Aloni Ford is a graduate from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles with a degree in business and a minor in film and multifaceted entertainment executive and coveted content producer. Her body of work includes producing several sports reality shows, show-running, PR, as well as being the day to day management for championship athletes and award- winning entertainers. With a decade of professional experience working with Fortune 500 companies and CEO’s, Aloni has mastered the ability to envision the genesis of a creative idea and manage conceptual projects successfully from beginning to end. Some highlights include President Obama Campaign Strategist 2006-2010, Drew League marketing and fundraising, and event management for several charities such as UNICEF.
Over the past 10 years, Aloni has produced shows such as Parking Lot Chronicles partnered with Kevin Durant and Beats by Dre, The Nick and JaVale Show (appearing on ESPN and Good Morning America), Mom’s Got Game (Oprah Winfrey Network distributed by Sony) and Super Temps (Direct TV 3D Special).
Aloni works with influential entertainers and athletes such as JaVale McGee, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Kuzma, Shaun Livingston, Sanaa Lathan and Morris Chestnut to name a few. Responsible for oversight of her clients’ brands, social and digital platformsand business intelligence is primary focus. She also ensures that her clients are getting the proper attention and training to allow them to perform at their highest level. Whether it’s brand development, endorsement deals, public relations, legal advisement and real estate.
Who is Aloni Ford and what was your motivation for starting your brand?
I’m a powerful woman, a walking inspiration, and I really just want to make a difference in the world. I’ve been in a male-dominated occupation for the last 10 years and working with celebrities for the last 15 years, building their brand. I woke up about 1 year ago and I said, What about myself? What about my brand? When I die, what’s going to be in my eulogy? In my obituary? So I started this women’s empowerment book club called the Yacht Girls Book Club. Its purpose is to bring women together in a positive way over adventure settings, and still have intellectual conversations. My brand came about from something that was natural for me. About 10 years ago, I used to take two hours out of my morning and send some of my favorite motivational quotes to about 200 people in my phone. People would say “You’re so inspirational”. Hearing the positive feedback from people made me want to keep doing it. But this was just something natural that I had in my spirit, and wanted to do. I wanted to inspire people and be a motivational force in this sometimes negative world.
What were some of the challenges that you faced with building your brand?
I do about 104 things, and trying to narrow that down, or trying to figure out who you are, and accept who you are, or get acceptance from others has been a challenge. I’ve produced television but then I also manage NBA players. So sometimes trying to get people to separate the two is a challenge. Then coming from working with all men basically, to now starting a women’s empowerment book club people are like but aren’t you the basketball girl? So, I’m trying to get folks to understand the diversity of women. We can do anything and everything. I’m going to do everything and it’s not a conflict of interest. You can be a lawyer, but then go salsa dancing every Friday as well. One of the things even for myself is for me to accept that I have many layers, I am very diverse, and very much a free spirit, and that’s okay. You can be a businesswoman and still have a little bit of fun.
How does it feel to work in a male-dominated field?
I knew that I needed to come in conservative. So I don’t show any cleavage or wear shorts to the games or little skirts to meetings. For the most part, I wear suiting. When you’re covered up, it demands respect. Sometimes there’s a stereotype about women that they got their way to the top because they used their ass, but I used my brain. I take the curves out of the mix when I show up wearing a suit and its like, okay, now you’re going to listen to what I have to say. But there have been challenges. I think sometimes you’re looked at funny as a woman, like, I’ve gone to meetings and they called me an administrative assistant, or, assume I’m in a lower level position. There’s nothing wrong with those positions but they’ll go on and say, “Hey, can you hook me in with his agent? Are you his assistant?” And I’d say “I am the manager, you’re talking to the boss”. So it’s kind of like owning who you are, owning that position, and not letting anybody downplay what you’ve achieved.
What advice would you give to women in male-dominated fields?
Own it! Don’t let anybody take your credit. Don’t let anybody belittle you. Own who you are. Don’t be ashamed, and walk in pride. I call this the year of the woman. Feminine energy is so powerful, and it is going to take over the world. We would’ve almost had a female president if the world wasn’t so persuasive with craziness. But I believe as women, it’s our year and we’re taking charge. I have a joke, I say, “You want something done? Ask a woman”. We are not lower than anybody else because of our sex. You are just as qualified as the next and it’s just about believing it and walking in confidence.
How did you discover your purpose?
I started working at the age of 13, my mother was ill, and I always like to stay busy. It’s like, I have ADD, but I don’t. I’m always creating something extremely creative. In junior high, I participated in the summer youth working program and I started in a daycare, and then was switched to an administrative office. When I got to the office, I was running circles around the adult executives in there that were like 25, and I was 13 years old. After that, I always worked in retail. My dad owned a clothing store as a kid and I ran it at five years old. I’m 6 feet tall and was always tall for my age, so at five people thought I was 10. I’m extremely well with numbers and I learned how to count money at an early age. So I was like a manager at six years old of my dad’s business. Back in the day was different. We would wake up every morning at 6 AM to go get the merchandise and bring it into the store and then my dad would leave in the middle of the day, to go run an errand or something and he would leave me in the shop. I literally ran a business at six and seven years old. That’s how it was back then. In high school, I worked in retail stores like Sears, Macy’s, Ann and Taylor, and banana republic. Then when I got into my 20s, I worked in retail for 10 years, just about and I realized, I hated not having weekends off and I hated getting off at 10 o’clock and or at midnight during the holidays. I no longer had a life and I wondered what it would be like to be a secretary. So I stumbled across a temporary job for a realtor in Beverly Hills. It was a dream job. I figured I could work there for four weeks and get some money and figure out what it is. I did it for four weeks and they fell in love with me and asked to hire me permanently. I’ve worked in real estate but I worked for one of the biggest realtors in the world. Our clients were Donald Trump, Donald Sterling, and some others, and we did some campaigning for President Obama. I was on his campaign mission for six years and helped him get an office that I called “dialing for dollars”. My title was an executive assistant but I was more like a manager at 23. I did that for five years. After five years of being around celebrities and selling a hundred million dollar homes to Saudis and high net worth individuals, I still wanted more. So I quit the job cold turkey, gave 1-month notice and I left with $6,000 in my savings account and decided to be a filmmaker. I had been interning doing some filmmaker stuff on the side and I met Nick Young and JaVale McGee which prompted me to create The Nick and JaVale show. I threw it on YouTube in the middle of the NBA lockout and it just happened to go viral. Then, Good Morning America called me and said, hey, can we feature your show? And I’m like, Are you kidding me? I have no job and we’re just having fun, of course, you can. ESPN picked it up and it went super viral. By then I said, I’m a producer, I’m going to keep going with this. So I kept filming JaVale for the next few months and he ended up signing a $44 million contract with the Denver Nuggets and I filmed that experience. It was really amazing. I took that to a bunch of production companies and they were having a bidding war over it. I ended up signing with Sony as my distributor, and then me and Sony went and sold the show to the Oprah Winfrey network. Then I really had a show on television called “Mom’s Got Game”. After that, I began to own that I’m not going to be an assistant anymore and I’m not going back to retail. I’m a manager. I literally manage JaVale McGee now and I’ve been with him for nine years. While managing him, I started the book club. I had all of these different occupations so I believe in experimenting and dipping in other fields to know what you really want to do.
What motivates you to keep going?
When you get seven different checks per month, multiple streams of income, and you can live better. I manage the players, I’m a television producer/filmmaker, property manager, book club owner, consultant, Chief Marketing Officer for Mareeco, a luxury furniture line, and I have an income property. When I was in my corporate job I had one stream of income, and I made $15 an hour when I was in real estate, but I was around multimillionaires. So that was crazy. I worked in Beverly Hills, and I would drive all the way back to Inglewood and dodge bullets. I was basically living in the ghetto with a roommate in an apartment barely making my car note every month. I was a part of the working poor. I was going to work every day, I’m an honest person with a college degree and the $2,000 I was making couldn’t even get me through the month. I wished I had another stream of income. My boss was rich and I’d seen that she had money invested in stocks, she owned some real estate and she was invested in this company. She had seven streams of income. So then when I left there, I said, I want to go produce television. But even when I was going to produce television, I would do other gigs on the fly. I would still babysit, or manage celebrities’ properties and things like that. Having different occupations allows me to be creative. Also, being able to get that reward of being able to live a little more luxurious, go to the spa, buy your favorite pair of shoes, or eat out every night or things like that. When you can get a taste of a better lifestyle, you never want to go back.
Tell me about some of your accomplishments and which one you’re most proud of.
I was really proud of producing a television show because I didn’t go to film school, I learned on my own and applied it. I recently completed my second triathlon despite not being in tip top shape. I’m a former athlete. I ran track and I went to the Junior Olympics twice. I was a scholar track athlete and we lost the championship my senior year by one point. I told myself I’d never touch a track again. That was one of my biggest mistakes- not going to college on the sports scholarship because I was angry that we lost the championship. So I gave up on this thing that I loved at 18 years old and it’s eating me alive. Never give up on something you love. That’s my biggest advice for people.
God sends you messages in mysterious ways. I got an email this summer from a company wanting to train first time women that want to try to do a triathlon for free. Triathlon training is very expensive. So I saw this email and signed up right away and went to all of the orientations. I completed six week training through TriFit LA and I actually completed the triathlon. I got to see life differently. And at the end, when I finished, I was like, I can’t believe I finished it. We start so much stuff in mind but we never finish it. But I finished it. I didn’t get first place, but I finished it. It gave me the hunger and the desire to want to do it some more. This is something that I’ve loved since I was a kid, so that was one of my other accomplishments. Starting the women’s empowerment movement is one of my accomplishments because it helps me face some of my other fears like public speaking. I’m making myself vulnerable to get out there and help women, invite them into my home, conduct meetings with them and help them become entrepreneurs. I’m taking women under my wing and mentoring them. That has been an accomplishment because that’s something that I wanted. Somebody didn’t give up on me, somebody put a hand on my shoulder, pushed me and told me to keep going. That’s what I want to accomplish with what I’m doing.