‘I Hope You Fail’ author Aisha Cole shares life lessons at Livingstone

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

Livingstone College News Service

SALISBURY — Aisha “Pinky” Cole, CEO of the popular restaurant in Atlanta, Slutty Vegan, kicked off her book tour on Oct. 11 at Livingstone College.

Cole’s book, “I Hope You Fail,” is a motivational tool for readers who aspire to dream. Cole explained a series of misfortunate situations that led her to the title and challenged students to learn to navigate spaces and live their purpose when life happens.

Cole and her husband, Derrick Hayes of Big Dave’s Cheesecake, were escorted on a personal tour of the campus by Livingstone College President Dr. Anthony J. Davis. 

Cole mentioned her excitement in learning about Livingstone College’s history and the president’s vision. A Historically Black College and University (HBCU) graduate and former 2008 Miss Clark Atlanta University, Cole recognizes the plight of HBCUs in the nation and shared, “Livingstone College has a great history and an even greater future with students like you and leadership like President Davis.”

As students and members of the Salisbury-Rowan community gathered to share in an experience with the renowned entrepreneurs, both Cole and Hayes engaged in a simulation entrepreneurial think tank with eight Livingstone students, demonstrating how to generate thought and maximize key skills such as financial literacy, marketing, product management, negotiation, strategic thinking and teamwork. In a “one-up” game feel discussion, students were prompted with one word, such as noodle, that required a business product and pitch, permitting others to generate a better or more thorough plan for the initially shared pitch. 

A power couple and team, Cole and Hayes shared their ups and downs in the food industry and life and stressed the importance of mental health and making the best of all situations. After surveying a few student entrepreneurs, a highlight of the program featured Derrick Hayes stating his chain restaurant Big Dave’s Cheesecake will open soon in Charlotte while extending employment opportunities to student DJs Bishop and Benjamin Norman and student photographer Kaiyon Courtney. 

“I am honored to be offered an opportunity like this from young entrepreneurs who have experience and who care enough to take time to invest in others,” Courtney said. 

The event concluded with a book signing in the auditorium’s lobby.