Author Michael Davis
It was May 21, 2017. Ruchelle Thomas watched her youngest daughter, Ariel, receive an Associates of Arts in Mass Communications degree from a University of Georgia institute. Unlike her university classmates, Ariel was 17 and still a student at Westlake High School. In August 2019, Ariel earned her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Georgia State University at the age of 19. Ariel is mulling over whether if she will pursue her Master’s degree now and complete at age 21. No matter whether Ariel sets her sights on completing her Master’s degree now or pursuing a career in production for digital media, television, and film, we know that she will be successful.
The saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree applies to this mother and daughter team. Ruchelle’s story began in a small, rural city in Jamaica before she migrated to the U.S. as a teenager. After beginning her professional career in nursing, Ruchelle followed in the footsteps of her siblings—all entrepreneurs—and started a successful home health care business. Next, she launched Boss Chick Incubator, a company that mentors aspiring entrepreneurs. Ruchelle founded and leads Ace Care Management, a health care services company. To bridge the gap for basic health care in her home country of Jamaica, Ruchelle launched a 501c(3) nonprofit, called HELPERS. Ruchelle’s latest ventures are a partnership with her husband, Camar Williams. Together, they have opened three new ventures under the CARU group brand. The three different ventures focus on 1) CARU Investment – capital lending and real estate investment, 2) CARU Systems – providing technology solutions for small and medium enterprises, and 3) CARU Consultancy – entrepreneur consultation from ideation to execution.
We sat down with Atlanta based dynamic mother-daughter duo to gain insight into their success. You can connect with this Mother-Daughter duo: Ruchelle (Ruchelle.thomas@carugroup) or Ariel (email@example.com)
Q – (Ruchelle) How was your mother an influence for raising your children?
My mom is the matriarch of our family and is a very tenacious and God-fearing woman. She would wake us up at 5:30 a.m. for morning worship; needless to say, as kids, we hated it, but Mom ruled and she wouldn’t have it any other way. I instilled the same principles in my girls: love God and stay prayerful every day. Though I didn’t wake them at 5:30 a.m. like my mom, they reaped the benefits of what she did for me.
Q – (Ruchelle) What role does faith play in your life?
Faith is my life. I see no future or success without my faith in God.
Q – (Ruchelle) What advice do you have for mothers raising daughters in 2019?
Raising children in this era is difficult. I would tell mothers raising girls to pray and pray hard. Live by example; our girls live what they see.
Q – (Ariel) What advice do you have for young women?
Some advice I have for young women is to apply yourself. Whatever it is you are doing or want to do, you don’t have to be the best initially to achieve your goals. As long as you work hard and focus, you will reach your goals. I don’t think I’m the smartest cookie in the cookie jar, but I had a goal I wanted to reach and I focused on it. Now I have achieved something no one else in my class can say they have.
Q – (Ariel) What lessons have you learned from your mom?
Some lessons my mom has taught me are how to develop entrepreneurship skills, the importance of being a business owner, and the impact I can have on the world by being an entrepreneur. She has taught me these things through her actions and through the way she lives her life.
Q – (Ariel) What did you dream about when you were a little girl?
Not many people know this, but from the time I was about 4, I dreamed of being a model and be in a Disney Channel show. I saw these modeling pictures of my mom when she was younger in our house one day, and she looked stunning. She told me that when she was a teenager, her dream was to come to the states and be a model. I already loved dressing up and taking pictures, so it just seemed right to want to do that too. By the time I got to middle school, I had been told many times that it wasn’t exactly a realistic career and I should choose something to go to college for, like a doctor or lawyer, and school kind of overshadowed that dream. Luckily, I found something else I was good at and loved, but I never lost my love and passion for acting and modeling. Thankfully I picked a career that leaves so much space for different career opportunities, and I plan to pursue both acting and modeling in the future.
Q – (Ariel) What inspires you?
My mom inspires me. Growing up, I watched her work hard and start her businesses all on her own. I’ve seen her achieve many of her goals and accomplish so many things. Knowing where she came from and what she started with, I feel that there is no excuse for me to achieve anything less than what my mother has, especially with the life she has provided for me. If she can do it, so can I.
Q – (Ariel) What is your “why” for what drives you?
Growing up, there were not many women or girls who looked like me that I could look up to. There certainly weren’t many that I could relate to. Knowing that I can be that for someone else who is like me when I was growing up drives me. My generation and my peers drive me because we are a diverse, passionate, and determined group of people who know what we want out of life. Seeing so many of them doing it and making change happen is amazing, and I just want to be a part of leading the charge.
Q – (Ruchelle) Are there plans for mother and daughter to work together in the future?
My girls Ariel and Felicia are definitely visionaries like me, and we currently have a couple of projects in the pipeline, but I’m allowing her to breathe and take a break before we get into the projects. It will include film and television, and it makes sense because Ariel’s major is in film and TV journalism and Felicia is the planner, director and coordinator of our very busy lives.
Q – (Ariel) What are your professional career goals?
I have many career goals because there are so many things that I want to do, but mainly I want to pursue a career in production for digital media, television, and film. While I was in school for Journalism, I decided to minor in Film and Media because I’ve always had a love for film and T.V. and been interested in how they’re made. While taking those courses, in one course in particular I developed a real passion for production. That course was actually an elective in the Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State called Intro to Television Production. In this course, as well as a Digital Journalism course, I realized that there’s so much more I could do in Journalism than just writing and reporting compelling news stories. I could create an entire experience for viewers to go along with those stories through production of digital media. Now the spectrum of career paths and opportunities have opened for me so much more.
Q – (Ariel) Who are the professional or business role models that you admire, motivate, and inspire you?
If I were to describe the type of businessperson I want to be in the future, I’d say Oprah Winfrey meets Ryan Seacrest. Oprah has been a pioneer not only for minority women in entertainment but also for women as entrepreneurs. She showed that a black woman can become one of the most successful people in the world just by being themselves; not conforming to society but making society open to them. Ryan Seacrest has had his hand in just about every arena of the entertainment industry, and his journey coming from Atlanta is inspiring. They both started in Journalism, and as the news and media have evolved, they’ve been able to use their skillset and apply it to other areas and build an empire. That’s what I plan to do. Take everything I’ve learned and apply it to any and every endeavor in the future.
Q – (Ariel) What does success look like for you professionally in ten years?
In ten years, I plan to have my own production company, making beautiful, impactful, and hopefully award-winning content. There are other personal endeavors I want to do in the entertainment industry that I want to be successful in. I plan on being accomplished in the real estate realm as well. Beyond money and notoriety, success to me is looking back on all the things I’ve done and knowing that I impacted people’s life in a positive way and hopefully inspired them to be their best self.