1. Introduce yourself to our inCity Magazine readers?
I'm the southern bred, April Mixon, known to many as the Birmingham etiquette guru. Growing up as the pastor's daughter, granddaughter, niece, great-niece and cousin forced me to learn class and protocol early. I am now married to Bishop Sylvester Mixon and we parent my forever clients, Caleb, Joshua and Gracie. My family and I reside the small town of Montevallo, which is in the heart of Shelby County, Alabama. I credit my southern charm and grace to growing up in Selma, Alabama.
2. What services does your organization offer?
With Grace Charm & Etiquette School offer a range of services that help youth transition into adulthood successfully. We don't just teach manners and protocol. However, along with table etiquette training, we offer speech etiquette, personality development, image consulting, social media etiquette, poise, and self-empowerment seminars. Our courses are very practical and fun.
3. Gracefully Grinding is a unique name for a company, how did you come up with it?
Many would not believe that I was a tom-boy until almost adulthood. I am the only girl in my family, so all I knew playing ball and climbing. My mother and grandmother spent several years urging me to be more ladylike. With that said, one I knew was that I NEVER wanted to have a daughter. Ever! Well, during my third pregnancy, I started praying, like I had done twice before, that the baby be a boy. God had other plans. From the moment I found out it was a girl, I knew that I would be in for it. It took about two days for me to know she would need grace being the only girl. On August 5, 2008, with grace I gave birth to Gracie. I am still training and teaching her to exemplify grace. During many seminars, she is with me either sitting silently or passing our brochures with such charisma and grace.
4. Who is your target audience?
This started with young ladies ages 4-17 in my mind. However, it's reach has extended far beyond that. With Grace Charm & Etiquette Schools offers services to not only young ladies, but women, men and boys as well. For that few months, most of my clients have been adult women who are training to better themselves. My heart and passion is still with young girls though. They are who I think of and pray for when I formulate classes and curriculum.
5. Describe a typical day as a mentor and operating Gracefully Grinding?
A typical day could be hosting a seminar or sponsoring an etiquette camp. I am often booked for corporate functions where I train employees on workplace and business etiquette. My etiquette camps and scheduled individual sessions work around those. My email is loaded daily with session and booking requests. I make it my business to respond to those requests myself. It adds such a personal touch ( I teach that in business etiquette, lol). With Grace courses and sessions are very personal and up-close. Therefore, I am in every class and very hands-on.
6. What do your mentees receive from the program?
Our first class is always on building self-confidence. I can't give any confidence. However, I can affirm and push them until they see in themselves what I see. We are all canvas just waiting for our inner colors to shown. Nonetheless, through team-building activities they learn to be confident in who they are. Confidence is the ultimate key to being all that you can be. When a woman knows she looks good and has an inside to match that beauty, she can command any room without even opening her mouth. I teach that. I give them that.
7. Are there any success stories you would like to tell us about?
There are so many!! One that quickly comes to mind is a client who came in not fully knowing who she was or what capabilities she had. She never socialized and when she did, it was mean and short. She didn't want to be in etiquette training. She didn't think she needed it. Nonetheless, she is now the CEO of a fully functioning women's empowerment center. Let me add, she is equipped for the job. She looks, sound and is the part.
8. What makes your organization different than others?
Many charm and etiquette schools are taught by old ladies. I am a trendy, today woman. I am not to far stretched that my students cannot reach me. I am in their times. I am in their know. That separates With Grace Charm & Etiquette School from every school in this state. I can also go on to say that With Grace is the only African-American operated and owned incorporated etiquette school in the state.
9. What cities do you operate?
With Grace is located in the Birmingham suburb, Shelby County, Alabama. Individual sessions and camps are held in Alabaster, Alabama. However, I travel all over the United States for seminars.
10. How can our readers contact you?
Please visit the contact us page at With Grace Charm & Etiquette School or email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Christopher Thomas