A South Fulton Story about Faith, Family, and Legacy
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 is 17 and still a student at Westlake High School. Ariel is currently enrolled at Georgia State University and will earn her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism in Spring 2019 at the age of 19. Ariel is on track to obtain her Master’s degree at 21, when she can pursue a career in radio and television (i.e., TBS or CNN).
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. Last year, she founded a one-of-a-kind dessert shop on Auburn Avenue, Atlanta Candybar, and her latest endeavor is a health care services company, Ace Care Management. Lastly, to bridge the gap for basic health care in her home country of Jamaica, Ruchelle launched a 501c(3) nonprofit, called HELPERS.
We met with the dynamic mother-daughter duo to gain insight into their success.
Q, Ruchelle, how was your mother an influence for raising your children?
A. 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?
A. Faith is my life. I see no future or success without my faith in God.
Q. What advice do you have for mothers raising daughters in 2017?
A. 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?
A. 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. What lessons have you learned from your mom?
A. 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 inspires you?
A. 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. Are there plans for mother and daughter to work together in the future?
A. 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.