Q&A with Alissa Constable founder of emerge/NEXT

Alissa Constable

Alissa Constable grew up in Chicagoland area and currently serves as a marketing consultant for world-class nonprofit and media companies.

Constable is the founder of emerge/NEXT, formerly known as UNETWORK, a program that educates and celebrates emerging leaders in technology and the arts. Alissa’s journey from an international breakdancer that started in her early teens to a global marketing consultant has helped her build solid, creative relationships with leaders across a wide-variety of industries.

Outside of work, Alissa invests her time in teaching dance, cycling, running, and – creating memories with family and friends. Additionally, she is an ambassador for the Smithsonian African American Museum and a board member for the Future Elite Basketball Youth Training Center.

As a child, what did you always dream of doing as an adult?

As a child, I always wanted to be in the arts as well as business – gratefully, that’s exactly what happened.

What role did Hip-Hop culture play in helping you become the woman you are today?

Hip Hop was transformative for me. My family is from Trinidad and Tobago. When I would visit my cousins always had hip hop music even before we would get it here in the Midwest. The flavor, the stories, the ambition, and the creativity that the culture provided at that time — made an impact on me. So much so that I didn’t just want to be a fan, I wanted to be a contributor. As such, I went on to join a B-Boy squad called “Phaze II” and I was able to travel globally as a B-Girl (breakdancer). Those travels taught me a lot about the world: our similarities and differences – all which are beautiful. That’s how I see the world today.

How did you find your way into the world of marketing?

I think I was always in “marketing”. As a teen, I hosted talent shows and music showcases. I love to create experiences that excite people and getting the word out is exciting as well.

Alissa Constable
Alissa Constable-Photo Credit Marcus Issac

In your opinion, what the biggest misconception people have about marketing?

That anyone can do it. It’s not easy. If you need marketing, hire a professional. It will change your business in a powerful way.

What is emerge/NEXT?

emerge/NEXT is an experiential education event that inspires next generation professionals by creating online and offline experiences that connect, inform, and entertain.

Tell us about your recent one day emerge/NEXT festival in Chicago?

emerge/NEXT Chicago was hosted at Lacuna Lofts this past November. My colleagues from the technology, design, arts, and entrepreneurship sectors joined us at the event to encourage next generation professionals to reach their goals. More than 300 students from Chicago schools and universities had the chance to learn about career opportunities and build their network. It was a day long event that provides unparalleled connections.

Can you talk about the importance of people of color and especially our youth embracing technology?

Alissa Constable
Alissa Constable-Photo Credit Marcus Issac
There’s no way to escape technology. It’s woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. It’s important that we are part of creating it. Get equity in the project. Be a part of forming the collective experiences that we call life…culture. We all have different needs and without people of color, women, young people — a room with mixed experiences — there’s a risk of static. No one wants that. The more diversity, the better the product.

What are your thoughts on our new President-Elect?

My comment is no comment.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

That I still dance. It keeps my creativity high and strategy on point. As a competitive dancer, it teaches you to leverage your assets. I still use it to keep me fresh. It sets my imagination free. I feel amazing and stay inspired because of it. Everyone should have something that does that for them.

Best advice to aspiring technology professionals?

Education. Education. Education. Network. Network. Network. Be unapologetically you.

Favorite quote or affirmation?

Mark 11: 23 – 25
Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the Negative. Don’t mess with Mr. In Between (A quote that my Godmother told me)

What’s on the horizon for Alissa Constable and emerge/NEXT?

We are going to continue to build our platform and continue to build events that inspire. We will expand to other cities and provide opportunities for the next generation to build their network, gain knowledge, and be inspired through sharing stories and providing information.

For more information on emerge/NEXT, please visit. www.emergenextchicago.com

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