Stephanie Jester may be just as busy as her Grammy Award-winning rapper and philanthropist son Future. She runs multiple businesses and nonprofits, which include a real estate company for the last 10 years. She is also co-founder of her son’s The FreeWishes Foundation. Her entrepreneurship endeavors and business prowess earned her the 2019 Good Samaritan Pink Award as well as being honored at the Economic Empowerment Initiative.
In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Jester says her faith is at the center of all she does when it comes to managing her businesses, engaging in philanthropist efforts, or mentoring women.
Black Enterprise: What gets you up in the morning to carry out your duties as an entrepreneur?
Jester: My inner drive. I want to see more, serve more, and be a better me. I get up in the morning because I want to remove the generational curse of deficiency in the lives of my family and friends. According to scripture, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.”
BE: How has your son’s success influenced your business dealings?
Future is an established recording executive and businessman. His successful career has provided an opportunity for me to reach beyond real estate to a diverse audience, allowing me to reach millions of people and opening many doors far beyond my imagination. The FreeWishes Foundation, where I am the co-founder, and EmpowHER, where I am the CEO, are examples of this opportunity. Through the foundation, I am involved in nurturing lives and serving the community through various activations. The foundation’s mission is to deliver a message of hope, perseverance, and resilience to our community by lending support and making dreams a reality for youth and seniors.
BE: How does your passion and faith help lead you to the decisions you make as an executive?
Before I make an important decision, I dedicate time to pray and meditate. Quiet time or prayer time is required for all major deals and negotiations. Oftentimes, passion and faith do not align, so I have the tendency to lean more toward faith because it activates my spirit. Oftentimes, passion will persuade you to make a decision based on your emotions. Thus far, faith has never failed me.
BE: You have a hand in many business decisions for the companies you are involved with. Which position is the most challenging and which one is the easiest to do in terms of making things run smoothly?
InTouch Property, my real estate, and property management company run efficiently, like a well- oiled machine, because it has been established for over a decade. The most challenging business is Freebandz Touring, because as a woman and a minority, in a male-dominant industry… there have been plenty of obstacles. It is important to solidify your position and stay committed.
BE: Are there any future projects in the works that you’d like to talk about?
EmpowHer (although it’s not a new endeavor) it’s my primary initiative for 2020. It evolved from my innate ability to truly elevate, connect, and help women become their best selves emotionally, mentally and physically. Oftentimes, as women, we are pulled in many different directions, being wives, mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and successful businesswomen, that we neglect to take time to nurture our own well being. I wanted to create a space and outlet that significantly supported women in ways that made an impact on their overall self-development. It is important to thrive from within to live a healthy and balanced life. Creating this strong foundation and balance for women… is the goal of EmpowHer. This is my passion and I pray that it becomes an enormous platform for women wanting to live their best lives.
BE: What advice or suggestions would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
First, you have to believe in yourself and be passionate about your endeavor. You have to understand that every great business involves sacrifice and be prepared to lose before you win. Next, understand that sometimes it will be more work than play. If you continue on the path and hold fast to faith and hope, your rewards will be plentiful. Sometimes, you will not see the return on your investment right away, but you have to understand when things look bleak, you must be disciplined, consistent, and self-motivated. The return on your investment will come.
BE: If there is anything you could do over again when it comes to any business dealings, what would you change and why?
There is absolutely nothing I would change. I appreciate all the life lessons, late nights, quiet and prayer times, curveballs and everything else involved in building my business empire… a LEGACY for my family.