Pageant Atterberry, owner of Atterberry Academy Beginnings Childcare, which she opened in 2008, is an entrepreneur with style and flair helping to shape child development for Detroit’s youth today. the nutritional base of urban youth did not come from far away. One of eight children, Atterbury grew up in a home of mostly male siblings and woke up every morning at 5 a.m. to help open her mother’s daycare.

“It was the beginning of this journey, which I did not realize at the time. I witnessed something great that was to come from this later,” she said. “I went to school for something that had nothing to do with childcare, and then you go back to where you started and realize that’s what you’re good at.”

The entrepreneurial mistake clearly took its toll on her at an early age.

“In high school, I would come to class with candy and sell it to students and friends.” Her supply of candy and snacks came from trips to the store with her mother and asking, “Hey mom, can you buy me that big jar of candy?”

With high demand and little money to offer, little Atterberry made a good profit thanks to his mother. So, in senior year, she decided to take it up a notch. “I started selling shoes and purses.”

That entrepreneurial bug continued after high school, when she used some of her financial acumen to rent an event space for her new start-up business, PBA Royal. “I wanted to teach girls about modeling, dancing, acting and theater. During that period of my life, it was all about taking what I loved to do, knew how to do, did well, and turning it into money.”

As evident from her name, Pageant, pageants are something she often signed up for as a teenager and did well.

“It was something my mother instigated. My mom had six boys at the time and I was her first girl, which she really encouraged [pageantry shows].”

Emphasizing beauty, elegance and her intelligence through flamboyance was an extracurricular activity for Atterbury, but in a family of boys, she was a real athlete, like the boys, and wanted to play sports. Growing up, she ran and even played soccer.

However, cultivating the development of young girls from her upbringing and family business or becoming a professional athlete were not her career aspirations.

Before college, she joined a summer program at Wayne State University, where she met a group of students studying journalism and discovered the cool factor of watching their television news. She told the instructor that this could be a potential career she would like to learn. “Oh, you want to work behind the camera,” said the instructor. “No, I want to talk on camera,” Atterbury replied. “Oh, once you clear your acne, then you can get in front of the camera, but not right now,” the instructor replied.

Atterbury said she was deeply hurt by the comment, but she used the blunt response and reality as motivation to pursue a career in the field.

She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in communications, broadcast journalism, from the University of Detroit-Mercy. She eventually left Detroit for Washington, D.C., where she earned a master’s degree from Harvard University. She will become a correspondent for a news outlet covering DC politics.

She eventually returned to Detroit to focus on being a new mother to her son, Porter.

Working as a radio station producer and reporter back home allowed her to meet the late Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. Napoleon’s passion for youth talent shows and Pageant’s experience in youth and performing arts coincided. An opportunity arose to work in his department as the director of communications. The position allowed her to network and meet people in all sectors of government, business and youth organizations.

After her tenure at the Sheriff’s Office, the relationships she developed helped fuel her growth and expansion of her daycare and other business endeavors. It was a full circle return to entrepreneurship as she knew life growing up and being inspired by her mother.

“I knew I could be better at what I give, and I do,” she said. “All my students wear uniforms; all my teachers are qualified. We have performing arts; we help parents who cannot read with jobs and other household resources; we are more than just childcare.’

“We realized that you can’t just pour all this love and knowledge into the child, we also pour into the parents so that the child has a healthy environment.”

Atterberry has appointed PBA Royal as the umbrella company for its growing portfolio of businesses, from childcare to janitorial services and traffic management supplies.

Despite her active business lifestyle, she remains humble and does it in style. “My dad was the fashionista in the family. He inspired me,” she said. “When I was a kid, I begged my mom to buy me sparkly pants because I always wanted to dress like my dad and not wear jeans.”

Atterbury said you’ll probably catch her wearing jeans once a year. Fashion has become a way of self-expression, a contrast of shyness and a girl’s ability to express herself well in words. It was something she would grow out of as a communications major in college, and something she helps students do every day — their ability to find and express themselves through the care her centers provide for children throughout Detroit.

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