Teaching women how to feed a village: Norfolk business leader boosts minority entrepreneurs

Cecilia Nysing

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY — They say it’s lonely at the top, that’s why millionaire businesswoman Dr. Angela Reddix is shepherding Gina Stukes, who just won $10,000 as the top contestant in the annual Reddix Rules Fund contest.

Reddix, a native of Norfolk, has these words of wisdom: “Give a woman a fish and feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish and she eats for a lifetime. But teach a woman to create a fish farm and she feeds that village.”

Restoring the village is what Reddix hopes to accomplish by offering intense training to minority entrepreneurs who have passion but may not have the business and organizational skills that are required when operating a successful business.

In April, 10 On Your Side first first told you about 10 women-owned businesses that were vying for the top prize in a 10-week-long program.

We took you inside Peoples Pharmacy on historic Church Street, which is on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. We also took you on a tour of Plaza Bakery — known for its petit fours — as the Virginia Beach business is adding some sweetness during these pandemic times.

In the end, in a Shark Tank-type presentation, the top prize went to Stukes, whose business was inspired by a humiliating incident that was covered by 10 On Your Side. In September of 2016, a Landstown Middle School teacher was arrested after writing the word “focus” on Stukes’s son’s forehead during an Algebra class. He has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Stukes says other students held her son down while the teacher used a dry-erasable mark to write the word on her son’s head. The criminal incident traumatized the entire family for years.

“That part was the most damaging, for us to know that we had come so far and to have him branded with his disability on his forehead was the one thing we had prided ourselves in: establishing confidence,” said Stukes.

For a while, her son’s confidence was shattered, but it became the impetus for Crescendo Muzic Group, a program that offers musical experiences and music lessons for a population that is considered vulnerable.

“So now my business is inclusion-focused so we can bring light to a very dark [place], so we can help others [and ensure they] never have to face something like [branding] by the hands of someone they trust,” said Stukes.

Stukes holds a master’s degree in music education and has employed three expert advisors and three teachers. She is poised to land a contract with a major organization that serves more than 2,000 people with various needs. Stukes is optimistic the size of her staff will double in one year. For additional information on Crescendo Muzic Group, contact Stukes at [email protected].

Reddix is now in search of the next group of potential millionaires. She will launch the 2022 contest in December.

“Our top queen who won the $10,000, she is an example of things are gonna come your way and we have to take that [adversity] and propel ourselves to greatness,” said Reddix.

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