Introduce yourself! Who are you? My name is Grace Alex, and I love to translate my daily experiences through fashion. Besides fashion, I work in Washington, DC as a tech policy researcher on good governance in developing democracies.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career? My career path has always shifted focus in relation to my advocacy. I always had the idea that I will be in the gap serving people in a capacity that could bring succor or solutions to their problems.
Were you scared to start the process? As I learned in the Alchemist, making a decision is only the beginning of things. I don’t think I felt fear, but there was the apprehension that I may not succeed in the pursuit of happiness.
What is one thing no one really knows about you? This is a really interesting question. Most people don’t really know that I play the drums and act as a hobby. I am pretty sure they will be shocked to hear this.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? It’s funny because I remember these words in challenging seasons of my life, “You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.” It was a college mentor who had given this advice, while I was preparing for grad school. At some point during the preparation process, I was daunted by the challenges I faced, and he felt I wasn’t surrounding myself with people that were aspiring to achieve bigger things.
Every now and then, when I am faced with a big challenge, I remember those words, and how important it is for me to align myself with a crowd that fits into my purpose.
What would you say to 16 year old you? There is a time for everything under the sun, and study to show yourself approved.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel? I recently just finished grad school, and at the beginning it was difficult to rally people around me to support my vision. It affected how confident I approached my work and projects, because I had to battle with a lot of “what if’s” which distracted me from the academic journey.
What message do you think every woman should hear? I believe every woman should know that they are enough and can do big things by themselves. I think this message is important for women because I come from a culture where a woman’s success is incomplete without a man or her having a family. Women who are birthed into this culture, inherently, do not feel they are enough without the attachment of a male figure in their life, despite attaining relative success. Hence, the need for me to highlight the above quote, to remind them of their worth.
Have you always had confidence in yourself? No! I built the confidence I have now by understanding that all humans are created equally and we are only placed at different layers to create the world balance.
What do you love most about yourself? I love that I am kind, that I value my friendships, and that I have empathy.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity? Yes, and very recently. I had a financial struggle, which was going to hinder me from completing my grad school, despite me having one semester to go. But everything worked out in the end.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way? I have learned that everything will be fine in the end, even though it doesn’t look like it at the beginning.
What motivates you most? I am motivated by the capacity of people to pursue their dreams, despite trepidations.
How do you manage your work-life balance? I have asked myself that question severely, but there is no specific answer. On some days it could mean catching up with friends, other days running, some days writing and connecting with people I meet online.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward? I pray in the morning, read an article and try to have breakfast. This is sort of cliche but it’s a habit that is useful for me to move forward daily and grow.
Grace Alex is a fashion and style blogger who happens to have a career in Data and Digital policy.