Founder and President of Ingenuity Enterprises, Inc., twenty year entrepreneur veteran, Cheryl Hargrove Howard of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is committed to being a part of the solution through the creation of Flip the Script: Vax A Nation. Flip the Script: Vax A Nation is a documentary on a mission to save our nation from dying of COVID-19, with an integral component being the virtual candid roundtable holding very necessary conversations between healthcare professionals and the communities they serve. Flip the Script: Vax A Nation will not only address the general lack of trust in medicine, but also acknowledge that history specifically presents reasons for skepticism towards medicine and hesitancy regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in communities of color.
Tell us a little about your educational background?
I am a proud Rattler from Florida A&M University’s School of Business & Industry. I originally thought I was preparing to work in corporate America however, I realized that I could utilize the knowledge and experience gained from SBI towards creating my own business. And that I did.
Who has influenced you the most professionally?
I have a number of professional influences however at the top of my list would be my parents. They were small business owners and I believed that what was in them to make their businesses successful was also in me.
How did you get your start in the Arts as an actress and producer?
My brother was stopped on the street by an agent and asked if he would be interested in doing commercials. He told the agent he wasn’t interested but said, “You should meet my baby sister!” I was two (2) at the time. I booked several commercials throughout the years and it felt like a part of me. It wasn’t until college that I decided to pursue a career in television and film. Several years ago, I thought about producing as well, but made it into this insurmountable obstacle. I have several folders of ideas that I thought would make for a great story however, I couldn’t digest the magnitude of producing them in my head. Fortunately, someone else saw something in me and asked if I would co produce a short film. Saying yes helped me stretchbeyond my comfort zone. Our project had meaning for me. It targeted social issues, in this case, bullying. Now, as a result, I find it easier to move in the role of producer, even as I am still learning. I find purpose and joy in telling stories that make a social impact.
Share with the readers, how you got your start as an entrepreneur?
I was approached by a colleague in the spirits industry. He said, “I think you would do well with your own business in this market.” He followed up with, “Do you trust me?” I asked, what does that mean? He suggested I start my own business. I didn’t want to take anything from my then employer so I said, “If that’s what this is, I’m not interested.” He replied, “Just trust me.” What he didn’t know was that I was already incorporated as an artist and left options open as a small business to pursue other opportunities. In a week I created a logo and letterhead and called him up and said, “I’m ready!” What I didn’t know was that he took a position with another company and I became the agency covering 5 territories for their grassroots programming.
Name three things that you think were most valuable practices to continue to grow your business over the last twenty years?
Being realistic & honest with my clients and team. Staying open to learning new things and being receptive to input from the team and trusted counselc. Meeting people where they are.
What are you most passionate about?
Hopefully more than one answer will suffice here. I am most passionate about my family. My husband, my parents, my extended family and friends. I am filled with joy when surrounded by the people I love. I receive (and hopefully share) so much from my loved ones – time, inspiration, counsel, joy and most importantly love. They are a huge part of who I am today and will grow into tomorrow. I am passionate about telling stories that uplift, inspire and inform, both as an actor and producer. I am passionate about making an impact in my work through Ingenuity. Continuing to build an agency that effectively promotes brands for our clients and brings the best of the best brand ambassadors in support of that effort.
How has the current world pandemic changed your life?
For me it has forced me to expand my way of maneuvering with the mandatory shift in the way we “life.” I have also found it necessary to work in a way that makes a positive difference, one baby step at a time.
What is Flip The Script: Vax A Nation?
Flip the Script: Vax A Nation is a documentary on a mission to save our nation from dying of COVID-19, with an integral component being virtual candid roundtables holding very necessary conversations between healthcare professionals and the communities they serve.
Flip the Script: Vax A Nation not only addresses the general lack of trust in medicine but also acknowledges that history specifically presents reasons for skepticism towards medicine and hesitancy regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in communities of color. We are changing the approach, using the R.E.V. Method. We share with RESPECT, EMPATHY AND VALIDATION. We firmly believe that through truth and transparency we empower our communities to make more informed decisions about the COVID-19 vaccine and change the viewpoint from fear to confidence that the vaccine is indeed lifesaving.
What have you done to support the community in such uncertain times?
I hope the community feels supported through Flip The Script. My hope is that the community receives the information in the spirit it was intended. It’s based in love and the hope that lives are saved from COVID-19.
With your level of experience, what advice would you give other women interested in entrepreneurship?
I would say trust in your ability to make it happen. Develop a plan, seek wise counsel, roll up your sleeves and do the work. Trust that whatever you can dream is yours for the making.
What do you do to protect your peace?
Meditation, yoga and taking in nature – the sound of the birds, the sway of the trees, the sun maneuveringit’s way in and out of my window. And I don’t sleep on a good foot rub opportunity.
Knowing that you love to travel, what has been your favorite travel destination?
South Africa because of its rich history, culture, music, sights and attractions.
What does Health and Wellness mean to you?
Abundance in love, joy and physical existence.
How can readers connect with you in business?