Today we’d like to introduce you to Alice Foy.
Alice, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Nothing about my journey has been traditional, to say the least. As most young adults do, I bounced around between admin, retail, and fast food jobs. After graduating, I settled on healthcare and graduated with a few different certifications within the industry. My goal was to become a Nurse Practitioner and to one day own my own practice, but the programs were so competitive, and I never got accepted. I realized right away that it wasn’t necessarily healthcare that I was in love it, it was helping others and owning something of my own.
I started to research how to start a business and eventually started to help women who owned businesses with marketing and branding. I had clients before I had business cards! Unfortunately, the stability of working with small businesses is not always the best, my bills were always late due to late payments. I had to get a job. A friend in business tagging me in a Facebook post seeking an Event Manager is how I got my start in the industry.
I went on to earn my event planning stripes at the historic Parkway Ballroom on the south side of Chicago; overseeing venue sales, catering, staffing, and logistics for more than 200+ events a year. During my time at Parkway Ballroom, I had the opportunity to lead projects for Spike Lee, Verizon Wireless and Powerhouse Productions. I wanted to learn everything that I could about the industry and had an amazing opportunity to work with a great team of Chefs, Producers and support staff.
In 2015, I launched my own company, Jane Ella Productions Inc. and later launched a consumer-focused vertical called Jane Ella & Co., as a way to continue revolutionizing the consumer experience by creating spaces for women, by women, featuring women-led brands. With events in Chicago and Los Angeles, the platform creates highly tailored spaces for women of color to indulge in Career, Wellness, Community-centered brand activations. In 2016, I relocated to Los Angeles with two suitcases, $1000 in my account and a laptop.
Within ten days I was signed onto a multi-city tour called Schools Not Prisons, produced by the award-winning social impact agency, Revolve Impact. Common, Miguel and Aloe Blacc were amongst the musicians that headlined the tour in communities affected by mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. In just thirteen weeks, the tour successfully hosted twelve art and music festivals in twelve cities.
Since then, I have been blessed to work on groundbreaking initiatives such as embRACE LA, founded by Council President Herb Wesson and Nike LBJ16 x Harlem Fashion Row collaboration celebrating strong influential women in Los Angeles.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been FULL of challenges. Every level has its own challenges, but you really have to expect that. When it comes to my company, funding and scaling have been the biggest challenges. I have shifted my mind over the years to not look at obstacles in a negative way, but more as an opportunity to learn.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Jane Ella Productions Inc. is an event producing agency that helps brands owned by WOC to create signature events for their targeted audience. We craft the concept, messaging, branding, and experience.
Our consumer-focused vertical called Jane Ella & Co., creates spaces for women, by women, featuring women-led brands. With events in Chicago and Los Angeles, the platform creates highly tailored spaces for women of color to indulge in Career, Wellness, Community-centered brand activations.
We recently introduced The World Is Her Office podcast – inspired by my own non-traditional journey as an entrepreneur and freelancer. The series features women all around the world who work remotely while traveling.
I am most proud of the relationships I’ve watched flourish between other women as a result of the events that we create. I also love being able to work with other brands owned by WOC, the revenue and exposure are so important for us.
There are now TONS of brunches and events geared towards women’s empowerment. What sets us apart is the constant ability to create fresh concepts, noteworthy details, and authenticity. Everything that we do, we do wholeheartedly or not at all.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was pretty bossy. My nickname was “Missy” – my family says I was an old soul as if I’d been here before. My granny was my best friend! I was most likely the leader amongst friends, and I loved to read. I was always curious and a bit of know- it- all, and not the best listener. As an adult, I can look back and see how some of these traits played a role in being a troubled teen – but living and learning is the only way to truly grow!