She’s Now Using Them to Impact Positive Change Through an Alabama Cabinet Position
Stacia Robinson’s entrepreneurial roots run deep. Her grandparents were entrepreneurs, and her educator mom became one when she started her own business selling Shaklee vitamins in the 1970s. Stacia was a young girl at the time, and remembers helping her mom to build it.
During high school, Stacia was also part of Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization that inspires and prepares young people for success. “I loved it—in fact, we made cutting boards and I still have one,” she laughs. “I always knew I wanted to have a business. That experience was fundamental.”
Stacia went on to run her own Shaklee business while attending college. She later entered the U.S. Air Force, where she rose to the position of captain over seven years, before refocusing on entrepreneurship and purchasing a business networking and referrals franchise through BNI-Business Network International.
Stacia successfully ran this franchise for 25 years. Meanwhile, in 2000, she decided to launch a second business, the employee benefits and insurance agency BeneChoice Companies that partners with employers so they can know their choices and lower their costs while still providing great employee benefits.
During this time, Stacia was also part of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and helped start their CEO Roundtable program. “Our CEO Roundtable is the only one still standing today,” shares Stacia, who is now a member of the Chamber’s executive committee. “It has a lot of similar elements to NAWBO in terms of the mentorship and support. I looked for NAWBO years ago, but there wasn’t a chapter in Alabama, and specifically in Montgomery.” Stacia is proud to be part of the group of local women entrepreneurs who got NAWBO Alabama started and continue to grow it.
After running two successful businesses for 15 years, in 2015, Stacia sold her franchise business to focus on BeneChoice Companies as well as volunteer endeavors. She currently has a team of seven in place, which will be helpful in the months and years ahead as she juggles women’s business ownership with a new role: Stacia has been appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to serve as Director of the Alabama Office of Minority Affairs.
“As we prepare to turn the page and reset state government with the Inauguration in January, I am proud to assemble the strongest team possible to serve every Alabamian to the best of our abilities,” said Governor Ivey. “Today, we can reflect on the significant progress we have made during my first term and can be excited for what work remains ahead, and I am proud to have Stacia be part of that effort.”
“From looking to engaging our students at Alabama’s historically Black colleges and universities to supporting minority- and women-owned businesses to ensuring every Alabamian has the opportunity to provide for their families, we are setting important and necessary goals and having Stacia at the helm of the Alabama Office of Minority Affairs will be instrumental,” Governor Ivey continued. “I am sure that good things are in store for our folks.”
Stacia says that when Justice Will Sellers, a member of the Supreme Court of Alabama, called to ask if she’d consider this cabinet-level position, she just had one stipulation—that she would continue to keep her business running while serving.
“I call myself a professional volunteer,” Stacia teases. “I have done a lot over the years—always in categories that include business, women and leadership—those are my passions.”
In her government role, Stacia will be advising Governor Ivey on women and minorities in the areas of economics, health, education, justice and empowerment. “We’ll be doing just about anything and everything that helps in those areas,” she says. “My predecessor set the groundwork and I’m taking the baton and running with it.”
“I’m most interested in impacting the awareness of women and minorities in the area of access and equity in government and commerce, which go hand in hand,” Stacia continues. “What I bring to the table is the experience of forming partnerships and collaborations that are long-lasting.” Not to mention her military leadership as well as those deep entrepreneurial roots.