Posted Asha Ellison on 7/12/2018 |Remarkable! People
If the age-old adage that attitude reflects leadership is true, then it’s no wonder that Black Girls RUN! is thriving! After all, the women-only running organization, dedicated to encouraging and providing resources to new and veteran runners, is led by the dynamic and talented Jay Ell Alexander. As the CEO and Owner of BGR!, she is driven, community-focused and committed to empowering all women (especially African-American women – who experience higher rates of obesity) to live healthier lives.
In addition to relaunching a national alliance with BGR! in May 2018, Girls on the Run had the chance to catch up with Jay Ell, public relations powerhouse and lover of life without limits, to discuss her commitment to mentally, physically and spiritually changing lives for the better!
Jay Ell Alexander, CEO and Owner of Black Girls RUN!
Girls on the Run envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams! How did you start to realize your own limitless potential and pursue the path to where you are today?
This is a powerful question that I continue to answer and define in my own life. I realized my limitless potential when I started living without limits. I had to realize where I was in the present moment, accept it and then make the best out of it. I also had to find the success in failure and the feeling of being okay with failing. Persistence and dedication are two words that I live by daily. Faith and family are also two things in my life that I could never express how much they mean to me and continue to shape, influence, support and impact my life.
How did you come to be the CEO and Owner of BGR!? How do you leverage your passion and strengths in your work with BGR!?
I really do not know to be honest! If you had asked me my life plans for this year six months ago, this was not my plan at all. It was all ordained by God!
I started working as a volunteer with BGR! in 2012 - I met the BGR! cofounders through a mutual colleague. I just graduated from grad school and was working my first public relations job and was looking for more experience. After talking with the cofounders, they asked me to come to NYC to work a media event. I slept on their couch (head to toe), and the rest was history! They approached me at the end of 2017 to purchase the company. I originally declined, but after some family talks, meditation, prayer, my love for Black Girls RUN! and the relationships I have built with our members is what led me to make the decision to acquire the company. I lean on my passion for the organization every day to motivate me to continue the work of this organization. We are changing lives physically, mentally and spiritually and I do not take that lightly. I also leverage my strengths by recognizing my weaknesses to grow my team and know that I cannot do this work by myself!
Why is working with Girls on the Run important to your mission?
Girls on the Run embodies the foundation of our vision - to be active, healthy and make fitness and wellness a lifestyle! Just like Black Girls RUN!, Girls on the Run also understands the importance of community and how teamwork and our relationships are how we can make our world stronger together. Girls on the Run instills these lessons and activities early on in a young girl's life and that's why working with Girls on the Run is important to the work we do - it takes a village to raise a family and a community!
BGR! and Girls on the Run relaunched a national alliance in May 2018
What excites you most about our national alliance?
I am so excited about the opportunity to spread the message about the Girls on the Run and the Black Girls RUN! collaboration. Whether it’s through recruiting more coaches and volunteers or bringing more diversity to the running space, I think it is our duty to help elevate our future generations. Black Girls RUN! will do everything we can to empower Girls on the Run participants to reach their own limitless potential!
What insight or advice would you offer a young girl today? What would you say now to your 8-year-old self?
To be honest, do not be in a rush to grow up! Enjoy your childhood! Have fun, make good grades, listen to your parents, love your family, be good to people and always try to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday! And, above anything else, keep dreaming and setting goals - you can absolutely achieve anything!