We had the good fortune of connecting with Erika McCall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erika, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
My organization helps the community by helping high-achieving youth with limited resources, achieve their dreams. By helping them achieve their dreams, they are prepared to make a huge impact in the world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe my creativity sets me apart from others. A lot of people in the nonprofit space are very corporate with their approach. I seek unconventional ways to make a difference and I make sure I get feedback from the youth we serve to make sure we are helping them in the best way. Most organizations create a program based on what they think is the need. With the Go for Yours Foundation, we create programs based on feedback from the youth we plan to serve.
I am most proud that I chose to pursue a path less traveled. When I made the decision to walk away from my full-time job to pursue my dream, my friends and family thought I was crazy. I even thought it was crazy, but there was something inside me that was curious to know what my life would be like if I stepped out on faith. I was living in my grandmother’s basement in Chicago, with plans to purchase my own home in the near future. In hindsight, I was on a path to live a life other people felt I should be living. I opted for living in granny’s basement a little longer and finished my first book, Go for Yours. Writing my book led to many volunteer opportunities. While volunteering for GEN44, a group of millennials in support of President Obama, I met actor/author Hill Harper and shared with him my love for working with youth. He told me about his foundation, Manifest Your Destiny, and invited me to volunteer as a mentor. After volunteering two summers in a row, I was offered a job with the foundation, eventually becoming the Executive Director.
This journey has been far from easy and I still have my share of challenges. I look at each obstacle as a reason to learn and grow. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way is to trust the process. Everything you pursue will come with its share of challenges. Obstacles aren’t a reason to give up. If you are truly dedicated to something, you have to accept everything that comes along with it. The good, bad, and the ugly. In the end, it makes for a better story.
I want the world to know that my brand is a reflection of who I am. I can’t encourage others to go for theirs if I don’t go for mine!!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
That’s easy. My best friend will be visiting soon. The first place we will go is to my favorite taco stand in North Hollywood. I will also make sure she goes on a couple of hikes with me. I’m a very chill person and I love connecting people. I will make sure she meets my closest LA friends and of course, we will hit up the beach and some Malibu hangouts.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to everyone who believed in me and the dream God put in my heart. It hasn’t been an easy journey but there has always been someone to encourage me along the way. There were times when I felt like giving up, and someone would call or text letting me know how my journey is an inspiration to them. I also want to dedicate this shoutout to all of the students in the Go for Yours Foundation.