Episode 6: How to Deal With Intimidation as an Adult

Today's guest, Kristen, is a realtor in Jacksonville, FL with every reason to feel intimidated. Like too many children, her father walked out of her life at a young age and to add insult to injury her stepfather, a man she described as "wonderful" died unexpectedly. Kristen's mother was now alone with three children and limited resources so Kristen and her two brothers were sent away to the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA for children from low-income families.

Imposter Syndrome, a phrase that often makes the rounds on the internet, is loosely defined as feeling like you do not belong in a professional field or arena where you have "earned a spot." Entertainers, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, have often described feeling like an imposter in "fancy spaces," even if his/her talent brought them there.

Kristen has "networked" with men and women in tax brackets many of us only dream of and she describes how fights intimidation. How do you get comfortable in spaces that feel "too good for you"? And by the way, nothing is too good for you. Let's talk about confidence...now! Ready?

Kristen Van Riper



Comment below how you fight insecurity and intimidation in professional settings.

Ashlea ArcherComment
Episode 5: How Do You Recover From Losing a Child?

Who gets to decide who you get to be?

Who decides what stage you get to perform on?

When is ever okay to quit?


Our guest, GeneDotCom, is a renowned radio personality with thousands of fans spanning  national and international platforms. On paper, he is an entertainer, personality, actor, mentor, and a staple at  V101.5 in Jacksonville, FL and iHeartRadio. The “Dot” stands for “Don’t Oppress Truth” or “Doing Other Things.” He hosts some of the most sought after events and continues to grow his brand power and influence. So why is this person on a podcast called Mildly Qualified, that focuses on the challenges of maneuvering adulthood?


GeneDotCom became a father to his beautiful son as a teenager. The challenges of being a teen parent was a major factor in GeneDotCom turning down an college acceptance letter to Florida A&M University. This is the point in the story where many would have quit. To provide for his new family, Gene worked as courier which then led to a chance encounter at a radio station on his delivery route. This chance-encounter started Gene down a path that would alter his career forever and create firm roots in the radio industry. Many years of hustle, perseverance, and courage built the career that continues to grow today.


In his personal life, however, contrasting to his growing business success, his home was struck by tragedy. His only son, Desmond, was killed in a violent crime at the age of 24 years old. Less than a year after burying his son, his grandmother passed away, bringing Gene back to the same church where he laid his son to rest just seven months prior.


No parent should have to bury his/her child. The pain and confusion can feel insurmountable, but the attitude and perspective of GeneDotCom during this interview can only be described as not only resilient, but inspiring. Not only does he share his pain, openly and honestly, he shares advice and encouragement to those in similar circumstances. 


You don’t want to miss this episode! Comment with your thoughts below. Tell us how you have overcome life’s challenges and share your story with us. We would love to hear from you. 

Gene can be reached at at the following:

IG @GeneDotCom

Facebook: Gene Dot

Twitter @GeneDotCom

Ashlea ArcherComment
Episode 4: Does Prison Makes You Less Qualified to be an Adult?

The word of the day is "recidivism." This word means the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend. Essentially, if someone gets out of jail or prison will they go back to prison, jail or both? The National Institute of Justice reports recidivism rates as high as 76% within 5 years of release, with males, African Americans and young adults having the highest rates of recidivism.


Well, if you are a business owner or a hiring manager reading this, would you hire a felon? Or even someone with a misdemeanor? I'm not judging you because every business is different.  And, of course, there are industry-specific stipulations if the offense is sex-related or violent or involves children. There are over 2 million Americans in corrections and it begs the question after they serve their time/pay their debt to society, upon release, what should happen to them?

We are speaking broadly because today's episode focuses on the amazing story of Mr. Keith Ivey, owner of Ivey League Auto Sales in Jacksonville, FL. As a young adult, he was arrested and ended up serving almost a decade of his life in prison. After release, he ended up not returning to prison but struggled tremendously with the stigma of a record and, naturally, earning back his family's trust. He had to take a hard look at his life and started reading a lot of books while incarcerated and learning about auto repair in prison and later auto sales during the prison work-release program. 

Now as a mentor he has been an advocate for voting rights of ex-criminals and being accountable for one's own life. His story has been featured on NPR and the Washington Post. You don't want to miss this episode and if you know someone with a record, please let them hear this. 

I am rooting for you and if you have made a mistake or a 100 mistakes, it is not too late to be better.

Keith Ivey
Ivey League Auto Sales
8215 103rd Street
Jacksonville, FL 32210

Ashlea ArcherComment
Episode 3: Would You Like a Visa With That?

My story...I was raised in The Bahamas...I was also "lucky" in that my mother gave birth to me on American soil. When she tells the story, depending on the day, it was either an afterthought or calculated. Either way, I am lucky. Lucky, because my path led me to an American college (undergraduate degree), American University (Master’s Degree), & American college (Pending Doctorate).

I have had sizable gaps between my degrees and have been able to stay in the United States and work with virtually no trouble. I take this for granted often. This episode, my friend Priscila and I, reflect on what being a "dual citizen" means. As you would expect, people want us to pick one side and if we pick the wrong side there is usually hell to pay. 

There is also the guilt. She and I both have had friends get deported. We are here and people we love are gone, another number, another family, gone. Some had no idea they were undocumented. Some came into the country under one politician and had to leave because the country changed its mind. 

So does your immigration status make you feel more or less qualified to be an adult? Depends on who you ask. I've been feeling enough pressure financially and careerwise without the added pressure of "papers". I am not special. I have citizenship by accident, not because I earned it or am special in any way. In the same regard, people being locked out aren't monsters. While a narrative of “rapist and murderers crossing borders with machetes” is an easier pill to swallow for some, it's not true. Borders are human constructs that can often lack humanity.

Watch and/or listen and let me know your thoughts.

Ashlea ArcherComment
Episode 2: Jack & Jane of All Trades and Master of...?

The saying jack of all tradesdates back to the days of Robert Greene and Shakespeare (aka hundreds of years ago/ a really, really long time ago). The centuries between said phrase’s inception has not lessened the impact of those words. The full expression is “Jack of all trades and a master of none” (YIKES!). What this expression is essentially saying is you (we?) have to work in a lot of trades to compensate for the fact we haven’t mastered anything (rude?). Is it time for tissues and violins yet? 


Firstly, I think this expression is harsh (well meaning, but harsh). This is 2019, not the 1500s and we do not have pensions or clear and direct paths to promotions at (traditional) jobs as the societal norm let alone (anymore) let alone solid retirement plans (comment below if you have a 401K or IRA). So, survival in this Brave New World requires grit and a lot of jobs to keep the lights on and cellphones connected because many of these trades require ye olde cellular device (Uber, Lyft, Grub Hub, Postmates, anyone?). You may have heard this new trend in employment described as the “gig economy.” The gig economy is a little bit “odd job” sprinkled with “none of the jobs have anything to do with each other” and a dash of “the rent is too damn high.” It’s not all doom and gloombecause many creatives and entrepreneurs have found a home in this new economic wave coupled with the ubiquitous-nessof the internet compared to days gone. If you are thriving in this new world, I  applaud you. 


Then again I’m a couch-hopping homeless grad student so what do I know? Today’s guest, Joe, is a jack of all tradesbut he is no push over or lacking mastery. Like you, reader, he is relentless, has been sidetracked by life (and bad luck) and does what he has to do to survive. He is talented and gainfully employed in multiple arenas that seemingly have nothing to do with each other. Joe is a barber in Jacksonville, Florida, an actor, a singer, a nursing student and he has founded a company called Love Line Apparel (@emphasize_love on Instagram), which spreads love and awareness to those battling diseases like breast cancer and overcoming stigmas related to their communities (my LGBTQ family). Joe like many of us is a multihyphenate. We do what we have to survive and thrive at the same time. 


This episode is hilarious because neither Joe nor I believe in pity parties and sometimes bad luck is so bad that it becomes…well, funny. It did not kill you so you must be stronger. This episode is dedicated to my Jacks and Janes of all trades. You are a master in my book.

Ashlea ArcherComment
Episode 1: Adults Who Win vs Those Who Fail

My name is Ashlea and I am a failing adult (Now you say, “Hi Ashlea!”). While I began 2019 filled with promise and hope (and a man—yikes!), I currently live on my friend “Letisha’s” couch in Central Florida and I am basically unemployed. I ended 2018 as a college professor (ohhh fancy!) teaching various biology courses throughout Central Florida. I quit everything. I thought I would be starting another job involving travel and living in big cities with my then-boyfriend and having speaking engagements and giving advice to millennials and Gen Zs and being a “boss lady.” None of the above happened. Instead, my boyfriend of almost two years and I broke up (on not-so-good terms) and I, with my tail tucked between my legs, moved out of his house. I sold most of my belongings (or gave it away to whomever would take it) until I could fit everything I owned in my 2017 Jeep Cherokee. Did I mention that up until last week I was wayyy behind on my Jeep’s payments? Thank God for hardship allowances. I was honestly getting tired of parking my Jeep in different spots to avoid it getting repossessed. Did I also mention this podcast and this, this, the accompanying blog, will be raw and uncut?

I won’t lie to you, while I laugh a lot in the podcast, this crap is hard as hell. I am in the unpopular part of the Cinderella story. I am in the ashes-and-cleaning-up-after-your-stepsisters’-crap-and-sleeping-on-the-floor-of-a- home-I-don’t-own part of the story. I am in the part of the “fairytale” that most people skim over. I’m failing. There is no glass slipper or fairy godmother. There are just good friends that Cash App me money for gas when I need it or let me cry and buy me a bottle of whiskey or wine (whiskey is preferred) when I can’t even talk about how much I feel like a failure.

I am not a pushover. I am a doctoral student for Christ’s sake! I just made a really bad left turn and now I’m picking up the pieces. This episode of my new podcast, Mildly Qualified, is a (really) funny take on my current struggle, and comparing (and contrasting) it my “roommate’s” life. Also can I technically I call her a roommate if I’m not paying her (insert side eye and awkward smile emoji)? She has been great and she is giving me time to get back on my feet. And I cook a lot for her cause I am a GREAT cook (humble brag). Letisha, my #roommate, is six-figure-making fancy pants in the medical field and I am in awe of her. She is my first guest and she talks about her journey in this episode. She and I are the same age and she and I started undergraduate college and our doctoral programs at the SAME time. So, how did I end up sleeping on her couch?

Comment below with your thoughts on the episode and where you are in your journey. Is it what you imagined or do you feel like you were not prepared?

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