Stand and Deliver: Succeeding Against All Odds with Ungenita Prevost
by Lisa Gable · 12 Jun 2023 · 8 min read
My Stand and Deliver series highlights women who lead through inspiration and aspiration. Today’s article highlights the significance of persistence in challenging circumstances and how it can transform unyielding determination into financial success.
Ungenita Prevost caught my attention for an interview due to her remarkable story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges when she aged out of the US foster system, including homelessness, financial insecurity, and parental absence. Her ability to “sell herself” and close multimillion dollar deals in her career is nothing short of impressive. Her inspiring journey began as a child placed in foster care, and she later became a successful Hollywood body double for Janet Jackson. Even as a high school student, Ungenita showed a talent for leveraging her networks and monetizing her connections, which she learned while working at a real estate firm.
Presently, she serves as a source of inspiration as a motivational speaker, corporate advisor, founder of Future Females London, author of Networking in Stilettos, and host of podcast Billion Dollar Rolodex, and she leads FEMME Global 500, a global feminine leadership network.Through the events organized by FEMME 500, female leaders have created close ties that have transformed into an international business community, fueling the economy in over fifty countries in North America,UK, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Her primary objective is to assist women in capitalizing on their social capital inside and outside the workforce.
Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about your career and what excites you about your current stage of life.
I’m Ungenita Prevost. I’m an American expat now resident of the UK with bases in London and Las Vegas. I currently lead Global Feminine Leadership. I’ve personally connected and changed the financial trajectory of more than ten thousand women. They didn’t have a Rolodex until they met me. Many have gone on to generate sales, lucrative partnerships, and career-defining deals. That excites me—I’m helping to close the “Gender Network Gap.”
Tell us about a major transition period in your life (major move, career move, family, unique opportunity) and what prompted the change.
Statistically speaking, people like me don’t make it.
When I was eighteen, my foster mother said, “It’s time to go.”
I had “aged out” of the system.
While my girlfriends Tammy and Nicole were preparing for college, I was selling jewelry at Macy’s and scrambling to rent a room for $200 dollars and buy a $30 bus pass, stretching my dollars by eating Campbell’s soup and $5 Burger King chef salads.
At any one point in time, I was either homeless, jobless, carless, or cashless.
Some days three out of four.
But ever since I was a little girl dancing and twirling batons in Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, I’ve had this dream to be a star.
My probation officer even told me when I was living at the children’s shelter, “Ungenita, I see something in you. You’re going to do something big someday.”
So, I set my eyes on Hollywood. And when I had a chance to go, I loaded up a U-Haul and asked my friend Sam to drive me from San Jose to Burbank. I arrived with $1000 in my wallet.
What are the thre top tips you have for a woman trying to assert her influence and ideas?
Exercise your feminine intelligence: Instead of tapping into our masculinity when our backs are up against the wall, we must restore a balance between intellect and intuition, facts and feelings, reason and realism.
Raise your social intelligence: We have been programmed to chase fans, followers, and likes on social media. Yet, the gender network gap shows women do not have sufficient social capital. It is said that social capital, not financial capital, is the most valuable asset in your portfolio. Women underestimate the value of networking. Too much mindless chit chat versus money-making conversations. You could get rich by just having the right conversation with the right person. It works!
Own every room you walk into with communication intelligence: I’m with Warren Buffet: “The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now—at least—is to hone your communication skills—both written and verbal.”
Exercise your asking muscles on a daily basis. Start speaking up and having those higher-stakes conversations. Don’t be shy, afraid, or intimidated to ask for favors, upgrades, perks, introductions, referrals, money, raises, job offers, business, joint venture opportunities, speaking engagements, or collabs. Ask men and intimidating people (CEOs, celebrities, and billionaires) for whatever will drive your growth.
How do you help unleash leadership at all levels?
Everything I teach, whether it’s the principles of “Feminine Net-Worthing,” communication, hosting corporate events, sales, lead gen (outreach, visibility), or relationship dynamics, my methods are soaked in human psychology, meaning there’s nothing robotic, antiquated, or dehumanizing.
Showing women how to deal with their own issues enables them to navigate business relationships at every level. This is key to getting ahead and standing out in a commoditized market.
Tell our readers about a passion project of yours, why it’s unique or special, and what attracted you to it.
I started the Foster Girl Network to provide resources, funding, and mentorship to girls in foster care. We are here to increase their confidence, self-worth, and earning power so that they successfully transition out of the system. And that begins by supporting their personal and professional development.
Who inspires you today and why?
So many things inspire me, but I would have to say the amazing businesswomen in my network.
Remember, I didn’t go to college. Here I am sitting at the big tables with world leaders, CEOs, and change makers, not to mention advising billion-dollar companies.
I believe the look of twenty-first century leadership is the woman who collaborates and builds strategic alliances.
She will win.
What is a future aspiration?
I recently returned to the entertainment business. I have two TV shows and one documentary in development. My goal is to create beautifully inspiring content to entertain, educate, and empower the young, intelligent, savvy, up-and-comer as well as the sophisticated, established, modern woman to stand in her feminine power, while simultaneously increasing her economic power.
Meeting Ungenita is an experience like no other. Her presence and energy are powerful. You can’t help but be inspired and amazed. She truly embodies the term “force of nature” in every aspect of her personality.
During our conversation, I had the pleasure of discussing the Foster Girl Network Ungenita has built, and I was blown away by her passion and dedication to the cause.
“I experienced every financial hardship you can possibly imagine (homeless, jobless, car-less, cashless, and parentless).”
As a foster child, she had no family to provide help and support when she aged out of the system and found herself on her own with zero resources beyond her own determination and willpower. She understands the plight of each child who leaves foster care and is committed to ensuring that these girls have the support they need to succeed.
Foster care is an issue that hits close to home for me. Growing up, my mother took in foster newborns while I was in high school. These children were often removed from their birth families due to documented cases of abuse or neglect, and my family provided them with a safe and loving home until they could be placed with a permanent family. It was through this experience that I became acutely aware of the family challenges that these state-run programs face.
My awareness of the issue grew through other experiences as well. For instance, through a partnership my team at the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation formed with the Boy Scouts of America, I met an Eagle Scout who created a backpack program so that he and his fellow foster children could pack their clothes and belongings for a move between foster homes, rather than having to throw everything into a trash bag. I also had a family friend who passed away, and her high school-aged daughter chose to enter foster care. She joined a family with a number of local high school students, and they all treated each other like one big family. Every year, we receive their annual holiday card with a photo of all the kids. Despite holidays when the house is overly full, our young friend speaks fondly of the amazing bond these foster parents facilitated, and she considers this her home.
Fostering is a gift that a committed family can provide to a young teen. Unfortunately, there aren't enough programs for older kids, but the ones that do exist, like Ungenita's, demonstrate how a caring family can make a difference, one child at a time. I encourage you to visit Foster Girl Network to become a mentor to help a girl succeed.
What lessons did you learn from Ungenita’s interview?
Let me know what inspired you by connecting with me on Instagram or LinkedIn. You can also buy my book, Turnaround: How to Change Course When Things Are Going South, and book me for speaking engagements at www.lisagable.com.