Alex Wehrley is a national TV host, speaker and the creator of Empowerista, a movement and mentorship program promoting the independence and individuality of women. She has hosted for E!, VH1, ABC red carpets and the Miss USA telecast. In 2009, Alex was Miss Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin. After graduating during the height of the recession, it took Alex a year-and-a-half of networking, making opportunities and patience to land her first job as a morning news anchor for the NBC affiliate in Rockford, IL. This “year of hustle”, as she calls it, is one of her motivations to work with women right out of college and help them have the courage, confidence and tools to pursue a purposeful career they love. Alex’s TV career has moved her to Oklahoma City, Dallas and now Los Angeles, where she continues to host while running her community, Empowerista, inspiring nearly 60,000 individuals online.
Alex is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and even more so. We became friends at a recent conference we both attended, and the first evening I got there, we sort of gravitated to each other and knew we wanted to connect. I think like seeks like, and I think we both felt we had similar energies and goals and thoughts to share with the world and women.
So I bring you the lovely Alex Wehrley.
Name: Alex Wehrley
Name of Your Business: Empowerista
Location: Los Angeles, CA
1. What does living on purpose look like for where you are in your life right now?
With the creation of Empowerista in 2015, I can finally say I’ve found that place where passion meets purpose. I’m so grateful I had parents who always encouraged me to pursue my passion which led me to a career in entertainment. In 2009, I was Miss Wisconsin and started my hosting career. I lived all over the country for various TV jobs and ended up in Los Angeles where I’ve hosted for some of the most prestigious brands in my field: E!, ABC and the Miss USA telecast. But I didn’t feel fully satisfied doing entertaining hosting only. I thirsted to also tell more meaningful stories alongside the fun ones. This thirst led to the creation of Empowerista, which combines my passion for storytelling with what I’ve discovered is my purpose–to help women tell their best and truest story.
2. What does The Empowerista do and how did you come up with the idea for it?
An Empowerista is a woman who works on becoming more empowered, ambitious, courageous, confident and purpose-driven. She embraces her independence and individuality, and isn’t afraid to break barriers. Like anyone, she also has fears, doubts and insecurities, but she deals with them in a healthy way. She is supportive of other women, knowing we are stronger together than we are apart.
The community of Empowerista has two parts: 1) our media movement and 2) our mentorship program. The former is to celebrate women breaking barriers and to inspire and educate women to be their truest and best self. We do this through our videos, blog posts, social networks and various media partnerships. The mentorship program is a more hands on Empowerista experience where we work with women in their 20’s and 30’s, both one-on-one and in group settings, to hold them accountable to their purpose, individuality, desires and goals.
The idea has been in the works since I was a kid! With divorced parents, part of the time I was in a girls only household. Both my mom and sister are strong, successful and ambitious women. The three of us were always supportive of each other’s unique strengths and interests. Having great role models who believed in me was so crucial when it came to believing in myself. I’ve always wanted to provide the same support and encouragement to other women.
3. What has been your biggest mistake since you’ve started your business?
Trying to be all things to all women. I was trying to inspire all women from all walks of life. I realized I would make more of an impact if I focused on inspiring and educating the group of women I could relate to most through my own experiences. This ended up being ambitious women in their 20’s and 30’s who are in a transitional period.
4. Do you believe there’s a pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
I do! It starts with discovering your passion and purpose. Then, you really need to dive inward to ask yourself: “what unique twist do I bring to this endeavor?” The answer should always authentically reflect who you are. Then, it’s so important to define who your audience is, so you can truly understand the need you’re providing a solution to. From there it’s all about bridging the gap between your authentic self and your audience and building a real connection. I like to do this through free valuable content I provide online.
Those are just the logistics. Then there are all those intangible characteristics a successful entrepreneur possesses like perseverance, work ethic, follow through, networking skills, etc.
5. To what do you attribute most of your success?
That’s tough because there are so many factors and people who have attributed to my success. But one factor that’s not talked about enough is: curiosity. I love to research things I have an interest in or question about. This curiosity led me to compete at Miss Wisconsin USA, intern at a news station, teach myself how to start a business. I have a desire to learn, figure things out and find a way. Being curious and self-sufficient is really crucial when it comes to being successful.
6. How do you generate fresh and new ideas?
I primarily find inspiration in two ways: 1) paying attention to what other creatives are doing. It’s really important to be familiar with trends, what’s working and really get to know what you do/don’t like. 2) Quiet time. I make things like yoga, prayer and journaling a priority. I need to allow my brain to slow down in order to welcome new fresh ideas.
7. If there’s one key piece of advice you’d give to aspiring women who want to start something of their own, what would you tell them?
Simply start. I work with a lot of women who want to wait until they find a business partner… until their website is perfect… until they build an audience… I tell them, just do something. The best confidence booster is taking action — even if it’s in a small way. I started Empowerista on Instagram. I literally opened up a new page for inspirational quotes and it grew from there. It continues to be a journey. I’m constantly working out the kinks and adding new branches to the brand. But it all starts with the first step. Once you’re owning this new endeavor, regardless how “small” it is, you’ll start attracting people who want to be a part of your passion and purpose.
Here’s a peek into what she loves to do:
What are some of your favorite tips you might implement that Alex shared?