My Origin Story: Stacie Whisonant

Generation Titans' "My Origin Story" is part of ongoing series to feature talented, innovative, and dope entrepreneurs of color (EOC). We are providing a platform where founders and creatives can tell their stories in their own voice and in their own unique way. These stories are not highlight reels, although they do highlight success. Also, these stories are not focused on only the hardships, obstacles, and racial inequality that entrepreneurs of color face, although they do squarely address these challenges. Today, Generation Titans catches up with Stacie Whisonant to hear more about her origin story and her journey as an entrepreneur.  

Stories like Stacie's are American stories that push the culture forward, spark conversation and connections in the startup ecosystem, and also inspire a younger generation of entrepreneurs. These stories and the founders are a counter narrative.  Through "My Origin Story," Generation Titans is proving that the pipeline of EOCs exists--despite the media's prevailing deficit narrative about entrepreneurs of color. 


WHO IS STACIE WHISONANT?

I am a minority start up founder, a female leader, a Vet, a dedicated daughter and sister, a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and a change maker in higher education.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

I was born and raised in a small town call South Hill, VA

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT SOCIAL MEDIA WON'T TELL US ABOUT YOU?

StacieW.headshot.jpg

Social Media will tell you very little about me because I do not spend alot of time on there to communicate who I am.  My social media is bare but I plan to post more next year :) 

WHAT IS PYT FUNDS AND HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY AS A FOUNDER SHAPED WHAT YOU'RE DOING AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Pay Your Tuition is a platform that helps students in college to pay fund their education.  We create products that can help students from all walks of life get access to money to pay the tuition bill using technology to help predict success. 

In our product model, we choose students that show commitment to their education and they are determined to cross the finish line.  I believe this is also true as a founder, that I have to show commitment to make change in the higher education space.  

WHAT HAS DRIVEN YOU TO DO WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW?

After working in financial services for over 10 years, I wanted to finally build a product that I could truly believe in to serve friends and family.  After customer discovery, I realzed that there is an entire community of students that can not get access to money in the private industry due to hiccups or flaws that their parents may have.  This problem causes over 50% of minotity students not to graduate from college after starting.  I paid my own tuition by serving int he US Army and I wanted to create more funding options for students that look like me.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF? 

I would have started this journey about 5 years sooner.  I believe working in a corporate environment is 100 percent needed but not 10 years.  If I was thinking that I would ever take the start-up route earlier in life, I would have gotten experience and got out early.

WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I am listening to the following audiobooks:

The Fair Shot by Chris Hughes

The Mis-education of the negro by Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Superficial by Any Cohen

WHAT ALBUMS OR SONGS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE ON HEAVY ROTATION? 

Nothing but everything Beyonce, Cardi B and Tamela Mann all day

WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ON THE INTERNETS?

@StaciehelpsPYT 

@stacwhissy

@payyourtuition

FB, LINKEDIN, IG, Twitter all have the same handles