Meet Stephanie Ardrey
Meet Power Mom Stephanie Ardrey
TDR: Please give us a brief recap of your career.
Stephanie Ardrey: I am a real estate developer & launched my own firm in 2015; previously directed several multibillion dollar portfolios of commercial real estate development projects. I founded a business accelerator to fund early stage technology companies. I am also an adjunct professor teaching in the graduate and/or undergraduate programs at California State University, Los Angeles, The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and University of California, Los Angeles. I make several guest appearances at alma mater, University of Southern California's Ross program on real estate. Recently, I received a Commendation from Mayor Garcetti, City of Los Angeles for organizing the first Startup Weekend in south Los Angeles aimed at introducing urban youth to technology, new venture creation and funding.
TDR: Please tell us about your children.
SA: Sterling Ardrey - 18 years old is an amazing young man! He has been a talented SAG-AFTRA actor since he was four-years old and has had guest starring and recurring roles on television, film, commercials and voice over projects. He is a freshman at St. John's University and pursuing studies in sports management with the goal of becoming an attorney/sports agent. He has volunteered for many causes, supported Stevie Wonder's House of Toys, Living Advantage Foster Youth and more with love, joy and grace.
TDR: How are you juggling your passion with the responsibilities of parenthood?
SA: Prayer and focus on the vision. We’ve juggled so many life challenges while moving forward and in the end, the passion along with a clear purpose has contributed to how we continue to push forward. As a parent I made a point of always being present with my son and not having my work cause him to be needy. In practice when he was younger, I would pick him up from school and if I was on the phone he knew that once that call ended, which would be less than five minutes, that he would be the full attention until I put him to bed each night. We would discuss his day, or have to race to an audition and discuss the script en route, and then once home we enjoyed a sit down dinner with conversation. We didn't watch a lot of television, so we developed a great relationship built upon trust and communication. Once dinner was completed when he was younger, he would have a bath and get a full body massage and we'd read a book before he went to sleep. I would then return any late business calls or check emails before finally retiring myself.
In the mornings, I would check in with my staff while getting him ready for school. We would walk to school and then I would come home and dress myself and head to my office. This allowed him to drive his toy car to school or skate, etc. as we walked in the morning. Again, our time before the rest of the business demands required my attention.
Before my son left for college, he gave me a talk where he shared how much he feels I deserve love and that he has been loved completely, never harmed in any way and that I have been an amazing mom. He encouraged me that I have so much love to share and he felt that I too deserve to receive love.
TDR: What are some of your struggles and how do you work to overcome them?
SA: My mother passed at 48-years of age just prior to my becoming pregnant with my son. His father was diagnosed with cancer and his medical treatments were ongoing for the first four years of my son's life. All of this while I was in litigation dissolving my then $250M joint venture advertising agency. When I think back it has always been my faith and belief, to keep me motivated and encouraged to overcome. I feel as if God has wanted me to one day share my story and that for those reasons, I had to not just survive, but thrive irrespective of the challenges. I eventually married, which ended in divorce, and suffered the challenges associated with dissolving business interests and experienced financial setbacks as a result of the Great Recession and the dissolution of many of the organizations that I had either contracts with or ongoing projects. Again, it took a lot to be willing to watch everything I had built crash and burn, and still remain loving, positive and optimistic that "this too shall pass". My son has remained a positive spirit, and source of such encouragement. I'm often told by others how much he loves and respects me as not only his mom, but an entrepreneur.
TDR: What are 2 resources you use to help you stay motivated?
SA: My faith in God and that my life has a purpose are the rudders guiding my actions.
I read a lot of books and listen to motivational messages. I am constantly seeking opportunities for new learning and evolution.
TDR: What is your favorite way to pause?
SA: I love sports and am a great football and basketball spectator. So catching a game, curling up with one of my books, taking a trek to the spa or a walk in the park are ways to pause and reflect. My favorite is sitting by the water - so grateful to have an office on the water - as this is a way that I energize my spirit.
TDR: What has been the scariest moment or crossroad in your journey?
SA: When my mom died suddenly I experienced a pain so deep that I didn't know how I would overcome that feeling of loss. She was really my best friend, biggest supporter, and confidante. In my immediate circles, I was considered "weird" for being so driven at an early age and to have built the joint venture at the time with $250M in capitalized billings, eight-offices, 400 employees - in advertising, where diversity did not exist, at 26-years old was a pretty significant accomplishment. It placed me in a very different space from many of my peers, therefore, I trusted all of my thoughts with my mom.
I was so alone when she passed, and being both an only child and not having the immediate loving or emotional support of family members, this crossroad caused me to lean on God and I'm certain it's when he first started really carrying me - think of the poem, "Footprints."
God blessed me with Sterling who was born on the night before the one-year anniversary of my mom's passing. My desire to be the best mom that I could be and to have a clear vision for the type of child I wanted to nurture became the focus of my next career decisions and really the guidepost to what was going to be next.
TDR: What would be your greatest advice to other "Power Moms" wanting to pursue their dreams?
SA: Create a clear vision and take actions daily to execute the plans necessary to accomplish your goals. Remember, you don't eat an elephant in one bite! A clear vision of where you are headed is essential, as when life challenges take you off course, remember like the GPS in your car, it will recalculate, recalculate and still direct you to that destination. I consider my GPS (God's Purpose System) - aimed at getting me to the destination irrespective of the bumps in the road, harsh weather conditions or life challenges.
TDR: What word best describes the legacy you want to leave for your children and why?
SA: It is my goal to leave a wealth legacy for great-great grand kids, built upon the idea that they each are blessed with talents which must be developed and delivered for humanity to advance. I have raised my son to believe that he has a significant gift and is charged with presenting his talents to make the world a better place.
TDR: How can others collaborate and support your mission?
SA: I'm leading an initiative "Women of means doing meaningful things" - aimed at helping women to monetize their mission by embracing their talents, use planned giving strategies, and creating legacy based ventures that can change the course of their family’s lives.
Connect with Stephanie:
LinkedIn: Stephanie Ardrey
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