Grow Your Value finalist Arica Harris is a mom, wife, mentor and experienced consultant with a big fitness goal. It’s a mission that extends beyond simply logging time in the gym after work or running a 5K: she wants to help her community get healthy. Arica hopes to open a spinning studio where the combination of energy, music and sweat will not only improve the physical fitness of her community, but its spirit too. Through exercise, she wants to reach teenagers and young adults who she considers essential to a vibrant future for St. Louis and its suburbs.
If you could go back in time and give yourself as a 20-something one piece of advice, what would it be?
Worry less, take more risks, be more confident.
What do you think is the most important issue facing young women today?
Too few women in leadership positions. We need young women to take on as many opportunities as they can to lead the organizations, community-based initiatives or whatever they are involved in. We need young women to practice leadership skills early, often and in safe environments where failure is but an awesome learning tool. This will help build their character and competencies so that they can be the next group of leaders.
Who is your role model and why?
My role model is my mother, Fredricka Johnson – a retired school principal. She is a leader who is confident, smart, kind, giving and extremely elegant. She demonstrated what a successful career mom and wife looks like.
How has being a mother shaped your career?
Becoming a mom increased my compassion. It gave me a different perspective about what is really important about this life. You never love anything or anyone so deeply as your children.
Your goal is to positively impact young people by opening your own spinning studio. What about health and wellness do you hope to pass on to teens?
The part I hope to pass on is a spirit of passion to love our whole selves enough to exercise and eat right so that we can have more energy, less disease and live longer. I want young people to live their fullest lives and doing so includes fueling your body and taking care of it.
Why would you encourage other women to enter the Grow Your Value bonus competition?
I’d strongly encourage women who are passionate about their dreams to enter the competition because it has been a phenomenal experience. Reading Mika’s book and completing my video were eye-opening and confidence-building experiences. I’ve always been very career-focused and being selected as a finalist gave me the opportunity to visit the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute. Attending the classes at the Human Performance Institute gave me time to reflect, refocus and re-energize myself in a way that I would not have, had I not submitted my video. Do it. Even if you don’t get selected, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
What is the single most important thing you hope to gain from the Know Your Value movement?
Because of my visit to the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute and the time that I’ve spent with my coach and with the other finalists, I’ve already gained more than I could have hoped for. The experience was amazing. I can effectively communicate my value and am not afraid to do so.
You can catch Arica and the other Grow Your Value finalists compete for $10,000 on September 25 at msnbc.com/knowyourvalue where we’ll be livestreaming the event. And if you want to attend in person, you can still snag tickets.