Gina Paige, Founder Of African Ancestry, On Word-Of-Mouth Marketing And Hiring Black

Kwame Som-Pimpong
Written by Kwame Som-Pimpong
African Ancestry
Dr. Gina Paige built a team of Black geneticists for DNA testing at African Ancestry. “For us, it’s important because we’re about self-determination,” she said. Dr. Gina Paige co-founded African Ancestry, Inc. Photo: Anita Sanikop

Dr. Gina Paige joined GHOGH podcast host Jamarlin Martin to discuss her work building African Ancestry, a company that leverages DNA technology to connect people of African descent to their maternal and paternal lineages in Africa.

More than 750,000 people have taken the company’s DNA tests in efforts to learn more about their history. Dr. Paige co-founded the business in 2003 and has served as president since that time. 

She studied economics at Stanford University and has an MBA in marketing from Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Prior to launching African Ancestry, Dr. Paige worked in marketing at Colgate-Palmolive and Sara Lee Foods. 

Let’s dive into the keys Dr. Paige shares on building a team and marketing your business.

We have what we need

Dr. Paige explained the philosophy behind African Ancestry building a team of Black geneticists: “For us it’s important because we’re about self-determination and we don’t have to look outside of our community for the resources that we need to thrive. We have them all here within our own community,” she said.

Looking to find Black people who do excellent work? Here are some resources:

Blacks Who Design

Valence Community

Blacks in Technology

Black and Brown Founders

Word of mouth wins

Dr. Paige credited grassroots marketing through word of mouth as African Ancestry’s strongest marketing vehicle. The company leverages digital channels such as Facebook and Google, but word of mouth has proven most aligned with capturing the attention of the Black community.

“People, once they have their own African Ancestry experience, they then become a broadcast tower for their friends, families and others by sharing their experience,” Dr. Paige said. “We’re a people that often relies on somebody else having done it first to motivate us to do it.”

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 33: Dr. Gina Paige Jamarlin talks to Dr. Gina Paige about African Ancestry, the company that used DNA to pioneer a new way of tracing African lineages and helped 500,000+ people reconnect with their roots. They discuss whether acquiring a knowledge of self and reconnecting with the motherland is the key to scaling African-American cultural optimization and economic empowerment in America. They also discuss whether folks with resources can be “about that life” with no curiosity to visit the motherland.

Looking for best practices on building traction for your venture through word of mouth? Here are some resources:

Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Build a Strategy & Why It’s Critical for Growth – Aria Solar

Word of Mouth Marketing in 2020: How to Create a Strategy for Social Media Buzz & Skyrocket Referral Sales – Matt Warren

Why is Word of Mouth Marketing so Incredibly Important? – Megan Mosley

Dr. Paige keys include the belief that Black people have the talent we need to build companies and that word of mouth still wins in finding customers. These are reminders that self-belief and simplicity are effective strategies in building the future. Let’s GHOGH!

Kwame Som-Pimpong writes on business, technology, policy, and their intersections with black people. He earned a BA in Political Science from Davidson College and Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. He can be reached at kwame.som.pimpong@gmail.com.