What Services / Products Does Your Business Provide?
Own Your Expertise training program gives women the skills to transition from 9-5 work into consulting so that they can increase their earning potential, expand their career options, and know that they have the skills to fly solo whenever they want to or need to.
How Long Have You Been In Business?
Formally running this business for about one year, but I've been coaching and speaking on career and professional development for 7 years.
Why Did You Start Your Business?
By some estimates, half of the working population will be freelancers within the next decade. I don't want women, and women of color especially, to be behind the curve.
I was also tired of seeing professional women lack the skills and support to thrive on their own and, as a result, feel stuck in burnout, overworking, depletion and under-earning. I consider equipping oneself with the business skills to fly solo to be a powerful and political act. I believe that self-employment skills are survival skills that should be in every woman's toolbox because when you have the skills to fly solo, you have the option of leaning out of a system that was not designed for you to thrive, opting out of career paradigms that are riddled with inequalities, and leaning into a career of your own making.
So owning your expertise is personal, political and even a radical act for women who have existed within social, economic and political systems that have historically owned our expertise, both figuratively and literally.
What Has Been The Toughest Part About Being In Business For Yourself?
Filtering out all of the gurus and marketing noise and zooming in on the tools and tactics that match my energy, how I want to show up for my clients and the ultimate vision for my business.
What Was Your Dream Job As A Kid And Why?
An attorney and a writer--and I'm both! I loved the idea of having tools that I could use for the advancement of myself and my community. I've always considered the power to write and to advocate for yourself and others as critical tools for self-actualization and freedom. Both skills have served me well.
What Woman Inspires You And Why?
My mom. She's the proud daughter of a farmer and a maid and was born on a former plantation in South Carolina. My grandparents were determined to give my mom the education they didn’t have, and my mom went on to become the first in her family to go to college. This was the first of many firsts—my mom was the first African-American woman to earn a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Clemson University and later the first African-American, male or female, to receive a Ph.D. in applied economics from Clemson. She is also the first African-American woman in South Carolina to win her party’s nomination for Congress.
She and my dad have always been very involved in civics and community development. My mom was involved in state and local politics and worked to set up affordable housing so homeless people wouldn’t be displaced when the Olympics came to Atlanta. My parents let students who couldn’t afford college room and board stay in our guest room. Our whole family spent Saturday mornings knocking on doors campaigning for political candidates and drove people to the polls on Election Day. These were all just things we did.
And her many professional accomplishments pale in comparison to the active, loving, present mom she is. From every sports meet, to the birth of my kids and their first few months, to planning my wedding while I was studying for the bar exam--she has always held me and my three brothers down. She's this fierce combo of grounded, salt-of-the-Earth community leader, deep intellectual, and forwarding thinking visionary. She's always growing, she's always learning and she has this buzzing vibrancy about her that draws you in.
What Will Be The Biggest Challenge For The Generation Of Black Women Behind You?
There are so many messages about what's safe, acceptable, desirable to be. The challenge will be tuning out the noise, opting out of the grind, leaning out of structures and systems that don't work for them, and stepping into their role as CEO of their careers and lives.
Where Can We Find You And Your Business?