Arianna Emanuel-Wright (Ari) is a 25-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida with four degrees. Ari is a First-Team selection for the Jacksonville Times Union, has been honored by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, is a first ever Academic All-American for Women’s Basketball at UNF, and was a member of the WABA All-Star Team. In her free time, Ari enjoys traveling, writing poetry, and running her LLC. She aspires to grow exceptionally in her career and play basketball at the professional level.
Reflect back, when did you first develop your love for the game of basketball?
In the 5th grade. At the time, I was a competitive cheerleader and I was first introduced to playing basketball while at recess. One of my guy friends asked me to play and I was surprised because I would be the only girl out there playing. I am so glad that I did. Playing against them made me tougher because they didn’t take it easy on me just because I was a girl. There was this electrifying feeling that took over every time that I stepped foot on the court with them and from that moment on, I knew that this was the sport that was going to take me far.
You have experienced many highs with the game, what can you say has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Great question – difficult though because it is hard to choose one. I’ll take it back to when I was playing at the University of North Florida. We were on the road against Ole Miss and I felt energized knowing that we were going to be playing against a team lead by Coach Yo (Yolette McPhee-McCuin). She used to coach at Jacksonville University so it definitely felt close to home. It was one of the best games that I ever had because I wasn’t afraid to play on the big stage.
What inspired your start in entrepreneurship?
I’ve always had a heightened sense of autonomy and drive, and entrepreneurship allows me to execute those attributes strongly. In December of 2020, I started my own career consulting business during my second year of graduate school. I was in a Career Counseling program at Florida State University and I realized that all the techniques that I was implementing with students, is something that I could do on my own. I wanted to build my own clientele and I have done just that. I’ve assisted over 100 individuals in the last couple of years on resume building, interview preparation, graduate school planning, negotiating salary, and more. I truly find joy in helping people increase their confidence about their career path. In addition, I started a startup sports brand in December 2022 and I am excited for the journey that will come along with that!
If you could tribute your success to anyone in your life who would it be?
My mom has definitely been a primary factor in the success that I have gained so far in my life. I have witnessed her grind and truly respect how resilient she has been through a variety of challenges and setbacks. I don’t have enough words to describe how amazing of a Black woman she is – just know that I am entirely grateful to have her as an example and I would be honored to follow in similar footsteps.
What message do you hope women take away from your platform?
To just go for it. Anything you want to do – freaking do it. Who cares what anyone else thinks? It doesn’t matter how old you are and it doesn’t matter how much experience you have. Don’t be afraid to take risks – comfortability won’t satisfy you in the long-term.
What is your go-to quote for motivation?
Fools talk, cowards are quiet – wise ones listen.
What does being a woman making Herstory mean to you?
She leaves a legacy for the ones behind her that look up to her. She uses her voice to break barriers and make a path for the ones that have never been there before. She isn’t afraid to truthfully tell her story so that there isn’t the assumption that everything in this life is easy.
Social Media Handles:
Instagram Pages: @ariemanuelwright, @theak1brand, @aricareer