UA Little Rock Alumni Share Secrets to Success in Couple’s First Book

Drs. Stanley and Jessica Ellis, both 2011 graduates of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, share a love of life, education, and mentoring that they are now sharing with the world through their first book, “Winning is Planned: A Guide for Young Men Who Plan Their Greatness.” 

Their book, released in October 2020, is a guide and journal that allows readers to focus on their personal goals and build daily habits that propel them toward success in 66 days.

“One thing that has been very prevalent is what you choose to be happy about today,” Stanley Ellis said. “We’ve got a response to that because we are telling people that happiness is a choice, and we make that choice everyday. It’s another opportunity to shine. For us, it’s an opportunity to bless someone with the wisdom through the book that can benefit their lives and lead to their success.”

While the success strategies in the book can be utilized by anyone, the couple is writing a second book, to be released this summer, focused on helping women gain success.

“Women wear many hats as mothers, professionals, and caretakers,” Jessica Ellis said. “Women have to be extremely intentional in how we approach our success. In this book, I help them to plan their success and plan their day, which will give them time to pursue things to make them successful.”

The Ellises are educators, entrepreneurs, and investors. Married for 16 years, the couple co-owns Sille Educational Consulting, LLC and J. Maxwell Investments, LLC. They have been educating and training youth to achieve their goals for nearly three decades.

The couple also graduated together from UA Little Rock in December 2011. Jessica earned her second master’s degree in the combined program between the UA Little Rock Department of Applied Communication and UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. Stanley earned a doctorate in higher education leadership.

Both Stanley and I are first-generation college graduates,” Jessica Ellis said. “Going through our undergraduate years, we navigated our education without much knowledge about how to achieve success. For us, it’s very important to reach back to students who are like us, either first-gen or those that are struggling to find their way and navigate the educational system.”

After 15 years of leading educational workshops, the couple was inspired to write the book to share their strategies for success.

“Have you ever seen a basketball team win a championship or even a single game without a plan? You can’t just say I have a plan and it’s not written down. Otherwise, it’s just a thought and thoughts evaporate.” Stanley Ellis said. “One of the things I noticed in our workshops for young people is that they never came to the workshop with a concrete plan. We decided to develop a winning strategy for these youth so they could build a habit of planning each day. There is not an individual who wins in life who doesn’t plan for it. You have to plan to win.”

Drs. Stanley and Jessica Ellis, are sharing their secrets for success through their first book, “Winning is Planned: A Guide for Young Men Who Plan Their Greatness.”
Drs. Stanley and Jessica Ellis are sharing their secrets for success through their first book, “Winning is Planned: A Guide for Young Men Who Plan Their Greatness.”

The Ellises encourage readers who want to succeed to commit to the plan for 66 days.

“It’s accountability for each day,” Stanley Ellis said. “Most scientists say it takes 66 days to build a good habit. If they do this for 66 days, it’s likely they will continue to do it even after 66 days.”

When asked how they are successful partners in life and business, Stanley Ellis said the key to his success is knowing his wife is “always right.”

“In both of the businesses, I’m the CEO and president and Jessica is the CFO and COO,” Stanley Ellis said. “She controls the money, and she just lets me think I am running things. We allow each other the space to be who we are. I understand that she likes to hear the numbers, while I like to hear about the abstract and vision. I had to learn to communicate with her about these business ventures in the way she needed to receive it. We also have fun. I do get in trouble a lot. It’s not all peaches and crème.”

On the other hand, Jessica Ellis said that the couple complement each other and work hard to make their relationships as husband and wife, business partners, friends, and soul mates a success.

“When I met Stanley, I was looking for a life partner that went beyond a husband. I wanted someone to support me in my endeavors and work alongside me,” Jessica Ellis said. “We’ve worked on our marriage to make it work. We plan for our marriage to be successful and it’s intentional. We are friends. I’m conservative and he is liberal. He always has a plan. He has the numbers, and I’ve learned to trust him in that way. I think we compliment each other. We work because we choose to work and we understand one another and we let the other person say their piece. I think it is a choice that we make to work together.” 

The Ellises say that what makes their book unique is the focus on personally defining one’s success.

“A lot of times people think about success as a grand thing that will bring them a lot of money,” Jessica Ellis said. “Success can be losing weight or making yourself happy. You define success and what makes you happy. It’s a holistic approach to what success means for you. If you want the success that you define for yourself, this book can definitely take you there.”

“We help you to work to achieve the success you want and deserve,” Stanley Ellis added. “We don’t define it in any particular terms. It’s whatever you think your success is.”

To find out more about Stanley and Jessica Ellis, visit https://mie4success.org/.

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