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Daily Inspiration: Meet Ar’Jillian Gilmer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ar’Jillian Gilmer.

Hi Ar’Jillian, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I am from Camden, AR and a graduate of Wynne High School – once a Jacket, always a Jacket! I graduated from the University of Arkansas – Monticello with a Bachelor’s in Education Studies and from Arkansas Tech University with a Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership. It has been my pleasure and privilege to successfully serve two of the three major school districts in Central Arkansas. I get to serve as an Ambassador for the Little Rock Regional Chamber. Recently, I was accepted into The Venture Center’s inaugural Woman Achieve entrepreneurship mentoring cohort where I successfully completed the program with my mentor, Rep. Joy Springer, and won 3rd place (landing the business a seed of $5,000). I am married to an amazing entrepreneur and Little Rock Firefighter, Charles Gilmer, Jr. We have four children: Channon (20), Aniah (14), Aeryn (11), Charles, III (10). The oldest, Channon, is my rose that grew from the concrete because I had him as a teen, and we have worked tirelessly to break statistical barriers together. Prior to teaching and GLS, most of work my experience was in Banking and Property Management. We serve our community of faith at Abundant Love Ministry in Maumelle. I am a newly published author of an in-depth devotional: Message in the Memory. Here, I recount memories of challenges I have faced and connect them with lessons I learned later in life through faith. My faith is really the catalyst for the work I do personally and with GLS because to me, helping a person grow academically or in upward mobility is all about building and growing with that person God created.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road to my current level of success has not been easy. For starters, I was a teen mom so I began college straight out of high school with a four-year-old. Finishing my undergraduate year was a collaborative effort. Although I took the scenic route, I was blessed to marry a great man who encouraged my educational pursuits and had a supportive family. After becoming a licensed teacher and working in education for six years, I founded Gilmer’s Learning Solutions, LLC but struggled to give the business the attention it needed while tied to a classroom for the majority of the workday. I missed many opportunities to grow my business through networking and community engagement. After turning away clients due to lack of capacity as a one-woman show, I hired an incredible independent contractor, Kearra Cromwell, who helped me to grow GLS through satisfactory service to our clients.

Against the advice of some but because of instruction from God, I quit my traditional job as an educator and launched myself into being a full-time “edupreneur” after spending eight years in public education. Though I gained had the time to grow the business, I struggled with selling education. I joke with my husband and say that people will pay for food (we own two food businesses), but they don’t want to pay for education even when it is necessary. Small businesses that are fully self-funded don’t usually have a huge advertising/marketing budget. My business was no different. It has taken lots of creativity and risk-taking to choose the right mediums for marketing to get the best bang for my buck and a small return on the investment. Because of personal convictions about financial freedom, I have not exhausted any loans to fund business operations, which means that I have to work hard and depend a lot on word of mouth to attract new clients and slowly expand. This is challenging, but I feel it is well worth the effort.

Additionally, a major challenge I have faced as the founder of GLS is experiencing a ruptured brain aneurysm in January 2023. I spent 18 days in ICU, during which time I had to heavily rely on my husband, Charles (who is my Registered Agent) and my team of independent contractors to keep the business going. This experience has had a ripple effect because I have not been able to be present in the communities we serve or take advantage of many networking opportunities due to the residual effects of the ruptured aneurysm and related surgeries I have had in the months following the initial incident. Sometimes it feels like I am wearing my team thin because I have to rely so heavily upon them, but they keep working, and for that, I am grateful!

Overall, obstacles related to funding, time, and illness have had an impact on the success of Gilmer’s Learning Solutions, but they have not stopped our operation.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am an educator licensed in Arkansas. Educating students and young professionals is a passion of mine. I have taught students from 4th grade up to 9th grade. My licensure is middle-level English Language Arts and Social Studies. Embarking on my career in education was an amazing experience that led me to what I really am passionate about as an educator.

I began this career as an elementary Instructional Assistant. After I obtained licensure to teach, I applied for a middle school English teacher position, but the principal requested that I teach a Reading based on my nearly perfect test score. I almost declined and applied at a different school, but after prayer and consulting with my husband, I accepted her request. That was the best decision I could have ever made, and I would not have independently decided to teach a Reading class geared at intervention for struggling readers.

An assignment that I was unaware would be so beneficial gave me the opportunity to work closely with students who had the capacity to learn and be successful but who needed personalized learning on a regular basis. It was an assignment that uncovered a passion that I did not know lied within me. Because I was able to witness multidisciplinary growth in students who applied themselves and wanted more out of the teaching and learning process, I was prepared to assist private clients when approached to provide personalized academic support outside of the school building. With the recommendation of other teachers, parents began to reach out to me (especially when the pandemic began) to assist their children with learning. Those requests turned into a business, and as more requests came (after I finally stopped turning potential clients away) I added Independent Contractors to the team so that Gilmer’s Learning Solutions could effectively grow with clients.

We have become known for assisting clients, especially K-12 students, in increasing their skill proficiency. The fact that we are able to work with clients and see growth in a reasonable amount of time and build relationships that are endearing makes us proud. Working with any client is valuable to us, but working with clients with learning disabilities who demonstrate growth is an extraordinary feat in which we take pride. The relationships formed and the personalized learning that helps our clients to be successful in and out of school is what sets us apart from others. Many businesses can provide tutoring, but not many businesses provide a nurturing environment where clients feel welcome, valued, loved, and respected along with receiving top-tier personalized service.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Something surprising that most people who know me or my brand might not know about me is that I am naturally a very introverted person. Because I have a very public-facing business, am an educator, am an Ambassador for the Little Rock Regional Chamber, people often think that I am naturally outgoing. On the contrary, it takes diligence for me to come out of my comfort zone and do the work I do with the public.


  • Services as low as $30/session

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Image Credits
Ebony Blevins

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