We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Dr. Tristaca McCray a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Dr. Tristaca, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Let’s go back in time to when you were an intern or apprentice – what’s an interesting story you can share from that stage of your career?
A San Diego community action organization selected me for a leadership internship in April of 2011. Most of the other interns chose safe projects with established community leaders. I made a decision and took a risk in asking to work with a new development community group, since it gave me the opportunity for leading edge experience that would later on help me create global community action projects. We were collaborating with experimental community action tools and technologies that were not yet adopted internally for youth and teen projects in under-served communities. Part of this community project was selection of an automated survey tool for gathering user feedback for youth and teens. I played a role in implementation of this survey tool, unfortunately my ideas were not used and was considered to be too risky for teens, youth, and young adults. I reviewed all my notes and prayed over them and developed a business plan birthing “NERDS RULE INC”. The internship pushed me in another direction and taught me to “NEVER” let anyone take away my “PURPOSE”. I was born to shake tables and shift the atmosphere!
Dr. Tristaca, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
My name is Tristaca McCray aka Jusbeing Tristaca. My award-winning projects were created from my own personal LIFE experiences and will be generational lessons and a blueprint for taking a leap of faith and following your dreams. Our life puzzle will have a timeline of being pushed off the table, rejected, misplaced, damaged, and left to figure it out. My goal as a community leader, mentor, friend, and life changer provides seeds of determination. Over the years I’ve been blessed to receive numerous awards and recognition (name a few) White House Award Winning Nonprofit Global “Change Maker” by The First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama, two San Diego Proclamations “NERDS RULE INC DAY” & “Tristaca McCray Day”, San Diego Prestige Award Winner for Most Influential Person In The Community, Best of Black SD Magazine Award for Best Nonprofit 2020 & 2021, 100 Successful Women in Business Award, LONI Sisterhood Global Award, Women’s Business Award Nominee— Leader of the Year Award and Featured on the Forbes Business List Next 1000.
NERDS RULE INC. was birthed in 2011 after working in schools, church youth groups and community organizations, gave me a push to change the face of “Youth Leadership”. Creating a foundation of “being present’ by learning from my mistakes, forgiving others, defining what healing looks like and not what it should be was my process of writing curriculums for the next generation of young leaders. Planting seeds of self-worth, kindness, healing, and ownership provides opportunities for individuals to be creative in LIFE. For the past 11 years, NERDS RULE INC continues to thrive internationally providing HOPE for individuals who do not see themselves as leaders.
In 2020 during the pandemic, NERDS RULE INC. Academy was an extension of our T.R.I.B.E ambassador project for adult global leaders. Community leaders who demonstrated capacity to bring global impact were given a free leadership course on community action, research, mentorship, and support creating a community action project. NERDS RULE INC. Fellows graduates reported increased clarity of their project mission, improved self-confidence, and increased recognition for the next generation.
A BRAVE SPACE LLC. is an extension of mental health services, self-worth, eating disorder, domestic abuse and healing for people seeking wellness. A BRAVE SPACE pours into individuals seeking a nonjudgmental space of healing while connecting, traveling, laughing, smiling, and healing others.
NERDS RULE INC.’s “FIX YA CROWN” podcast is a nonprofit journalism podcast dedicated to socially compelling causes and initiatives that better the lives of vulnerable people and communities
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
Building my leadership reputation in communities and globally has been a life changing experience. I have learned to “BE” myself, trust the process and learn from others who are already successful. It keeps you in your own lane and provides you to create, believe in your OWN work and always be willing to learn from my personal experience of creating change. My organizations have three core values: Dedication /Excellence /Integrity.
How’d you meet your business partner?
My community partners are called my T.R.I.B.E. Each partner brings something wonderful out of me and my organizations. This has successfully allowed us to reach the next level of building our communities without second guessing our purpose. Some of my partners I’ve known since elementary school, met in a community leadership program, high school classmates, or I was a mentor to their children with my ambassador project.
- Website: www.nerdsruleinc.org
- Instagram: nerds_rule_inc/ Fix Ya Crown/ nerds rule inc academy
- Twitter: nerdsruleinc1
- Youtube: NERDS RULE INC.
- Yelp: NERDS RULE INC/ A BRAVE SPACE
- Other: NERDS RULE INC. (Youth and Teen Organization) A BRAVE SPACE (A supportive outreach center is a space where participants feel comfortable learning, sharing, and growing. A brave space is inclusive to all races, sexes, genders, abilities, and lived experiences.) Fix Ya Crown Podcast