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June 11, 2024 26 mins

Two-time Emmy and Three-time NAACP Image Award-winning television Executive Producer Rev. Dr. Adrienne Johnson and Rev. Bill Green.  She has created over 300 women entrepreneurs in Ghana, West Africa and her son leads the Southeast chapter of national non-profits committed to building a more sustainable and equitable local food system.  

Reverend Adrienne Johnson launched Wo Ye Bra in 2017 to keep girls in school who would otherwise stay home because they lack access to sanitary supplies during their periods. To date, she has created over 300 women entrepreneurs in West Africa.

Reverend Bill Green maintains a sustainable and equitable local food system. Responsible for a team of sales and operations professionals in connecting communities to local, fresh food produced by small family-owned farms within GA, AL, SC and TN.

Conduct outreach on behalf of historically underserved farmers with schools, universities, hospitals, retailers, government entities, restaurants and community organizations in order to address food access challenges in metro Atlanta and other major cities throughout Georgia and Alabama. Manage 60,000sf SQF-certified facility, logistics and warehouse team where local food is aggregated from local farmers and distributed to partner institutions. Also leads the development team in raising over $1.9m in local funds from 2022 to 2023. Successfully distributed over five million pounds of food to over 166 community organizations as part of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program in 2020. Currently leads the USDA’s Local Food Procurement Assistance Cooperative Agreement in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Agriculture delivering over $5m of locally sourced food to Georgia’s eight food banks. Gives public presentations and serves on panels regarding importance of local food systems in nutritional, economic and ecological health.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
You're about to make a change in your life and
you feel uncomfortable. That's the best feeling you can have
because for the first time in your life, you'll make
an a decision that's going to be best for you
and not what somebody told you to do, and that's
when all bets are off. Welcome to Money Making Conversation
Master Class. I'm your host, Rushan McDonald. Our theme is

there's no perfect time to start following your dreams. I
recognize that we all have different definitions of success. For
you and maybe decide to your HM, it's time to
stop reading other people's success stories to start living your
own keep winning. Yes, you're listening to Rushan McDonald, I
host the weekly Money Making Conversation Master Class show. The

interviews and information that this show provides are for everyone.
It's time to stop reading other people's success stories and
start living your own. My guests are in the People
Uplift business, changing lives, synthesize a lot of their personal
time to look into people's lives and trying to make
a difference. She has created over three hundred women entrepreneurs

in Ghana, West Africa, and her son leads the Southeast
chapter of national nonprofits committed to building a more sustainable
and equitable local farm system. Please welcome to the Money
Making Conversation Masterclass, Reverend doctor Adrian Johnson and Attorney Bill Green.
How y'all doing. We'll see I got Attorney Bill Green,

he's the studio. And Adrian she was here last time. Okay,
she almost She liked family with me because I get
emails called Reverend Granny. You know, I get I never
get it right though. Is Reverend Adrian Booth Johnson Reverend Granny?
You know, all these great things, but she's a personality
that really dominated my life for thirty minutes. And reason

I say that's a good thing because she kept saying
a young man named Bill, Bill and I Bill and
I Bill and I and that motivated me to say
I needed to meet you, sir. Could you tell everybody
who you are?

Speaker 2 (02:06):
Well again? Thank you for having us. And it's such
an honor to be here. I'm a big fan of
the show, big fan of WC. Okay, it's it's it's
just really an honor to be here today. And you know,
my mother had such a good time on the show.
J Johnson, my mother, I know you said and a
lot of what I currently do I attribute to her

and in her influence and watching her come up through
the ranks of corporations and different things that she went through. Uh,
and it's really guided my path.

Speaker 1 (02:38):
Yeah, because twenty five years at Coca Cola.

Speaker 3 (02:40):
Correct, that's correct.

Speaker 1 (02:42):
Now, what did you do at Coca Cola?

Speaker 3 (02:45):
I was a marketing executive at the Coca Cola Company.
And through those years, I called on the military. At
one point, I called on HBCUs. I called up while
I was here in Michigan. I was director of public Affairs.
So I had a great career and it's a great
company to work for. So and I also handled a

lot of celebrities for Coca Cola, all the African American
celebrities for Coke.

Speaker 1 (03:10):
Okay, now here's something interesting, Uh, Reverend Granny. I'm looking
at your son, your attorney, Bill Green here, and I'm
looking at his left arm because you know, he had
his arms in shape, now you know. And I'm seeing
this little thing over here. What's happening there? What's what's that?
What's that?

Speaker 3 (03:25):

Speaker 2 (03:26):
So that's called a brand. It's it's from Alpha fil Alphai. Yes, sir, yes,
sir Beta Chapter beta chapter.

Speaker 1 (03:35):
See, I'm gonna let him get it out.

Speaker 2 (03:37):
I'm going let it make a man going.

Speaker 1 (03:39):
I'm gona go and let.

Speaker 3 (03:39):
Him get out.

Speaker 1 (03:40):
Because you need mo house, you need mo house, you
need a mouse.

Speaker 2 (03:44):
Come some slack.

Speaker 1 (03:46):
But but let's talk about that whole black fraternity the
important because I remember Omega Sci Fi and it played
an important role in my life. I tell everybody I
was I was wandering through college and I know it's
not for every but I was wanted to do college
four and a half years, didn't see graduation near me,
and I played and it was with the community, and

I graduated in two and a half years, and so
it took me seven years to graduate with a degree
in mathematics. And so what did the role of fraternities
play in your life?

Speaker 2 (04:21):
Well, you know, I think fraternities and HBCUs played a
played a huge role in my life. So you know,
I grew up for most of my life in Louisville, Kentucky,
and so going to Howard University was the first time
I had seen black people in leadership roles and it
was transformative for me. And all the leaders were black,
and it was it was so important at eighteen for

me to see that, and I came in contact with
with the brothers in the fraternity and saw what they
were doing on campus. I knew the history, knew Doctor
King was one, and I knew Third Good Marshalled and
all these these great men, and it just made me
look into it. And I think what the fraternity really
did for me was exposed me to different styles of

leadership and different people that were making an impact. A
lot of the guys that I went to school with
went on to become successful business leaders, successful uh in
church leadership. I actually went to school. Some of my
frat brothers were the group Shot. I don't remember Shy
if I ever fall in love again. We used to
We used to all share a house together. But I

always tell the story we shared a three piece from KFC,
the three of us, because that was all we could get.

Speaker 1 (05:35):
So you were KFC, I was Popeye three pieces in
the biscuit brother.

Speaker 4 (05:40):
That was me.

Speaker 1 (05:41):
Man walked right down the street on Scott and Wheeler,
because that's what you You know, you think about those moments,
and of course you know you think about it, but
the memory is always better than what you what it
tastes like. You you always go back and get that meal,
and you go, something wrong with this meal, like I
can never eat chicken fried steak, and I ate chicken
fried steak in college, like it was going out of style.
You put a Ticken files take in front of me

right now, I go, what is this? And my wife
will you loved in the collegego really, I don't know
what the taste is, but that's what That's what growth is.
And when you see your son grow like he's grown
over the years of Reverend Johnson, what does that? What
does that mean to you as as a mom? But also, uh,
you know they said he went to Howard and it

opened his eyes, and you allowed him to go to
Howard what was life? And that was an instrumental thought
process because you are a thinker. You are a for
a thinking person. That's what I was my biggest takeaway
when I interviewed you. Tell us about it.

Speaker 3 (06:36):
We'll see. As a teenage mother, you know, I knew
I wanted my son to be great, and I knew
what it took to be great, and so at single motherhood,
first thing I did I worked on Bill's development and
I wanted him to see positive male role models. So
we started with my father and my brothers. And then
I wanted him to get great educational opportunities. I wanted
to know Bill known he was a black man and

what that meant. So I sent him to Howard University,
the real HU and then he played alpha by alpha.
And then Bill was more than a son. Bill was
my partner. You know, when you're a single mom and
you got kids, they're not just your kids, they're your partners.
They're your teammates. They're helping you reach that goal for
the family, you know. And then you know, I couldn't

ask for a better son because Bill had good grades.
You know, he was respectful. I never had to pop
them upside his head, you.

Speaker 2 (07:29):
Know, too much.

Speaker 1 (07:32):
He's branded twice here. You have to pop them upside
his head. Maybe the butt, maybe not the head, okay, right.

Speaker 3 (07:38):
Right right. And then I kept him in church, you know,
so he didn't fight with the church and spirituality. He
knew the importance of God in our life. And so
you know, it's just made for a great relationship with us.

Speaker 1 (07:50):
But that whole the thing that I love about this
interview is the community I reached that both of you guys,
do you know, I know it's a job. Everybody says
a job. I always tell people, say what what's the
basis of your company? And I realized Bill and Adrian
that the basis of my company is uplift you know,
at the advocacy of an HBCU or I didn't attend

a HBC, but I realized to pour in the black excellence,
you know, being able to take young people. And I
always tell people the information I have, I don't want
to take it to my grave. And if I give
you an idea that makes you a million dollars, it's
not my money because that was an idea I didn't
see anyway. And so that's why I really look at
individuals like y'all as a huge necessity. And when it

talks about black farmers, mister Green, tell us why you involved.

Speaker 2 (08:40):
Well, two things I learned from my mother. One is
the importance of intentionality. You know, you talk about dreams
and pursuing your dreams. My mother was somebody who always
embodied that. I can remember being six years old, five
six years First of all, I remember her pledging right,
she pledged in nineteen seventy for AKA and University Louisville.

And I remember some of the steps, So that did
and impact. But she always had this spirit of intentionality,
Like I remember her doing goal sheets like year by year,
this is what I want to accomplish in this year.
This is how much money I'm gonna make, This is
where I'm gonna be, this is where we're gonna live.
This is kind of carme and drive. And she would
have that for like fifteen twenty years. So I remember that.

I also remember the importance of relationship building, right, and
that's those two things I bring to the work that
I'm doing now. The nonprofit that I serve is called
the Common Market, and I am the executive director of
the Southeast Chapter. So my responsibility is Alabama, Georgia, parts
of South Carolina, and Tennessee. And so what we're doing

is you mentioned earlier, is we're building a more equitable
and sustainable local food system. And we're doing that by
helping small to mid sized farmers gain wholesale institutional selling
opportunities to sell their product into morehouse Spellman Emery the
hospital systems in Georgia. We work with twenty five different

school districts. We've had contracts with the city of Atlanta.
We've got a government contract now eight million dollar contract
to source product from black farmers and provide that product
to the eight food banks in Georgia. And so these
are different projects, different ways that we are not only
impacting farmers and black farmers and brown farmers, women owned farms,

farmers that are using regenerative and organic growing techniques, but
we're also providing that nutritious food into areas that traditionally
lack that rcious food, you know, where you have a
lot of corner stores and you have places that don't
have that access to fresh food. And so it's rewarding
on both sides.

Speaker 1 (10:53):
Right, I'm speaking with Reverend doctor Adrian Booth Johnson and
Hassanna Tiny Bill Green. Yeah, I want to talk to
you about this, Attorney Bill Green, you know black farmers,
you know here lawsuits and the subsidies, the being denounced.
When you say four states, what is the number one

product that when you look at your whole, all the
farmers you work, what's the number one product that you produce?

Speaker 2 (11:20):
I would say most black farmers first of all, can
grow anything. Right, you know, we have a strong history
and agriculture and historically speaking in nineteen twenties fourteen percent
of all farmland was owned by black people, and over
the centuries that has been denied us. And so so

now farmers represent Black farmers represent about zero point four
percent of farm land, yes, sir, yes, sir, yes.

Speaker 1 (11:48):
Sir, fourteen percent to point four yes.

Speaker 2 (11:52):
Yes. So we've grown everything and our farmers produce everything
from colon greens to squash, tomatoes, peas, to pork products, beef.
I mean they can produce anything that's given the opportunity.
And that's and that's what they will tell you.

Speaker 1 (12:11):
Now, you know, I bring up your story and before
we go to break, I want to bring up your story,
Reverend Johnson, about Ghana. You know it's America. You over that.
What are you doing over there?

Speaker 3 (12:25):
Well, you know what, just like the saying says, I'm
not African because I was born in Africa, but because
Africa was born in me. So I have a calling.
See everybody has a calling. My calling is to help
women in Africa, and so I put women in business.
They make reusable sanitary pads and sell them in the
villages so girls can go to school. They have access

to sanitary pads, so they won't mince class because right
now they have it. They're Michigan. And so my program
is called Woe You Bra and the Woe you Bro
program because in America, when you say I have my period,
in Ghana say I have my will you bra? And
so that's for my program. And that's why I put
women in business. So instead of my husband Joe Johnson,
instead of giving them sanitary paths, what we decided to

do is instead of giving them fish, teach them how
to fish. And in fact, Bill has gone to Africa
with me before he while he was in school. Because
Bill just graduated from Divinity School with his master's and
Divinity from Mercy University. Bill went with me as well,
so he has a calling on his life as well.

Speaker 1 (13:28):
See that's what it was. She ain't gonna stop bragging
on you.

Speaker 3 (13:31):

Speaker 1 (13:32):
See I love her man like your partners. You know
what I'm saying you, And I think that's important.

Speaker 3 (13:38):
You know.

Speaker 1 (13:38):
I feel so fortunate Bill an agent because my daughter
works with me. Now, she don't work for me, she
works with me. And she was in Houston and I
sat down with us. She was about to renew her
apartment lease and go, why won't you come work with
your dad? See you and I said, I said, I
promise you I would expose you to more creative work

and different options than you Ever she's, uh, she's been
in awe of the experience. And then just to go
in and see her and get a hug from her
and to sit down and have conversations with her is amazing.
So I I I certainly understand the you know, your undergraduate,
and so when your mom talks about you and see

the excellence and see the uplift that you're doing in life,
it has to make you feel what way.

Speaker 2 (14:33):
Humbled? I'm a I'm a I'm a big I'm a
big respector of history and legacy, and I just I
appreciate all the sacrifice that my mother went through to
get me here, but also my grandparents, uh and all
my all the people who have sewn into me over
the years. It's it's it's it's very humbling, uh and

and it and it makes me want to be the
best steward I can over what God has blessed me with.

Speaker 1 (15:01):
Wow, I feel blessed in having this conversation. And I'm
so glad I made the decision because she got off
the ass. She broke out in tears, you know, your
mom getting emotional.

Speaker 3 (15:12):
I can't believe you're doing this with me like this.

Speaker 1 (15:14):
You know, her hands were shaking and rolling in a
circle like this. But that's doctor Adrian Booth Johnson and
her son, Attorney Bill Green. When we come back, don't
go nowhere, because we got some great stories we want
to convey, not just stories, but stories that are changing lives,
especially when it comes to black farmers. And guess what,
Attorney Green, I'm gonna share me, share you my guardian story.
Oh okay, because I got a little farm I'm growing.

You know, I'm like, I can't sell it nowhere, but
I got a little farm because it changed my life
and it happened during COVID. Be right back with more
Money Making Conversation master Class. I'm your host, Raseean McDonald.

Speaker 4 (15:51):
We'll be right back with more Money Making Conversations Masterclass
with rough Shawn McDonald's Welcome back to the Money Making
Conversations Masterclass hosted by Rashaan McDonald.

Speaker 1 (16:06):
My guess a mother and son duo are told that
people who are there in the uplift business, but also
it's about a calling. I remember I worked that I
bem and I thought I would be I big Blue
all my life, but that was that wasn't what I
wanted to do when I woke up one day. But
I'm gonna tell you something, Attorney Green, when I made

the decision, when I made the decision a year in advance,
I was in tears, and I was nervous because of
the fact that when you make a decision like that,
because everybody you go through life, you go to college
and people put you on a track. They tell you,
this is what you're supposed to be doing. All they
wait knowing is the wife, the kids, and you're supposed
to be happy. But you had an experience in the

corporate world and you very successful at it. What happened.

Speaker 2 (16:55):
So it's funny when when people call me Attorney Green,
I know that my mother introduced them to me, because
she still refers to me as that. I haven't been
an attorney in several years. But I transitioned from being
an attorney to managing grocery stores for my top twenty
five fortune twenty five grocery company, and I was working

my way up the chain. I started as an attorney,
started over as an assistant store manager, became a store manager,
district manager, regional director. And when I made vice president,
with plans and conversations about becoming president. One day I
realized it wasn't me. And I was in a meeting
and I just I clearly heard the Lord say, this
ain't it. Wow, this ain't it. You gotta go, and

and I left.

Speaker 1 (17:40):
Was any fear.

Speaker 2 (17:43):
Times one hundred? Yeah, so much, because now that was certainty.
My wife wasn't working at the time, I had three
kids in college. I had no idea how I was
gonna make it. But I walked away and I was
I was blessed to find the common market. And there
were some dark days. There were days I'm like, Lord,

did I hear you right? Because I left a lot
of money on the table.

Speaker 1 (18:07):
Sometimes when you make these decisions, they aren't playing, you
know what I'm saying. When I'm saying, you know, people
always say and I would tell you that I've made
decisions and that go over Sean. You could have planned
that a lot better. You know, you could have like
maybe not bought that might not about that may not
utification because you knew you weren't happy. But sometimes we
spend money when we're not happy. You know what I'm saying,
to fill the time to feel those moments and stuff

like that. But when you're happy, you tend to slow
it down and you tend to be able to see
your future better. And that's what you're talking about right here, and.

Speaker 2 (18:35):
That's what I'm talking about. I haven't missed anything. The
Lord was faithful and gave me everything back and then
so and I have a career now that suits me.
The one I had before it was fine, and I
was very blessed to have it. They really took care
of me, but it wasn't me. It wasn't who God
made me to be. And this is and so now
I have the opportunity to work directly with people who

have that legacy that I was talking abot, that history,
that respect for the land. And an example I'll give
you is Maddie and Curtis Collins who own EKC Farms
in Cobbtown, Georgia. That farm has been in that family
since their ancestor, Elizabeth, was freed from slavery. Wow, how
many acres one hundred acres that he gave that her
former owner gave her when she was freed from slavery.

And that farm is still in their family. So I
feel that my role in helping that family find opportunities
to sell their product is my role in the civil
rights movement. It's my role, it's my place in history,
and so I don't take that for granted, and it's
an awesome opportunity for me.

Speaker 1 (19:40):
So when you walk into this farm like that, how
do you introduce your relationship and how what did they
tell you? I'm sure they just lay down a litany
of frustration of what has not happened and the fear
of failure, which means losing your land. How do you
because you have a great personality when I'm standpointed, is
very calming, you know, very as they say, bedside matter

talk to us. How that approach is done.

Speaker 2 (20:05):
Yeah, the farmers that I've had the honor of working
with still have hope. Yes, they still believe one and
what they're doing, and many of them are not doing
it just to feed their families, although it's part of it.
They have this feeling that what they're doing matters. It
matters to the generations after them, it matters to the
community to have this food out there. So they're still hopeful.

So they're saying, Hey, this I can do. I can
grow anything I can do this. You tell me what
you need and and so we have a real conversation
about that, and we start slow and then we build
from there.

Speaker 1 (20:36):
You know, Reverend Johnson, when we talk about like I
was talking to your son about that decision, you know
that this ain't me, this is not the world. Can
you talk to about audience about overcoming expectations? Because people
can expect you to go to college, People expect you

to get married, people can expect you to have children.
There's a lot of expectations people put on people, but
don't ask them what do you want? How does an
a listening to my talking to my audience, how does
one deal with expectations?

Speaker 3 (21:12):
Well, see to me, you know, being a minister to me,
you have got to know what God has for you.
And God has something for everybody. And so when God
gives you a vision here for what, He'll also give
you the provisions. So people have to learn how to
step out on faith, you know, be intentional, be strategic,

never give up because God has given you the grace
and God is with you. And when God is with you,
there's nothing that could stop you. And so in fact,
I had Bill at seventeen years old and I still
wanted to have another child. And so I met Joe
when you got married, and I had a child at
forty four years old. I had Jayla Amani Johnson. Jayla is.

Whereas Bill went to Howard, I said, we send Jaylah
to you at the Michigan where Bill was the University
Kentuckut Law School. We send Jaala to the London School
of Economics. Jala was going to be my global child.
And so I can't let people's expectations determine anything about me,
because God has a higher calling. So you got to
listen to that small, still voice. And so when that

voice tells you, that's what you do. And you got
to understand it. Sometimes things are going to be tough
and it's going to be a bend in the road,
not the end of the road. And so I tell
my women in Africa, don't ever give up. God is
with you, and when you got Him on your side,
that's all you really need. Wow.

Speaker 1 (22:37):
Now you in the process of raising funds, correct.

Speaker 3 (22:41):
That's correct for the women in Africa for my Will
You Brought program?

Speaker 1 (22:44):
Tell us about that.

Speaker 3 (22:46):
So I need money to put more women in business.
What I do is I buy storm machines, fabric, I
give them micro funds. I hire people in God to
train the women. Take women from the ages thirteen to
fifty eight. It doesn't matter how old you are, how
young you are. I take women so that they will

be able to have a skill. The skill is sewing,
and I give them the tools they need, which is
a sewing machine. And so it takes money for me
to buy all of that for them, and to train people,
to hire people to train them. And I've even added
a component, a medical component where I have doctors now
come and to give them examinations and I exams, and

so it costs money to do that. So if people
can go to my website www dot wohyebra dot org
and make a donation, that would be a blessing and
woejegras wo yeb r a dot org, that would be
truly a blessing that I could keep doing the work
God has me to do.

Speaker 1 (23:49):
Well'mt to tell you this, this has been an amazing show. Again.
This is the only time I'm gonna have y'all on
the show together, because y'all, y'all, y'all a blessing. I gotta,
I gotta, I made this happen one time, Reverend Johnes,
but you solo from now on, and mister Green, I
won't call them attorney like you've been calling them attorney.

Mister Apo from the Big Age, the Only Age, and
he says, thank you for coming on the show. Brother.
You know again, this is not something that I want
to be one. I want. I want. I want to
bring some of the farmers on the show, if you
don't mind. I want to hear their stories. I want
America to hear their stories. You know, because I think
that when we talk about independence, we talk about the

past and see people who are who are history, they're
living history. You're telling me somebody has one hundred acres
that was given to them by the slave owner. Wow,
I want to talk to that person in that family,
not the person who's giving that. I can't do that,
but there's an oral history that they've been told about
that they want to do. And of course I want

to continue to support you and Goana West Africa and
what you're trying to do. So again, you know, I'm
gonna hear you in the fall. I'm gonna hear me
summer because I gotta bring these farmers on this show,
I got to let people know what's going on. I
know I ran out of time to tell you about
my love farm that I got at my office. But
when you come back next time with a black farm,
you're gonna hear that story. Is that all right? That'll work?

I really appreciate that. As we close out the show,
Reveran Johnson, thank you for taking the time. And I
know you calling in from you know, the big state
of Michigan, you know, but I appreciate you. I love
she gonna get me all the details, all the details. Again.
This has been another edition of Money Making Conversation master

Class hosted by me, and thank you and all my
guests to come on the show. And I want to
thank our listening to audience and join us next week
and remember to always lead with your gifts and keep winning.

Speaker 4 (25:49):
Thank you for joining us for this edition of Money
Making Conversations master Class. Money Making Conversations master Class with
through Sean McDonald is produced by thirty eight to fifteen
Media Inc. More information about thirty eight fifteen Media Inc.
Is available at thirty eight fifteen media dot com. And
always remember to lead with your gifts
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