Florist Alice Mae White Bussey was born on July 31, 1947, in South DeKalb County, Georgia, the tenth of twelve children to Oscar Curtis White, Sr., a carpenter, and Eula Belle Shepard White, a homemaker. After graduating from high school, Bussey completed her B.A. degree in sociology at Los Angeles City College. Later, she completed her second B.A. degree in urban studies at Windsor College and her M.A. degree in public administration from Los Angeles City College.
A lifelong member of Poplar Springs Baptist Church, Bussey’s ancestors were among the founders of the church more than 135 years ago.
After completing undergraduate and graduate school in California and working concurrently for the United States Department of Labor, Bussey returned to Georgia to serve as the first Labor Department federal representative of the state. In that capacity, she managed millions of dollars, conducted investigations and developed programs for the elderly, welfare clients, and high school dropouts. Bussey was also the Federal Women's Program manager for the eight state, Southeastern Region. In 1985, Bussey became the first woman elected as president of the Atlanta Business League.
After her marriage to florist James Bussey, she began her career in the floral industry. Soon, she became the first African American FTD florist in Atlanta. Having helped create over twenty new businesses, Bussey is internationally known in the industry for training small business owners. Over a thirty-year period, Bussey’s florist has grown from a local retail operation to one that does business internationally. The Busseys have traveled extensively, developing business markets throughout the USA, Europe, and Africa. They were members of former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young’s historic trade mission to Jamaica, Trinadad and Tabago, and Barbados.
Bussey serves on the board of The International Florists Association (IFA), Georgia Council of Visitors, Atlanta Private Industry Council, and many others. She and her husband are the parents of three adult children and one grandchild. They reside in Decatur, Georgia.