Ani Mercedes is a Miami Girl who believes in women empowerment and its importance to the community. She is an artist, an educator, and the founder of You’re Already You— an educational resource that helps ambitious dreamers (finally!) learn to manage their money, goals, and time.
At the age of five, Ani and her family moved from the Dominican Republic to the American Midwest, where some of her best childhood memories were made. After living in Indiana for three years, Miami became her new home.
Growing up in Miami, she truly believed that the city wasn’t the place for her. Hungry for knowledge and education Ani didn’t find the people she could relate to. She wanted to go away from Miami as far as she could. Her dream came true when University of Chicago accepted her on a scholarship. Miami’s farewell to Ani was her teacher’s words saying that the only reason she was accepted to the university was her hispanic background. Nothing could stop Ani, however. She left Miami to chase her dreams and didn’t come back for ten years.
She returned to Miami to be with her family. Becoming involved with the community, she quickly realized that she wasn’t the only one to leave Miami and come back more determined than before. She found the city transformed, energized and full of people chasing their dreams, just like her.
Graduate school left Ani $42k in student loans. She had a decision to make: find a way to pay off her debt and break the family cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, or follow her dreams to become an artist. She did both.
In two years, Ani paid off her student loans, produced two documentaries (both featured at film festivals and one on PBS), all while working full-time and learning as much as she could about personal finance. She wanted to help others to do the same by sharing her knowledge. This is when the idea about an educational blog came to Ani’s mind. She launched You’re Already You and started leading workshops in goal setting, personal finance, and time management, all with the goal to give women real-life tools to achieve their dreams through setting right goals.
Ani has been featured in financial publications such as Learnvest, Zerobound, and Bankrate. Her mission is to help ambitious dreamers live confident and inspired lives through real talk and measurable results.
“Dream, Girl: An Empowering Celebration of Female Entrepreneurship in Miami” is a one-night-only special film screening and community event that aims to empower women entrepreneurs to receive the support that they need.