Updated: Mar 19
By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes
INTENTION AND REDIRECTION SET THIS MILLENNIAL, MULTI-PRENUER ON THE RIGHT PATH AFTER SELF-DOUBT AND A SERIES OF COMPLICATIONS TOOK HER ON THE SCENIC ROUTE TO SUCCESS. DANIELLE D. HUGHES TALKS WOMANHOOD, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND SHARES A FEW TIPS FOR DIGGING INTO DISCIPLINE.
Expectation vs. Reality
You would expect someone named on the 2018 ‘Forbes 30 Under 30’ list to be an innately savvy business person. Naturally, we might assume that the background of one of Detroit’s most recognizable millennial's is one of privilege and stature as we witness her leaving her mark on the world right before our eyes. We could consider her work in youth advocacy, education and empowerment an indication of her own high academic achievement. However, it may come as a huge surprise that the astute social entrepreneur and humanitarian has questioned her capabilities since the 2nd grade.
“ I knew I was capable—but if you don’t believe you can do it, nothing else matters.”
After witnessing her teacher explain to her parents in so many words that she was incompetent, Danielle says, “…those words stayed with me up until I graduated college.”
In reality, the youth education advocate barely graduated from Detroit Public Schools herself, finishing her high school career with a below average G.P.A, “ I knew I was capable—but if you don’t believe you can do it, nothing else matters!” Danielle became accustomed to operating in survival mode and instead of creating a plan for her future; she passively reacted to life with no substantial intention.
Thanks to a passionate Detroit Public Schools English teacher, Danielle graduated high school though she wasn’t introduced to her passion until she acquired the only job she hadn’t been fired from. After a series of dead-end jobs and feeling purposeless, Danielle was propelled into entrepreneurship co-founding a nonprofit that launched her career as a youth advocate. She was reluctant to take on such a creative responsibility, but what was supposed to be a one-day conference, led her into her most fulfilling work.
A Beautiful Body
Danielle’s body of work speaks for itself and after a tearful recollection of wins, losses, flat out disasters and what Danielle described as qualifications to be the “poster child for failure”, she concludes that when it comes to achieving success, “losing [people] is essential to your journey.” Just as essential to Danielle’s success journey, are the physical bodies that make up her “village” or as she calls it, her Personal Board of Directors, made up of her Mom, Best friend and a professional mentor that brought her out of her shell with one sentence—“No one respects the meek.”
Commitment & Maturity
For Danielle, simultaneously navigating womanhood and entrepreneurship commanded a level of unapologetic excellence that challenged her self-assurance in a way that few experiences compare. Putting into perspective the major accomplishments she has obtained, Danielle’s confidence is rooted in fearlessness, grace, tenacity, and integrity and has been maintained through her commitment to discipline.
“One misconception people have about discipline is that they can’t do it.”
As an author, Dream Director, and youth advocate Danielle’s level of discipline has sensibly progressed and as an entrepreneur who is actively involved in several projects at once, Danielle has officially reached multi-prenuer status. For Danielle, multi-prenuership requires five characteristics:
1. ATTENTION TO DETAIL!
2. FEARLESSNESS or a willingness to try and/or fail!
3. OPEN MINDEDNESS: Especially when dealing with people and providing services)!
4. FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Keep your books and numbers in order. Hire a financial team!
5. LAY A FOUNDATION that your brand and business can thrive and grow on!
From least likely to succeed to the Forbes list, Danielle is no stranger to the disruption of self doubt, self sabotage and low self esteem, nonetheless, she believes that even the smallest increase of discipline can transform your reality and exceed your expectations. The mindset Danielle had towards commitment has shifted as she matures as a woman and as an entrepreneur.
If you’re ever unsure of where to start, Danielle recommends that you Always Make Your Bed and the rest will fall in line!
Photography: Chris Harris,
Wardrobe Stylist: Ambrea Curry/Chyann Hawk
Hair Stylist: Raven Walton
Make Up Artist: Tiara Powers