Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.
Photo by Emily Pérez Long / Photos taken on location at Proof Bar and Incubator
Ariel Anthony, Chattanooga
Statistics. We use them to determine how likely it is that we can do something. These numbers have followed me my entire life. I became a teen mom in high school, and the first statistic was that only 40% of teen moms finish high school. Those numbers sounded plausible to me, and I finished high school on time with my daughter by my side.
The next statistic was harder to swallow. Less than 2% of teen moms finish college by the time they are 30. This is when I decided that I was going to start beating statistics. I knew that there were exceptions in every statistical analysis, so that became my goal. I went straight to college and even studied abroad at Oxford University. I gladly danced into the less-than-2% and finished in four years. With the Lord’s grace and help from family and friends, I worked two jobs, majored in economics and business, and raised my daughter. But I wasn’t done; I always wanted to be an attorney. I enrolled in law school. I remember thinking, I don’t know how many teen moms graduate law school by the age of 25, but I bet we are all outliers. Beating statistics to become a lawyer was just the beginning.
Black associates and partners made up 5% and 2% respectively of all lawyers at law firms in 2020. These numbers have been the most daunting to me. I was the first and only black attorney in my office. I’ve met other black attorneys in town who have been working for years to change Chattanooga’s numbers. So, of course, I set my eyes on another statistic to beat, and I worked with a group of attorneys, law firms, and businesses to increase the number of minority attorneys in Chattanooga. The pipeline has created nearly 10 associate positions for minority attorneys locally, with more to follow every year.
I have endured a lot through this journey. My favorite quote has always been, “The world will tell you who you are, until you tell the world.” So, listen closely, world! My name is Ariel Anthony. I am a mother, successful lawyer, and path creator for anyone who feels like there is no way.