Erica Lanier is a native of Atlanta, Georgia where she currently resides working to earn her undergraduate degree. She is currently a junior at Spelman College majoring in Education Studies where she hopes to reform the education system in Georgia to benefit the urban communities that are so often left behind.
Erica plans to open a private school in an urban community in Atlanta, Georgia that challenges the next generation of youth to reach success and achieve a one-hundred percent graduation rate. Being aware of her community’s needs and the world around her has always been a part of Erica’s life, so volunteering and remaining active in her community has always been important to her.
She has interned and volunteered at several different organizations and businesses like MARTA, Girls In Technology, Junior Achievement and Operation PEACE which has taught her the value of giving back and becoming a productive part of society. As a teenager, Erica served as Miss Platinum, Miss Greenforest, and has received leadership scholarships. These experiences helped Erica to navigate through her highschool experience and find her way as a leader.
Along with attending Spelman College full time, Ms. Lanier is an afterschool teacher at Greenforest Christian Academy and a dance coach at Studio 1 Dance Academy. These roles have taught her valuable leadership skills and have also put her in a position to relate to teenage girls and what they experience every day. As a teenage girl Erica realized the difficulty of being a young women in today’s society. Social media, pop culture, peer pressure, and a young woman’s environment all have a huge affect on the way she sees herself and likewise, the way society sees her.
Erica wanted to create an organization that valued the teenage girls’ experience and incorporated an environment that promoted sisterhood, etiquette, culture, and self-empowering activity. In a society that doesn’t promote these ideas, its’ important to take a stand for young women everywhere and create a new generation of leaders.
Growing up as a teenage girl, Erica realized the difficulty of being a young woman in today’s society. She recalls how much of an influence the media, her environment, and her peers had on her perception of young womanhood. There was so much pressure everyday to conform to the idea of young womanhood that everyone else thought was acceptable. She witnessed many of her friends travel down the wrong path because of their lack of guidance and perspective. Teenage girls are the most impressionable group, which means that during these years it is rewarding to expose them to positive life experiences. Looking back, she saw how rewarding it would be to be a part of a group of ladies that valued sisterhood, self- empowerment and the willingness to work toward their goals.
As a result, Erica founded Gifted Girls of Grace.