The Athlete, The Author, The Advocate: Crystal Hadnott

When asked what was the hardest obstacle she ver had to overcome in life, Crystal’s response was “Grief…but I used it as my fuel and made it an asset.” With this one statement alone you can get the full affect of Crystal’s character, drive, and work ethic. Crystal lives a very dynamic life and is woman with great experience, wisdom, and passion for everything she does.

Graduating from University of Houston, where she received her bachelors in Political Science, then later on to receive MPA and  Administration of Justice Doctoral degree from the Mickey Leland/Barbra Jordan School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern, Crystal has used her experiences and her profession to be an advocate for many causes. She has served as President for the Prairie View Foundation and the Principal Investigator for Thurgood Marshall Fund;  an organization that provides scholarships, capacity-building, endowment -building assistance, and programs pertaining to education, leadership development and employment. In these roles she successfully acquired 10 million dollars in funds for HBCUs and PBIs across America and the Virgin Islands.

Crystal Hadnott is a polished professional in many shapes and forms. She is an athlete, two- time entrepreneur, advocate, an author. She gives back to her local Houston Community through work with the American Heart Association, The  Houston Housing Authority, Political Campaigns, Houston City Hall, and is a Proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

❤️ A Nutritionist. ❤️ A Marathon Runner. ❤️ An African American Woman. ❤️ A Former Employee of the American Heart Association. ❤️ A Woman Dealing with Heart Health Issues. DID YOU KNOW? • Cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. • 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education. • The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians. • Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for African-American women, killing over 48,000 annually. • Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 48.3% have cardiovascular disease. Yet, only 14% believe that cardiovascular disease is their greatest health problem. • Only about 50% of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. DID YOU KNOW “STRESS” IS ONE OF THE MAIN CAUSES OF HEART DISEASE IN WOMEN? more information @goredforwomen @ahahouston @american_heart #GoRedForWomen #WearRedDay #AHA #AmericanHeartAssociation

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Crystal lives a very dynamic life and is woman with great experience, wisdom, and passion for everything she does so, It was with great honor and pleasure that I got the opportunity to interview Ms. Hadnott earlier this year for The Black Collegiate Conference. Enjoy it below:

Rachel: How did you find your purpose or Calling in life?

Crystal: I often say that I did not find my purpose. I like to think that my purpose found me.  I grew up without having resources and contacts, so I was forced to make connections, build relationships and establish partnerships.  I also had many interests which exposed me to varies arenas and environments. This drive and my opportunities developed a skill and a muscle, which made me unique.  I inadvertently became known as a connector–an expert at strategic partnerships/collaborations.


Rachel: What advice do you have for young men and women striving for success?

Crystal : In the process, you will lose people, places and things…and that’s ok. Choose the person you are becoming always.


Rachel: How do find inspiration? What is your inspiration?

Crystal: I have theme songs and affirmations all over my house. Plus, I read a letter that I wrote to myself (laughs…it works).


Rachel: What accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

Crystal: Becoming an author…opening up and sharing my life with the world. Yes, I had obtained multiple degrees, held top positions with major corporations/organizations, founded a non-profit organization, been a 2-time business owner as well as a successful athlete, but people did not know the ugly behind the pretty.  I wanted people to know the authentic me and see both sides.


Rachel: How is it working For EBONY,  how did you get to your specific position?  What are your day to day roles?

Crystal: I became an executive with EBONY magazine (now the President of the EBONY Foundations), because my background and experience, but mostly because of the relationships that I had established while in another role with another organization. My day to day changes as the industry is very dynamic within itself.  For the most part, I analyze ways to bring what cover in print and on digital to life. In doing so, link our corporation and foundation to partners to create programs and activation.  That looks different based on the partnership and/or program.


Rachel: What is your number one rule or what advice do you have when it comes to personal branding?

Crystal: Your personal brand is EVERYTHING.. protect it and never turn it off.


Rachel: How do you juggle being professionally employed as well as an entrepreneur?

Crystal: First, I am not married nor do I have kids (laughs). My professional life and entrepreneur life compliments each other and the skill set for both are transferable.  Plus, I have a team…great partnerships.


Rachel: What your life motto? What are the words you live by?

Crystal: There are several, but one: “The biggest mistake that you can is to believe that you are working for somebody else…the driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember, jobs are owned by the company, you own your career.


Rachel: What do you want people to take away from the black collegiate conference?

Crystal: Remember who you are…Had it not been…Enjoy the journey…It is “just the start”


To learn more about Crystal and her story Visit her website by clicking here

Stay Connected with Crystal on Twitter and Instagram

To buy a copy of “Finish Line Was Just the Start: A Marathon Runner’s Memoir of Relentlessness, Resilience and Renewal” click here





Rachel Williams48 Posts

Rachel is a 21 year old Management Major at Prairie View A&M University and aspires to one day own her own event planning company. Rachel has a passion for community involvement and uses blogging as an outlet to voice her opinions and inform the public about topics pertaining to religion, relationships, health, beauty, fitness, music, and other "trending topics" from an open and relatable perspective. She just recently started her own website called "Don't Forget The A", a blog and a brand that encourages individuality, confidence and healthy living as well as focusing on the importance of living to make a difference through giving back and leaving a legacy. She plans to earn her Masters in Public Administration to help her advance her career in community engagement and event planning.


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