Women in Business - Aisha Adams of Equity Over Everything and Aisha Adams Media GroupNov 06, 2023 10:05AM ● By Randee Brown
A former school teacher with dreams of becoming a lawyer, Aisha Adams achieved different business successes in an unexpected way.
When Adams expressed her desire to attend law school after several years of teaching, her father told her husband, “she has all the degrees she needs.” Her husband suggested she attend Blue Ridge Community College instead of law school, and while that was not what she wanted to do, she decided to do what he suggested with the intention of transitioning into a law school later.
Adams visited Blue Ridge Community College to talk about her goals, and during the initial conversation, she shared a blog she had been writing about a variety of business and marketing skills. Impressed by what they saw, BRCC staff suggested she start a business to teach these skills to other business owners, so she launched Aisha Adams Media Group to do just that.
“I began working as a contractor for Blue Ridge Community College,” Adams said. “I really found my niche of showing businesses how to market to specific communities and expand their audience. It’s a really powerful way to work, and I began doing the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion in that way. As a teacher in underserved areas, I loved working with Black boys to show them their potential. I also love English and poetry, and would always put together specific words to help lift people up.”
Adams later decided to launch another avenue for her DEI work — Equity Over Everything, a company that performs equity audits, leadership training, and promotes community engagement for businesses. Through this business, she created a program for Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute that teaches businesses how to create inclusive cultures, writing the coursework and teaching some of the classes.
While resisting the feeling of a stigma that “everyone in this town of color is working in DEI,” she had people continuing to call on her and push her toward success.
“It grew like wildfire,” Adams said, “But every time I hit a high level of growth in any avenue of my business, I got sick.”
Around the time Adams won the WomenUP Women Entrepreneur Best in Business Award, three blood clots were found. She was also very sick when she won Fastest Growing Company Under $10 million from the University of Alabama Birmingham Alumni.
“I was working myself til I was sick,” Adams said. “I had great mentors and a great team, and I was able to come out of those times stronger, but learning to balance all that was my big ‘aha’. Balancing womanhood, motherhood, and wifehood with the social urgency of all the things I needed to do was tough.”
This ‘aha’ began Adams’ wellness journey. She lost 75 pounds and relaunched a blog with how that has changed her life, and was surprised at the outpouring of women saying they related to her story.
“Women are seeing the beauty of life and wellness,” Adams said. “I want to help people learn how to balance work and life, and show people the importance of feminine leaders to show up whole and well.”
Adjusting her relationship with herself and focusing on what is important to her, Adams also seeks assistance from personal support networks to help ensure her wellness as well as her success. She visits a chiropractor and a hair stylist, accepts help from her husband and her assistant, and creates time in her daily schedule to work out.
“I need to do all of that to be ready to do all of my work,” Adams said. “Relationships with my clients and partners also support the work that I do. We work together and treat each other well. It’s really a community effort, and it helps to push the whole community forward.”
Understanding that women are often discounted and underfunded in many ways, Adams said one of her goals is to help people create new inner dialogues to foster change. Though change may take time, having someone reach their own ‘aha’ moment can be helpful.
“For me, this is about all of us swimming together,” Adams said. “Creating a network and a community of strong women can help us all to do better. Strong women can get some negative pushback for being aggressive, assertive, and financially-minded, but we all have to stick to our guns.”