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Community Highlights: Meet Arlene Blake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arlene Blake

Hi Arlene, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Yes I am an entrepreneurial event consultant, Sales Representative, Founder and Executive Director of Women On The Rise International, Inc. with over 13 years of experience as an event planner for corporate and special events, and most importantly, a mom to an amazing three (almost four) year old little boy who is my everything. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and made my way to Orlando when I decided to attend the University of Central Florida for undergrad. Upon acceptance into UCF, I applied for 24 scholarships and won 20 of them. Now I often lend my time to educate groups of students on how they too can go to college for free.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Over four years ago I made the decision to create an organization that embraced all women looking to overcome obstacles in their personal and professional life after having lost both of my parents to cancer. It was devastating to me and began to impact me in every area of my life. However, I soon realized the power of a tribe of women coming together all focused on making positive changes within themselves and the community, and Women on the Rise International, Inc was born.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Women on the Rise is a membership-based nonprofit organization that provides educational empowerment events to women within the community as well as provides a platform for networking and volunteering with like-minded women. Just Start It, LLC provides event coaching and event marketing services for individuals seeking to promote their business, brand and/or platform through events.

In the past 24 months, I have been able to: 1. Triple the income of Women on the Rise International, Inc. through development of strategic partnerships and successful implementation of servant leadership principles. 2. Open a second chapter of Women on the Rise in Jacksonville, Florida. 3. Develop a partnership to create women’s empowerment events and community events with FORD Motor Company. 4. Secure partnership with BB&T/Truist Bank to produce the 2nd Educated and Broke Empowerment series to provide women with a college degree who still find themselves living paycheck to paycheck with the tools, knowledge, and strategies to empower them to negotiate their true worth in their careers and businesses through activities and training. 5. Instead of recreating the wheel, developed partnerships with local nonprofits that have mentoring programs where Women on the Rise members can volunteer to do empowerment workshops for their girls. Those current partnerships are with PACE Center for Girls and The Greatest Investment Girls Empowerment Program. 6. Built an engaged online community for Women to engage, connect and inspire one another. 7. Grew membership to 138 members. 8. Been Featured on WESH 2 News for the work of Women on the Rise International to help women with financial literacy and career development. 9. Speaker for the University of Central Florida BFDCPurple Power Seminar 10. Speaker at the Full Sail BOLD Summit 11. Ms/Mrs. Corporate America Organization 2020 Ms. Mompreneur 2nd Place Runner-Up 12. Published in the National Observer 13. Published in the Orlando Business Journal 14. Grew the Women on the Rise Governing Board from 4 Board Members to 12. 15. Featured on the For Love Only Podcast to discuss How to Build and Renew Relationships with other women. 16. recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as a Women Who Means Business, an honor held in high regard in the Central Florida Business Community.

Community Involvement in the past 24 months: 1. Ran two 8-week empowerment programs for the young ladies of PACE Center for Girls Orange County 2. Hosted a workshop for The Greatest Investment Empowerment Program for Girls on How to Go to College for Free twice. 3. Hosted a workshop for teen girls at Girls Talk 101 on how to develop healthy relationships with other girls, teachers, and adults. 4. Hosted a workshop for The Greatest Investment Empowerment Program for Girls on Healthy habits 5. Hosted an entrepreneurship workshop for teens at Microsoft. 6. Community engagement activities for Women on the Rise International 7. Raised funds with community partners to provide nine college scholarships for deserving college students locally. 8. Hosted a 3 part series entitled Play to Win in partnership with the Minority Business Development Agency of Central and North Florida to assist women in certifying their businesses and obtaining government contracts 9. Hosted a two-part series entitled Educated and Broke because I believe that when women are given the tools, knowledge, and strategies to negotiate their true worth in their careers and businesses through activities and training, then women will serve to add stimulate the economy, create generational wealth for their children.

How do you define success?
Success is the ability to help others fulfill their dreams in a manner that allows you to reach levels of self fulfillment and self-actualization.

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