First things first please give the readers a quick bio about yourself!
KC: Kady is a Rotarian, Nonprofit Founder, Community Expert & Thought Leader
Best known as an “emergent connector” for her influence and resources; Kady Cox is a conscious entrepreneur who seeks to elevate humanity through her business endeavors. A self-proclaimed “political humanitarian” working her way up the nonprofit ladder while empowering her peers through political and community engagement. A highlight of Kady’s political career includes being a former White House intern where she managed a team under The Office of Presidential Correspondence for President Barack Obama. Currently, she sits on the Women’s Advisory Committee for Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan’s 14th Congressional District.
A Detroit native, she serves as the Chair of Social Media for The Rotary Club of Detroit. Kady is also a graduate of Michigan State University and the founder of Raising Awareness with Students; a Detroit-based nonprofit that implements programs to students both locally and internationally.
Q: So how did the journey for the White House Intern Alum position begin? Was this a goal all along or is there more to it? Also, what was your major in college?
KC: I got accepted into a study away program with my university where you stay in another state similar to a study abroad program, but instead, you participate in an internship and Michigan State sends your professor to conduct classes courses in the state you’re in. We were required to apply to a minimum of 8 internships to guarantee a position, but I only wanted to go (and spend money going) if I were able to land the position as a white house intern.
I was also 100% willing to accept the fact that I might not get the position, but I was also willing to stay home in Michigan to complete my studies. I think looking back, there’s an important lesson in there to always bet on yourself when sticking to your plan A (obviously, without breaking the rules).
I had to keep it a secret that I worked there the entire time during my internship, albeit many people slipped up by sharing on social media, but it was to protect my safety while in DC and an agreement between the Secret Service. My major in college was Community Governance and Advocacy with a cognate in Political Science (basically Social Science).
Q: What were your day-to-day responsibilities? How many hours did you work a week? Are White House Interns paid?
KC: I worked in the Office of Presidential Correspondence where I managed a shift of volunteers, helped host and work a plethora of other events. I worked at least 40 hours a week and White house interns are not paid. Kind of unfortunate because it places financially disadvantaged students at a loss to have such an opportunity.
Q: How stressful was the intern position? I could only imagine the tasks you had to complete and the timeframe you had.
KC: It was only stressful because my bosses would at any moment quiz me on random international events which meant I had to watch the news almost all day every day to stay on top of recent events going on around the world. Looking back now, it was a great time, I learned many lessons and it was a very innocent time in my life. I was sometimes under pressure, but a lot of great lessons were learned!
Q: With how important the White House is to America I’m sure the interns had restrictions; What were they? (If you’re allowed to say.)
KC: We couldn’t wear our name badges for safety reasons once we left the white house campus. Anything else, I can’t say.
Q: What surprised you during your internship? Did you have certain expectations or an idea of how it would go?
KC: I did not expect to see such prominent people and/or have such access to them during my time there, but I took advantage and built connections with them.
Q: How much diversity did you see in the White House?
KC: I saw a decent amount of diversity there.
Q: Did you ever personally meet Barack & Michelle Obama? If so, what was that like? Did they give you any advice or lessons?
KC: I did, President Obama informed us to figure out what we enjoy doing vs. the title we wanted to hold and we would naturally become good at it. First Lady Obama, gave me a hug and thanked me for my work. I also met Biden who taught us to go back to our hometown and work on the most important projects there.
Q: What was your best and worst experience during the internship?
KC: Hmmm. My worst was for sure going back to The White House the night after Trump was elected, but also meeting President Obama the same day.
Q: Important things you learned during your internship? Advice you would have for anyone who wants to apply for that position?
KC: Wow…. so many lessons learned, but most importantly, do what you love and stay focused. Not so much advice, just for any position you want in politics…be committed to being a servant leader or community leader.
Q: Being from Detroit, a city with a prestigious history, but has fallen off economically in some areas; Did you feel any of those challenges growing up? Then once you were in the White House did you feel any need to make those troubles noticed or learn how to help your community more?
KC: I honestly did not feel many of those challenges growing up, though I am sure they were there… My parents (especially my mother) did a great job of not letting me experience or see them. Once I got to The White House I saw a larger range of people who were both doing better and not as good as me. Most of the people working there with me were teachers, grad students, lawyers, in law school, etc. I was only a junior at the time.
Q: Fast forward to after the internship…now you’re the Founder/Executive Director of Raw Michigan. As well as the owner of Vksweets. Can you tell the readers about those businesses and what inspired you to create them?
KC: RAWS – Raising Awareness with Students is a nonprofit organization I started right before I left to work in The White House and then created a team to run it while I was gone. Once I graduated, I filed the paperwork to become a 501c3. Our mission is to end the plague of minority health disparities deeply rooted in the urban community. I decided to start RAWS because I wanted to raise awareness about an issue affecting my family heavily: diabetes.
I started VK Sweets, LLC. because I knew everyone on campus was craving cheesecake and chocolate-covered strawberries although I didn’t know how to make either. I just recently realized that’s what market research is as I was trying to kick start my other business venture. Looking back, I realized so many other college businesses were coming about and that’s when they started hosting business expos. I realized so many things in life repeat, you just need the perfect leader to begin the process.
Q: Last but not least is there anyone you would like to shout out?? Please tell the readers where they can follow you and your businesses!!!!
KC: Ayyeeeeeee… I would first like to thank God for his amazing grace and mercy over my life. Secondly my mom and dad and all of my friends and family. I also want to thank you for thinking of interviewing little ole me!