In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to continue to highlight modern entrepreneurs who are making changes in their communities as well as the small business world. Meet Lisa Cunningham, a woman with the gift of vision execution.
Q: What/who inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
A: I never actually thought I would become an entrepreneur. I come from a family which includes scientists, doctors, nurses, professors etc. But it happened by default. My parents always encouraged me to find my purpose and go from there. In college I discovered a love for film and was fortunate to find internships and production assistant work while still in school. But I also had a love for marketing and landed several jobs in that capacity over the years. But the “ah ha” moment occurred when I realized that I wanted to take my unique talents as a producer and director in the film arena and combine it with my knowledge of marketing. That was when I found the “sweet spot” and it necessitated I find freelance avenues to combine these two loves of mine. And let’s just say… then an entrepreneur was truly born.
Q: What drove you to focus on the film industry?
A: My hometown Atlanta inspired me. During one summer home from the University of Georgia I had a job at an Athletic Club and through networking one day I met an Art Director. I told him I had an interest in film and he invited me out to a music video set. Now these were the glory days of music videos and as soon as I stepped on set I was hooked. Subsequently, I was there for so many signature iconic Atlanta videos like TLC’s Baby Baby Baby and What About Your Friends. And I was even there when Xscape was “Just Kickin It”. These were fun times and the pulse in the city was electric. During that time, I knew I had found my second home.
Q: How have your past experiences influenced you?
A: Losing my Dad is one of my past experiences that to helped me become the person I am today. In 2006, I was caught in the whirlwind of the more negative side of the entertainment industry. I was unhealthy in every aspect of my life… mind, body and soul. But his death made me want to live up to the greatness of my family name. It made me want to carry on his legacy and make a bigger contribution to society. It is sad that it took that event for me to make some serious changes in my life. But now, I carry him in my heart everyday and never lose sight of my purpose for being here.
Q: Fall or Summer?
Q: What are your most influential habits and why?
A: At the end of 2016 I decided to make a real change in my life. I had relapsed from a health standpoint and was back to my old ways of eating processed foods and fast foods on a regular basis. Well in 3 months I restructured everything again, I began eating clean, about 80% vegan and truly I have never felt better. My mind is clearer and my steps are lighter. Oh and while I was at it, I happened to lose almost 40 pounds to date. And I will tell anyone who will listen… that food is not just calories, it is information, it talks to your DNA and tells it what to do. It can often be the cause and the cure for disease and this is why I am grateful that I am back on track.
Q: How do you set goals and manage time?
A: I try to make sure that I check off a daily and weekly goals list. However, I have learned to not to lead with guilt if something does not get done. We carry too much guilt in our daily life’s and it is totally counterproductive. And as far as managing my time goes I have a million reminders that go off on my phone LOL.
Q: If you were not in your current position, where and who would you be?
A: I would be working full time for one of my favorite charities like Each One Reach One or ReimagineATL
Q: What is the biggest mistake you see female entrepreneurs make?
A: Women must continue to join forces with one another instead of being jealous of each other. As my buddy Jotina Buck says, “The old model is competition the new model is collaboration. Living in Atlanta you see a lot of female entrepreneurs who understand this mantra and they are living out a Girl Power movement that keeps everyone winning!
Q: Can you describe your innovative thinking process?
A: I get inspired mostly at nights. I have visions that start off with a simple idea but I run with it. The key is not to suppress. Go far with your brainstorming you can always pull back later.
Q: Breakfast or Lunch?
A: Breakfast… Start strong!!
Q: How do you meet and connect with people?
A: I must say engagement was on my list of intentions for this year. I think in my age bracket we tend to stick with the people we know and have know for years. However, the millennials are just the opposite. They engage with new people on a regular basis. I believe having fresh engagements personally and professionally are food for the soul, so I have been expanding my network a bit more these days. Just last week I had dinner with 2 actresses that were introduced to me through social media and we had an awesome evening.
Q: What books, influential women, experiences shaped your thinking?
A: Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Oprah and her Own Network, Super Soul Sunday always has profound effect on me. But, in my personal life the woman that shaped my thinking the most was my sister Andrea. Although she passed away years ago, what she instilled in me will last a lifetime. She taught me to value all life and not judge people for their circumstances. She taught me that the single greatest thing you can do in life is to give to someone who has nothing to give you back. With regards to books… the single book that impacted me the most was “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz
Q: What is your purpose?
A: I am fortunate to say that I truly walk in my purpose now. To put it quite simply… My purpose is to give people “Ah Ha” moments. Most of us know that phrase was coined by Oprah to represent situations in life where the “light bulb” in your head goes off and you have some sort of breakthrough. I achieve this frequently with my clients who may be stuck with how to take their businesses to the next level. And currently I’m most excited about producing film content that will engage audiences and create conversations that will profoundly affect people’s lives.
Who inspires you?
Do you inspire others? If so, how are you making difference?