Alia Kruz

Alia-Kruz

The founder of Cagedbird, a production company and creative agency serving the community through art, film and creative expression. As a curator of events for emerging artists and businesses, she takes any project from conception to successful completion. Working in development, original content and production, her work has been seen on NBC, Fox, Vh1, MTV, Fuse TV and Hulu. For three years, Alia served as Creative Director of the Calabasas Film Festival and currently sits on the festival’s advisory board.  As Creative Director, she secured for the festival Birth of a Nation, starring Nate Parker in 2015. Alia’s quick wit, dynamic style, and work ethic are evident in the work of Cagedbird. Her passion for uplifting others, coupled with her creative talents has produced a resource for connecting people in win-win situations. Her community activism was ignited in 2007 when she worked with football legend and political activist Rosie Greir in the inner cities of the Los Angeles area with at-risk youth and speaking at schools. She speaks at schools and correctional facilities as well as teaching creative writing and art classes for girls in juvenile detention as part of the Women Wonder Writers in Los Angeles. In 2019, she launched Bail Bag, a non-profit organization that provides duffle bags filled with quality necessities to assist prior offenders with their transition back into society.

Q: Tell us about your background in the entertainment industry. When were you first interested in entertainment and how has that changed over the years? I started in comedy and made a transition to film and branding. While I still think there’s room for me in the comedy space, I find my talents are better served when combined. I love producing and can be quite resourceful. It’s a sport for me to see what can be pulled off with what is available.”

Q: Do you consider yourself a philanthropist? If so, what does that mean? Initially, I thought “no”, because I don’t feel that I give enough to be able to identify as a “philanthropist”. I believe being a true philanthropist is giving back in whatever space you’re in, even when it’s a matter of giving time and talent – these things have value. Not only are you improving other peoples’ lives, but also the quality of your own more than anything. Give what you can from where you are and where you are will grow. It’s a simultaneous process. Actually, my sincere prayer this year is, “Dear God, please let my bank account match my heart.”

Q: What is your personal philosophy about business?  “Any and everything that happens is a direct result of your own decisions. If you take a loss, you write it off as the cost of your own education and you keep pushing ahead. Don’t expect anyone to do the work for you and don’t expect anyone to invest in you unless you are investing in yourself first.”

Q:  What has been your experience from the perspective of being afemale leader? What advice do you have for other women?  “The advice I’d give other women is not to be intimidated by other people. As strong, intelligent and creative women, our power lies solely in being who you are, and when you use–not misuse—the women around you, your powers are multiplied.”

Q: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in founding and building a company? How did you overcome it?  “There are always new challenges that feel more challenging than the last one. My advice is not to give up. Some people quit.  Alot of people may start beside you but in the end you recognize that there are only a few left in the end. My advice is don’t give up. You need talent but more so you need to be one who is willing to learn, ready to put in the work and have the endurance to put your life back in order after the challenges you’ve faced are overcome.” 

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Q: What has been your biggest milestone or victory?  “There’s always an ongoing competition within myself. Once I accomplish something I look for the next thing I can I do. The biggest obstacle standing in my way has been fear – it can be stagnating. I’m working on recognizing  my accomplishments a bit more. It is important.”

Q: You have a passion for helping people. How does that mindset help you as an entrepreneur?  “I think Russell Simmons said it best when he said, “good givers are great getters”. Money hasn’t been a motivator for me, although I can see now that, perhaps, it should have been. Helping others has been my biggest motivator. The passion I have to give back has lite a fire and forced me out of my comfort zone, giving me purpose and the willpower to get things done. One thing that has been difficult for me, is accepting people’s help. As someone who relies on myself, many times the need to feel that I earned something on my own has outweighed a present opportunity requiring the help of others.  I’m speaking from experience when I say, ‘Please get out of your own way and remember that if you do not walk through the doors that God has opened for you, you cannot reach back to grab anybody else. The two go hand-in-hand.’ “

Q: What are your goals or dreams for the upcoming years?  “I  am turning several original stories into films. I plan to release my first book, “Learning How to Smile,” and this upcoming December I’m doing the first event for Humans Unite, which is a collaborative effort with many incredible artists. This first event will be a salon-style dinner with the first topic being the war on poverty. “

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