An Interview With Ms. STEPHANIE JESTER, Mother to Grammy-Winning Rapper FUTURE and Talented Entrepreneur and Non-Profit Founder!
Meet Mrs. Stephanie Jester, mother of Grammy Award-winning, hip-hop mogul and philanthropist Nayvadius ‘Future’ Wilburn and a highly successful entrepreneur. Mrs. Jester currently owns and operates InTouch Properties and several other Atlanta based companies. In addition, she is the co-founder of FreeWishes Foundation, along with her son Future and daughter, Tia Wilburn-Anderson. The FreeWishes Foundation is a charitable 501C3 organization focused on helping to make a difference in the lives of others. Mrs. Jester’s entrepreneurial endeavors and business expertise earned her the 2019 Good Samaritan Pink Award and she was honored at the Economic Empowerment Initiative.
Learn more about Ms. Jester in the following All Access interview-
Since there has been a shift in the market with the coronavirus, my focus is much different now, as compared to the beginning of the year. My focus today is to pray for the individuals and families, affected by this pandemic. This year, I plan to continue to build a strong, solid and independent team. My strategy is to organize and create a positive work environment that provides hope and assurance during this unfortunate time. I am looking forward to the economy rebounding to allow for business as usual. Although I didn’t make a resolution, I did make several goals for this year; training and development for my team and build my real estate portfolio.
Can you recall the moment when you knew your son was going to be a successful rapper? What has surprised you about the trajectory of his career so far?
Like many parents, I knew my son was special and that he would be successful. I could never have imagined that his success would be this extreme or influential. His music has surpassed my expectations on every level. The Lord continues to bless us abundantly.
What has surprised you about being a label CEO? What would you say about your professional past that has helped you in your position now at Freebandz?
As a business owner for over 15 years, I had the knowledge and ability to build, manage, and develop teams. The music business is about being flexible and knowing when and how to adjust. Fortunately, my previous experience has worked in my favor.
How do you hope Freebandz stands out from all the other labels out there today?
Freebandz is an indie label and our goal is to make the same impact as the major labels. The label, staffed with creative, talented and dedicated teams, whose main priority is the success of Future and his artists on our roster. In addition, we are fully staffed with our in-house merchandise, tour management, film, real estate, and travel departments to handle all aspects of the business.
What is the most challenging and best part about being in the music business?
I was surprised to learn, that there are very few top executive women in the industry. The music industry dominated by men. The challenge is to stay ahead of the trends and to forecast what’s going to be the next big wave.
Where do you think your passion for music stems from?
I only have a passion for music as it relates to business. I leave the art of creating music to Future and other talented artists. I am the person who opens the doors to help develop opportunities outside of music to create long-lasting wealth and relationships.
Who are some of your favorite artists today? Who has really been inspiring you and the kind of music that you choose to work with?
My favorite artists are Future, Yolanda Adams, Casey J and Beyoncé.
What has it been like being able to work so closely with your son? Do you find that it has become better or easier as time goes on?
Working with my son is a blessing. Future is a Grammy award-winning philanthropist, who has a special talent and position in the music industry. As COO of Freebandz, my job is to help facilitate his vision by building a strong management team, diversification and business operations.
I would love to know more about your Empower Her organization. Where did the idea for it originally come from? How has it evolved over the years?
EmpowHER is my personal focus for this year. It evolved a few years ago, from my desire to elevate, connect and help women become their best selves emotionally, mentally and physically. Often times as women we are pulled in many different directions as wives, mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and businesswomen, that we often neglect to take time to nurture our well-being. I want to create a space and outlet that significantly supports women in ways that make an impact on their overall self-development. Each year, EmpowHER continues to grow.
What other organizations are you a part of now? Which ones do you find give you the most pleasure today?
As you know, I am one of the co-founders of FreeWishes Foundation.
FreeWishes Foundation’s mission is to deliver a message of hope, perseverance and resilience to our community by lending support and making wishes come alive and dreams come true. For more information, please visit www.freewishes.org.