We had the good fortune of connecting with Ali Gentry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ali, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When people get to the end of their life, they say their biggest regret in life is not taking more risks. Risks, in essence, is taking the chance of loss and danger. But for me, I see risk as the possibility to go an adventure that I never would have gone on otherwise. Every ‘yes’ we take even when we’re scared (or especially when we’re scared) but we see that saying ‘yes’ to the chance of receiving the reward is worth more than potentially being handed a ‘loss’. Risk has to be a prevalent characteristic of an entrepreneur, a leader, and any one who wants to move forward in life. It takes some level of risk to advance it anything we do but I believe that risk is required to achieve our wildest dreams. If we knew it was attainable, the risk wouldn’t be high. If we are pushing past our comfort zone for the chance of something amazing happening, something beyond our current place, no matter the outcome, I truly believe you will still achieve more than you could have if you stayed still, stagnate or stuck. When it comes to risk, it has played an integral part of my life and career. I run a monthly event in Phoenix for women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs. We come together, sing songs, someone speaks on a topic from the Bible, we pray and we give back to the Phoenix community by partnering with non-profits every month. This event is called ARISE. We are currently about to finish out our third year meeting. It is growing beyond Phoenix now as this season we have had people tune in from all over the United States, and now even other countries! But what if I didn’t say yes when I felt it impressed on my heart to start an event that is like a mini-conference every month? I truthfully didn’t want to say yes. It sounded like a lot of work. What if people didn’t show up? What if we didn’t have finances to fund it? What if it floundered? All great questions to ask but at the end of the day you will never know what could happen unless you say YES to the risk of loss and danger for the hope of adventure and something new, greater and better! Without risk, I wouldn’t be able to lead this amazing organization called ARISE. Without risk I would’t be preaching at my church (Renovation Church) on Sundays, traveling the country to speaking at conferences and schools. Without risk, I wouldn’t be living into all of that God has created me to be. And I believe that for each person. Risk your YES, mixed with wisdom, and watch God take you to places you never could have been without your willingness to step out in faith and take the risk to a great adventure – more than you could have imagined!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
ARISE is unique because there are many conferences that come in town once a year or many people travel out of state to attend events like the one we put on each month. Although it is not as extravagant as a days-long conference, there is a lot that goes into each event – even with specials such as singers, spoken word, painters, rappers, and musical performers! At each event we have catered food – whether delivered or a food truck, free made-to-order coffee bar, Photo Booth, table conversation games and free childcare! Our hope is to be a place during the month to get a breath of fresh air, get refueled and have a place where the girls can get together and be real, authentic and just have fun! The most amazing thing we have watched happen is how when we say YES to the risk, even when we do not know who will help, who will speak, perform, serve, this event connects us with women from all over the Valley of the Sun who are talented in many different ways. We then see how we can get them plugged in and serve others. I, for one, am grateful to have met so many around the Phoenix area that I never would have met without ARISE. It has not been easy. Some times we don’t know how everything will work out or get paid for, but somehow, as we continue to walk forward believing we are doing what we are supposed to do, God has provided everything we’ve needed, sometimes later than we would have liked (haha) but always in time! COVID was also a really tough time for us as we had to stream live each month instead of in person. At first this was extremely difficult and honestly, it was sad without the people in the room. However, we have expanded because of going live and it is something we could not have expected. What we learned as an organization through that is not all obstacles are a stop sign but an opportunity to grow in a way we couldn’t have imagined without it! ARISE is a place that anyone can come because it is all about unity. Jesus is our heartbeat and unity is our goal. We are ALL made in the image of our Creator. None better than the other. Every person has struggles, hardships, triumphs and praises. The best thing we can do is come together, be authentic, be vulnerable, share our stories, and be there for one another and to love beyond circumstances. This is how we will stand out. And I hope this is how we will be remembered!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, I love Phoenix. Well, Arizona in general. I am an avid hiker and adventurist! If my friend came out to Phoenix for the week, we would be hiking Hidden Valley Trail in Phoenix, eating at the Farm at South Mountain and visiting coffee shops along the way. Chestnut at the Vintage in the Arcadia area is one of my favorites, along with Schmooze in Scottsdale and The Coffee Shop at the Farm in Gilbert. Dinner at Cibo in Downtown Phoenix is worth the reservation (and if you’re gluten-free!), a spring training game this time of year (spring) and a drive out to Saguaro Lake with the windows down would be great options to spend the evening. Of course, I wouldn’t let a friend be here for a whole week without visiting Sedona – my home away from home! And after a day of hiking, grabbing coffee at Creekside Café, driving Oak Creek Canyon to the overlook – one of the most beautiful drives. I would be back down in time to watch the sunset and eat dinner from the patio of The Hudson before driving back down to Phoenix. There would be many other places to explore, but these are a few of my favorite places!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents, Curt and Jan, get all of the dedication for this shoutout. I am beyond grateful to have parents that raised me to take risks, seek adventure, get up when I fall down or fall short and believed in me. Although my journey was not an easy one – I was a mess for a while before I met Jesus and His forgiveness turned it all around for me – my parents never stopped being there for me and encouraging me. My dad is also the Lead Pastor at our church. He is the one who has given me the space to grow in my gifts, my talents and my dreams. He has given me grace for my race and I would not be where I am today without knowing I had a safe place to try new things, mess up, figure it out and continue on! No matter who it is for you, find people that believe in you, give you space to be you and encourage to take the risk to start the THING that is on your heart to make an impact in the world. Of course, another group of people who deserve credit is my ARISE leadership team. There are twelve women who faithfully serve each month to make ARISE happen on the third Tuesday each month. One thing I am abundantly aware of is that we cannot do this on our own. Having a team who is working in their gifts too and willing to step in makes the journey way funner, way easier, and way more enjoyable. They inspire me to keep going and make ARISE what it is as we reach over 120 churches throughout the Valley. They are the unsung heroes of this organization!
Website: aligentry.com // arisemvmt.com
Instagram: @ali.gentry // @arisemvmt
Facebook: @aligentry // @arisemvmt
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqZWsJMZYDSy_qVJrv80Kug – ARISE Movement
Other: Ali Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClPz_c0yVCjUa91u2-Gyt3w
Katrina Taylor, Taylor Griggs, Dean Griggs,