NFTE Los Angeles Metro alum Christina Williams is no stranger to writing her own story in life and for the page. A published author before she even graduated high school, she is currently a freshman at UCLA, majoring in business, and she continues to build her Scribble book series about a Caribbean-American superhero who fights bullies. It’s a unique young adult series that sets out to battle bullying, set in an era of school shootings, dropouts, and suicide.
Christina was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early. “Growing up, I was always entrepreneurial. I would be that kid selling chips at school, lemonade on Saturday mornings, and candy at the bus stop. However, the Scribble Book Series is the first business I became serious about.” With writing, she says, “I was all in.”
Even as a college student, she continues as an author – and as a businesswoman shaped by her NFTE experience. Christina credits her teacher, Bracy Fuentes, for setting her feet firmly on the ground when the “going got tough.”
“The week before our final presentation in Startup Summer, I was so nervous that I was going to do bad. I broke into tears, at a final rehearsal, and Bracy said with a straight face, “Continue.” I was like, “What the heck is Bracy trying to do to me?! Can’t you see I’m crying? Let me sit down.” She said, “But thanks to Bracy, I didn’t sit down. I wiped my tears and kept going.”
It was worth it. After a flawless presentation, Christina took first place in the competition, winning $5,000 in seed money. She also received an additional $2,000 award directly from one of the panel judges – who was so impressed with what she had created, he decided to add his own money.
The road to becoming a prizewinner on stage was not an easy one. When Christina turned 14, she and her family were living in a car. “Through these hardships, my mom took me to the library, where I found my love for books and writing.” she said, “Unfortunately, when I went to school, I was bullied because teachers always complimented my writing in front of the class, and I didn’t have the newest shoes and clothes. As an escape, I started writing the Scribble Series. First in notebooks and on napkins, and eventually on a computer.”
It was when her teacher challenged her with the question, “What problem is your business solving and how might your business make a difference in your community?” that she began to think the writing she was doing for herself could be a business. And through that, be a support for others who are bullied. She embraced entrepreneurship and flourished.
During her time in a NFTE class, Christina grew her entrepreneurial mindset. She feels her strengths are in the areas of opportunity recognition, creativity and innovation, and communication. “Taking risks,” she said wryly, “I’m still working on that.” But thinking about where she started from and where she is now, Christina says, “I think my views have grown on communication. Through NFTE, I learned how powerful communication could be.”
Before the age of 18, she had won seed money of $7,000 to fund her business and was a published author of two books, Scribble and the Witches of Watts. Last fall, Christina added another title to her Scribble series – Scribble and the Prince’s Order – and she was invited to be the young entrepreneur guest speaker at the Ernst & Young 2018 Strategic Growth Forum, where she spoke eloquently to a room of hundreds of people about her business and the impact of NFTE programs
This young woman is clear-eyed and determined in her forward trajectory. “Looking back, I see that the books brought me joy, laughter, and an opportunity. I plan to bring that to others as I continue writing.” To the NFTE students growing their mindsets today, she offers this inspiration: “Every day is a new day to write on. Your next word and action will tell the story of your life.”