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Staff Spotlight: Meet Ana Rector

Ana Rector is the Area Director for Youth Entrepreneurs East Region. “I never would’ve made it anywhere if it weren’t for opportunities like Youth Entrepreneurs; similar programs when I was a kid that provided exposure and access. I’ve always said that if I ever had the opportunity to give back, I would. So now I do that through my day to day work.” Meet Ana. 

Before YE: Ana relocated to Atlanta from her hometown of Kansas City to attend Clark Atlanta University, where she studied art and art history. Upon graduation she pursued a museum career, completing a post graduate fellowship in Art & Collections at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. This experience led to Ana attending graduate school for arts administration. During her studies, she joined the Museum of Design Atlanta full-time. From there she ventured further into the nonprofit world working for organizations such as Georgia Public Broadcasting and KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools in fundraising and development.

What brought her to YE: Introduced to YE through a colleague, Ana quickly saw the value of YE’s program for youth who grew up much like she did. “I see myself in these young people, especially those here in Metro Atlanta. I come from a similar background in terms of the challenges these kids face. I already knew firsthand the value of a program like this.”

Day in the life: For the Area Director in East Region, no two days are alike. Ana works with community leaders, potential funders, corporations, and partners to continually grow the financial support and programming of YE. “This role is unique in charting the path for what the future of YE will look like,” Ana says.  “I spend my days championing YE.”

What entrepreneurship means to her: “I used to view entrepreneurship in a very linear way: business creation, being your own boss. YE has taught me that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking. Exposure, opportunity and access are integral parts of entrepreneurship when it comes to growing a brick and mortar business, or being an entrepreneurially-minded individual and applying those lessons in the workplace or in life. To embody what it means to be entrepreneurial, you have to be continuously learning and be a continual student of whatever your passion is.”

YE has taught me that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking.

Family: Ana is a wife, a mother and a daughter. She has two daughters — 4 year old twins — and jokes that she’s the parent of three when it comes to her husband, too! She’s very close with her mother, who relocated across country to live nearby in Atlanta. 

Outside of YE: Spending as much of her free time as she can with her family, Ana and her husband love taking their daughters out in the city to festivals, markets, museums, taekwondo and ballet lessons. It’s Ana’s aim to show her children a broad perspective from a young age of all the world has to offer them. “Free time for me equates to family time.”

Her hidden talent:  Maybe not so hidden, but Ana’s a trained painter, although, she hasn’t picked up a paintbrush in a long time. When she does, she enjoys painting still lifes in acrylic, and sometimes works in mixed media. Ana also makes pretty amazing rice krispie treats (twin approved) and is addicted to all things HGTV!

YE equips students to overcome obstacles. Greatest obstacle she’s overcome: “Fear. A lot of the decisions or choices I’ve made in life were influenced by some level of fear. The beauty of what I’ve learned from the culture of YE is how critical it is to overcome fear, and how that is really the basis for entrepreneurship.”

One piece of advice for her high school self: “Don’t be afraid. Take the leap. Try new things.” 

Meet more inspiring YE staff on the blog.