While most college students focus on their studies, recreational activities, and perhaps a job or two, Brittany Rose did all that and more. As a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, she founded More Than Cheer, a sports management company dedicated to empowering youth through cheerleading and dance.
Now in its 12th year, what began as a mobile startup helps hundreds of young people each year with their academic and athletic development, at the company’s flagship location in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Those who know Rose know that her confidence and dedication to helping people came from her two greatest influences—her parents. A former real estate agent and firefighter-paramedic respectively, her mom and dad now own and operate a local Skrimp Shack restaurant in Winchester and a food truck that services D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
“My mom gave me a strong mindset and positive outlook,” says Rose. “I think if there’s a single thing that has made the biggest impact in the trajectory of my life, that was it. And from my dad, it was the idea that there is always an opportunity to find a way to achieve what you want. They really raised me to not place limits on myself and the older I get, the more astonished I am by how many limiting beliefs don’t exist for me because my parents didn’t give them to me. I try to pass the same thing on to the kids I coach.”
Cara Everett has seen firsthand the effect Rose has on the kids at More Than Cheer, her daughter Skye has been a student there for more than five years. Though an extrovert, Skye’s confidence level took a dip when she began middle school but rebounded back up through her work with Rose.
“I was fascinated by Brittany right when I was introduced to her, it’s hard to believe she is the age that she is. I wanted to have my daughter work with her, another young African-American woman and take a page from her book,” says Everett.
As the pandemic took a toll on the world of competitive athletics, one that became apparent pretty fast, Rose saw an opportunity. The enterprising entrepreneur realized that the country’s new reality created the perfect time to put into place something she had long considered. She shifted away from coaching for competitive cheer and moved towards the overall personal and athletic development of her students.
Rose used the downtime to focus on classes, their after school program, summer camps, and anything she could think of to ensure the type of environment that helps girls grow as people, not just athletes.
The former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader believes everyone should use their personal story in marketing their business because it shows not just who a person is but also why their company makes a difference. She also encourages people to see opportunities where they can, even in things that some may consider a barrier, such as being a woman of color.
“When you are a woman of color, there is a lot of underestimation that happens and you are able to sit in the background and see who people are before they ever even notice you are a player in the game,” she laughs.
“You find out a lot and no one really notices. But then when you open your mouth and you can speak with intelligence on a subject, people realize you could be a threat. There’s a shift that happens and it’s always interesting to me. Then you can stand out in a sea of people who don’t look like you, and it’s very easy to be remembered.”
One of Loudoun Business Journal’s “Top Women Business Leaders,” Brittany also recommends using changes that occur in life to try new things. As an example, she used the downtime at More than Cheer to delve into real estate, something she hadn’t had the time for before. This enabled her to put the framework in place to continue making her business successful post-pandemic, but with even more autonomy.
“It’s an exciting challenge,” Rose says. “I enjoy real estate because there’s so many facets, and always something to learn. Eventually, I’d like to become a commercial developer and do high-rise projects or planned communities.”
Her end goal is to start a foundation dedicated to eradicating the wealth gap, and part of that will be creating solutions so entrepreneurs of color to purchase property.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” Brittany adds and she is just the person to do it.
Marissa is a correspondent covering features of entrepreneurs, newsmakers, executives and creatives.