugural program class. The company continued to grow and we began to branch out into other schools who also realized that while academically, they were doing the best they could to support the girls but the social=emotional piece was lacking. We stepped into the bridge the gap for schools, counselors and parents and serviced over 3,000 girls there before moving here to Atlanta and reopening in 2016. We started in 1 school in Fayette County and now have schools in South Fulton and Cobb Counties. Our mission is to give girls a safe space to process things as they transition into young womanhood. The world does enough to beat them up and we wanted to be a place to build them up.
Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road to get to where we are now. When we closed down and moved to Chicago, we essentially started the company all over again. No one here knows who we are and of course, schools are leery of letting people from the outside into their schools. We have had to make all new contacts in the community, in schools and reach out to other organizations to form partnerships and raise money. We know there are enough girls in Atlanta to help so we are not giving up and will continue to serve in the community.
What else should we know?
We are one female-focused organization that serves the needs of 2 distinct populations: girls and women. Our overall goal is to improve the lives of girls and women through intentional experiences that educate, motivate and inspire. For our middle and high schoolers, we run an after school or during school mentoring program that focuses on helping young ladies ages 12-18 in underserved areas find their voice, recognize and unleash their true power, raise self-esteem and change communities; one young woman leader at a time. On the women’s side, we create monthly experiences that encourage women to live their best lives through education, inspiration and general health and well being.
I think what sets us apart is our long-standing track record of leaving things better than we found them. When we come into communities, we not only change the lives of the girls in our program but we support local community businesses, encourage civic action and get our girls involved in community affairs and politics and work with families to provide support if needed. We encourage our girls to focus on whatever they are passionate about from college to career to entrepreneurship.
If I had to pick one thing I am proudest of, it is our girls. They work very hard the entire year in doing the “heart work” it takes to change mindsets and behaviors. They are dedicated to the work and we love to see them grow and mature.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I feel like Atlanta is a great place for a girls’ mentoring program. It does not come without its challenges of finding out how to get into the circles of people you need to meet and network with to help your business grow. If you are determined enough and willing enough to get out there and meet new people in Atlanta and talk to people, it can be a great place for this type of business. I do wish there were more places to go find out information on happenings in the city though.
- $500 Guest speaking
- $500-$1,500 workshops
- Contact us for program pricing
- Website: www.themskexperience.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mskexperience/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/THEMSKEXPERIENCE/
- Twitter: msk_experience