You can’t deny that people are awesome. Who doesn’t like sitting down with good friends to ask them interesting, insightful, and funny questions? That’s what 11 Questions is about. I’ll be featuring some friends I look up to as well as people within the Orlando community I’ve always wanted to get to know.


I’m a big fan of the Orlando Main Streets. I think they’ve really helped give Orlandoans pride in our neighborhoods, which in turn has allowed us to be seen as a place that’s more than a tourist destination, so when I heard West Lakes was getting a Main Street program, I was pumped.

I was first introduced to the West Lakes area through Phil Hissom and his work with POLIS. With so many cool things happening in the neighborhood it’s only fitting they get their own Main Street. And the neighborhood should be excited to have someone like Antoinette as their newly minted executive director. She’s got passion, a great heart, and knows the neighborhood well. Her love for her kids is beautiful and infectious and her insight into how housing plays a role in generational wealth is much needed. West Lakes is in store for some great things!

Who in your life has inspired you?

A few years ago, a beautiful woman named Priscilla Carter passed away. She was a Florida native and had been a Central Florida resident for some time. We got to know each other while I was employed at Shiloh Baptist Church of Orlando. I often think of her, as a career woman, mother, wife, friend, counselor, church worker, and community volunteer. She was organized, accomplished, wise, giving, poised, and commanded respect. She taught me many lessons in life and love and how to be strategic in reaching goals. I continue to be inspired by her legacy.

If you could have an extra hour of free time every day, how would you use it?

Today, my answer is to catch up on work. In a more perfect future, when I am not overbooked with responsibilities, my answer is to sing and dance with my children.

Favorite book, album, or musician who has impacted your life?

It’s clear that there was a typo here, and you meant to add author to my list of choices. So, the answer is Maya Angelou. For me, she is the embodiment of strength, perseverance, self-expression, nurture, creativity, beauty, wisdom, freedom, and connectivity with humanity- so much of who I want to be. Her poetry and writing give you different size doses of those qualities and morals you can immediately grab onto.

If you could mate two different species of animals what would they be?

I think a parrot dog makes a lot of sense. Then man’s best friend might be able to verbalize more of the messages he’s been acting out all along.

What are you proud of?

Every day, my children teach me something new and reflect back to me the lessons and principles that I work diligently to cultivate in their lives. They share and spread their gifts in our home and every place we go. I am proud of my investment in their development, empowerment, and awareness. I realize now that I have also been investing in joy, growth, and love for myself and the rest of the world at the same time.

What rejuvenates you?

Music in general, singing in particular. It’s like I’m made out of the stuff. When I hear the right rhythm or melody or sing the right notes, I am electrified. My spirit just goes to ten, like someone literally turned me up with a knob.

*typing this with headphones on and volume beyond the recommended level.

Is there anything you haven’t done yet that you feel compelled to do?

I haven’t traveled enough. I have a strong desire to visit many African nations and countless other parts of the world, to experience those cultures in a more direct way, as opposed to experiencing them through a screen or speaker.

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

Balance is a fairy tale. Next question.

Best place to eat in Orlando?

Oh my goodness, who can answer that?!!! ONE place… in ORLANDO, a foodie’s paradise?! Totally unfair question. But, if you start at Indian Hut on Kirkman and order one of everything, that would be a superb start!

How do you hope to be remembered?

I hope to be remembered as a liberator; someone who helped others access the time, space, education, resources, and permission to be themselves, strive for their own goals, meet their own needs, and give freely of themselves in the way that makes them feel fulfilled.

If you were to choose a different career what would it be?

I would be a venture philanthropist. Funding is the missing piece to so many problems in our community and the world over. I think I could do a good job identifying worthy causes and feasible means for solving important problems.

Click HERE to read more “11 Questions” columns by Brian Carlson.

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  1. Very smart, beautiful & connected to so much knowledge, insight & understanding of so many important causes.