Greening Youth Foundation Founder & CEO
Angelou is a graduate of Spelman College, Georgia. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida, College of Law. Angelou is a member of the National Center for Civil and Human Right’s Women in Solidarity Society and Atlanta Audubon Society; Advisory Board Member for the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Keeping It Wild, Inc. and Outdoor Afro; and former committee member of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Angelou is also a 2016 Ashoka Fellow. After a brief stint of practicing law, it was through her work as a Legal Specialist for the New Jersey State Agriculture and Development Committee that Angelou embarked upon a career as an environmentalist. Latest accomplishment is a author of the book, Engage, Connect, Protect: engaging diverse young environmental leaders which will be in bookstores in the fall of 2019.
I am a lover of life and culture. Give me ethnic dance, music and food – all kinds, and I am quite a happy camper. I enjoy travelling with my partner of almost 25 years around the globe agitating systems and creating new ones. I get really giddy hearing about my two young adult sons’ life adventures because they will never be too old to be my babies. I probably enjoy wine more than most- especially a good Malbec or Cabernet. In fact, I am researching how to have my own backyard vineyard on our property in Nigeria. Life is so precious. I spend a lot of time loving on my family and close friends because why not!
I got into the business because of the disconnect I saw between land conservation and environmentalism in general and communities of color. Although, as a child and even young adult, I was not exposed to the career option.
There is a strong need for a workforce in the natural resource management field as well as traditional trades. In other words, young adults are critically needed in trades such as welding, electrical, plumbing and painting; however, there is an emerging need for workers in 21st Century green jobs i.e. landscape management with a sustainable focus, green infrastructure, solar and wind technicians and wild land firefighters.
Due to the negative effects of global warming, unfortunately many opportunities are arising to rebuild infrastructure in vulnerable communities across the globe.
My inspiration for Greening Youth Foundation was and still is my children. I was inspired to reach underrepresented youth when I taught an Earth Day lesson to my son, Cole’s kindergarten class. The reception was overwhelming which gave me the desire to reach a bigger audience.
The next chapter for me is a book tour upon release later this year. I have no doubt that exposing more people to the GYF story will open up new doors of opportunity for the business. Also, very excited about the expansion and new program partners in West Africa.
Relationships with different colleges and universities have propelled GYF onto a national platform. Once students became aware of our offerings, they spread the news to their peers. Engaging more students gives us the justification to create more opportunities with new partners- great cycle.
When the government shuts down, our business is directly effected. The most difficult moments I have is when our interns and corps members are not able to get paid- not because of the quality of their work but because government is not functioning. We immediately go into emergency mode to raise funds because these young people do not deserve to go without pay for services rendered.
Our interns love the work that they do for our clients: parks, forests, ngos and outdoor retailers. They often tells us about how much they enjoy the work and that they have shared the experience with family and friends. This mushroom effect is exactly what we are looking for with our programming.
Over the years, I find that the most powerful way of motivating others is through being an example of what you want to teach.
Strong relationships are the underpinning of most successful entrepreneurs and business owners. One of my favorite sayings is: Your network is your net worth!
Listen. Therefore, engage in good conversation.
My family who are my backbone and support system.
My personal goal is to inspire young adults of color in the US and in Africa to dare to do big things in life….make a difference!
My biggest accomplishments to date are my two sons. They are full of love, compassion, empathy and innovation.
The decision to fire a long time employee so that she could grow.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
My grandmother, sister and husband are my favorite people in my world. My parents are my role models as well as Dr. Wangari Maathai.
I absolutely love seeing the world. To date, my favorite place to visit was Durban South Africa.
My fave objects are my yoga mat, bellydancing belt and African cloth. All of these items connect me to my first love which is dance and movement.
Dance and me and my husband’s puppy, Chi-Chi!
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: 10,000 steps
Thought of the Day: So thankful to be healthy
Action of the Day: Be kind
Deed of the Day: Help someone who needs your help
Tip of the Day: Self care is so important
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City? Trees
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant? Avocado toast and The Curry Pot
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Walking doggy
10:00 AM – Walking into office
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal? Hearty salad
7:00 PM – Cooking
11:00 PM – Sleep
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)? A couple of glasses of Cabernet with a big bowl of popcorn is my favorite end to the day
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account? Instagram Account: Angelou Ezeilo
What should everyone try at least once? Snorkeling
Where do you enjoy getting lost? In a good book