Woman Wednesday: Lachelle

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Lachelle, Oceanside, California

“I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about my work. In fact, I am a bit of a workaholic. So, when it comes time to find extracurricular activities, my time is often limited. My day job is in marketing analysis. I also am a managing partner at Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar in Oceanside, and I am an avid reader. I love what I do, so immersing myself in my projects helps fuel my passion. I am also passionate about traveling. I like to live in different places for a week. Grab a cup of coffee there, and find a coffee shop to read in. My husband helped me fall in love with comics. I read novels and some comics growing up, but he introduced me to the medium not just as a superhero story but as a way of storytelling that I fell in love with.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My family moved around quite a bit, so I ended up spending my early college years in DLSU and then moved to CSU Monterey Bay, where I graduated in accounting. Before I became glued to a handheld device, the most entertaining mobile device was a book. I loved reading stories and making them. I would tell my siblings stories on long car rides. In a career full of crunching numbers, I believe numbers are giving us a story. I am just reading it. In my day job, that means reading numbers to help my company make sound decisions. In Panels, it helps us understand what people want.

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

ADon’t give up; embrace the challenge. Nothing is beyond your reach.

I hear people struggle with things they feel are beyond their reach. Saying, “I can’t do the things I want, I can’t start a business, I can’t get this career, I can’t find the right partner…”

I want to address how I found those things in hopes of inspiring others:
I found the right guy because I didn’t waste my time. Before my marriage, I hadn’t celebrated an anniversary with a guy. I didn’t waste time on dates that I didn’t think sparked joy. I didn’t make excuses for them. If we weren’t a fit, I was candid and wasn’t afraid to be alone. I didn’t beg to stay and I didn’t need a conversation when it was over. I hadn’t even planned to stay with my husband initially; I told him my career was important and a priority. Rather than pulling away, he respected that and pursued me.

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I was stuck in some odd jobs before I found one I loved. I pushed myself in all those jobs to move upwards. I was doing front desk/accounting for a hotel and during that time, I created a proper approval process because I noticed the sales reps were spending the marketing budget unchecked. At Panels, I came on as a soft partner and took over responsibilities from my partners when I noticed that it was overwhelming them. I don’t just do my job. I do it as if I was managing myself and then manage upwards to tell my superiors what I want and where I want to be. Recognize needs wherever you work and find ways to rectify it. This will serve you in growing personally and in your career.

When my husband told me on our first date, “I want to open a comic book coffee shop,” I was a bit incredulous. However, as I learned more about him, I was excited to push him towards that dream and told him how much having a business was part of my dreams. We pushed each other, did hours upon hours of research, detailed and checked one another. The biggest lesson from this is that you should work to bring the best out of people. Push them to pursue their dreams and never put those dreams down. Also, find people around you who will push you towards those dreams as well.

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Finally, I have accomplished the things I want because I plan for them. I made less than 30-40k a year after college and I traveled around New England, visited Hawaii, and Big Sur. I was able to do that because I planned for it. Having a life where I get to explore is a priority to me. I read as much as I do because I find an opportunity to. Even if it’s on 15-minute breaks between tasks, I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I have been harassed in and around the workplace for being female. I have been overlooked for opportunities because of male competition. I have been treated differently for being a woman. The primary place this has come from has been other women. The hesitancy to promote women, or treat women differently, or downplay the ability of women, must not come from women. Feminism means promoting pride in our work, being proud of the competitive advantage that we have, and fostering that. We can be our worst enemy, and we have to work to help each other overcome that.

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Woman Wednesday: Ruby B. Johnson

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Ruby B. Johnson, Sierra Leone, West Africa

“Three things: take care of your mental health, control your narrative, and work smart and do your research.” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am a mining engineer and currently work at a gold mining operation. I am also the founder and editorial director of STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine. Premiered in September 2018 with its autumn issue, STEMher Magazine is a print magazine showcasing the education and experiences of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM) academia, careers, and programs. STEMher celebrates women thriving in their careers and inspires others to fuel their curiosity and interests in STEM; the status of individuals featured range from middle school through retirement. In one year, STEMher has featured more than 50 STEM girls and women worldwide from countries like the United States of America, Australia, Ghana, Canada, South Africa, India, France, Nigeria, Channel Islands, The Bahamas, Sierra Leone, and England. All magazine issues are available for purchase on stemher.com and Amazon Marketplace.

 

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Summer 2019 Cover

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone [in West Africa]. I moved to the United States when I was 12 years old, which meant growing up and completing my middle school and high school education in Maryland. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a BSc in mining engineering and a minor in women’s studies leadership. While in college, I founded When You Believe Foundation, a program that empowers women and girls through social media engagement, workshops, and donations. In 2012, I competed in my first pageant, Miss Sierra Leone USA, with the platform of advocating for the recruitment and retention of girls and women in STEM fields, since I was a STEM college student at the time and women’s empowerment was something I was passionate about. I won the pageant and with that title, I was able to travel across the country as well as in Sierra Leone, encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM. After the crowns and titles, STEM advocacy and women’s empowerment continues to be my lifelong platform. I wanted to take this platform to another level to be able to reach women and girls I may never cross paths with, so I created STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine last year. 

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: Three things: take care of your mental health, control your narrative, and work smart and do your research. (1) From Monday through Thursdays, I work ten-hour days and a two-hour commute to and from work. Additionally, I am an entrepreneur who runs her own business creating content and putting together each issue for STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine. I also serve in a couple of ministries at my church. Life gets busy. In the last year, I’m being intentional to prioritize my mental health. Making time to rest and slow down when necessary. In order to be productive with work, I have to take care of myself by sleeping, eating healthy, exercising, spending time with God through prayer, and meditation as well as reading my Bible. I have to be intentional about making time for myself, family and friends, as well as work. It’s okay to say “no” or “not yet” sometimes. I cannot fill the cups of others when my cup is empty. It’s also okay to ask for help—whether it’s in prayer, family and friends, community, or therapy.

 

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(2) As I navigate through the professional world and life in general, I’m realizing how important it is for one to control their narrative. Of course we cannot fully control what people say about us or how they feel about us; however, I believe we can play a role in those things. The way we carry ourselves is very important. We have to learn wisdom on when to speak up or be silent. We must be our biggest defenders and tell people how we want them to treat or address us. (3) Running a business is no easy feat and it’s time-consuming. In college, I learned to not study hard but study smart. I believe that’s important to do when you are a business owner. Being that I don’t have a business or journalism background, I spend a lot of time learning—asking questions, reading articles, listening to podcasts, and everything else in between. I want this magazine to go beyond, so that means I have to put in the work. I may not see harvest immediately, but sowing seeds each day counts. All in all, I believe it’s important to know who you are, stand firm on your values, always remember your why, and never lose your humanity no matter what environment you are in. 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, feminism means being my authentic self, living out my God-given purpose, and being intentional about making a difference in the community. While working on my women’s studies leadership minor in college, I learned about intersectionality. I am a Christian woman, born and raised in Sierra Leone, a naturalized American citizen, a woman in STEM, usually one of few or only black people in some professional settings, and a family-oriented individual. I thrive because of these lived experiences but also have a heart and a curious mind to learn about those who are different from me. Feminism to me is never compromising my faith and also being compassionate to others. To me, feminism means to reach for excellence and nothing less.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Marie

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Marie, Charlotte, North Carolina

“We live in a self-absorbed society where it’s all about the selfie. It’s natural to think about ourselves because we are human, but we must fight that urge and continue to put others before ourselves. Live in your gifts; when you do, service will come naturally.” 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Organizing is my passion or like my obsession.  I’ve loved doing it since being a kid; my room was always neatly organized.  It’s something that’s always come naturally to me. After having kids, I started realizing I wasn’t living in my gifts and set out to figure out how I could best utilize them. That’s when I discovered blogging and how I could teach others to get organized. I truly believe life is better lived when you are organized. It’s my mission to help women live a better life by being organized. Currently, I’m working on a meal planning course to help women save time, eat healthier, and live better.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Fargo, North Dakota, is the place I call home (even though I no longer live there), it’s where I was born and raised and wouldn’t change a thing. The roots and people there taught me the importance of hard work and humility. These principles are the foundation of who I am today. My parents taught me many things, including never give up and the importance of having an education because no one can ever take that away from you. I am the oldest of three girls, and we all graduated from college from the same university. Sports were a big part of our lives growing up; there was a sporting event almost every weekend throughout the year. Sports taught us to be resilient and how to work with others because when you get out into the ‘real world,’ that’s what life is all about.

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: When you are serving others is when you will truly find success. We live in a self-absorbed society where it’s all about the selfie. It’s natural to think about ourselves because we are human, but we must fight that urge and continue to put others before ourselves. Live in your gifts; when you do, service will come naturally. Also, live out of your comfort zone, nothing great comes from there. If it scares you, you are on the right track. Keep showing up, do the work, consistency matters. Everything will fall into place. 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means going for your dreams—no matter how big they are and to not let anyone or anything tell you differently.  It’s also standing up for what you believe in regardless of others’ opinions.

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Woman Wednesday: Kezia

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Kezia, Warwickshire, England

The doctors told me I might never walk again. When you’re faced with that kind of news, you have a choice—accept what you’re being told or try and do something about it.” 

 

Q: Tell us about you. 

A: I’m Kezia Thomas, a recovered chocaholic and chronic dieter/binger, who used to have no body confidence, completely failed at willpower, and spent the majority of her life obsessing about what/when/how much she ate and what other people thought about it. I left that life behind me and I’m now running a business showing female entrepreneurs how to lose weight and keep it off so that they can feel confident being visible in their business. 

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was brought up to believe that the only option for me was to get good grades at school, go to university, and get a degree so that I could get a well-paid job. But university never appealed to me, so although I worked hard at school and got the grades I needed, at 17, I moved out and went to London with a dream of becoming a freelance writer.

I assumed that in London, the opportunities would be easy to find, but the reality was very different! I, then young and not well connected, ended up struggling to find work or pay my way, and after two years, I admitted defeat and asked my parents if I could move back in with them. My family reassured me that I’d tried my best and that the best option was to find a real job. So, I did. But I never stayed in anything for long; I was unfulfilled and unhappy, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I overate on a massive scale just to fill the void, managing the inevitable weight gain with all manner of diets and exercise regimes. On the outside, it looked like everything was fine, but behind the scenes, I was barely holding it together.

 

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By my late twenties, I was working in a company with good prospects—settling for the options I felt were available to me. One day out of the blue, I got struck with an illness that later led me to lose my balance at the top of a flight of concrete stairs, and the fall left me almost completely unable to walk.

 

Q: How did the accident change things for you?  

A: It was a real low point in my life—I was still young and suddenly, I could barely move, let alone exercise. It scared me senseless because my regimen of diets and workouts had always helped me to keep my weight down, and suddenly, that wasn’t an option for me. 

 

The doctors told me I might never walk again. When you’re faced with that kind of news, you have a choice—accept what you’re being told or try and do something about it. I refused to give up, so I started learning everything I could about my body to find out what I could impact. I became fascinated with the science—of nutrition, movement, and the power of the mind.  began to understand that my negative relationship with my body had been affecting me for years, well before my fall. I learned how I could maintain my weight through changing my eating habits. And I slowly formed a better relationship with food. How I was eating became as important as what I ate—I started to see a shift.

 

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When I felt my confidence coming back, I found a way to start my recovery from my accident. I put up a pole in my living room and used it to pull myself up so I could overcome the pain from the pressure in my hips and legs. 18 months later, with the help of a physiotherapist and my own brand of unconventional muscle rehab, I wasn’t just walking, but I was learning aerial gymnastics. 

 

 

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Q: How did this lead you into running your own business? 

A: Using the pole had given me strength and confidence, I wanted to share that. So, I trained and set up as a fitness instructor. The only problem was, I started to feel super self-conscious. I was worried my body wasn’t good enough for people to take me seriously. Potential clients wanted to see lots of photos and videos…and I didn’t want to be on camera at all. It made it almost impossible to market my business because I was always making excuses not to do the things I knew I needed to! 

 

It drove me crazy, and it was a massive waste of time and energy. 

 

I’d lose the weight, but it felt so difficult, and keeping it off was a nightmare. I’d starve myself, then binge-eat to relieve my stress…and all the while, I was telling other people how to get fit and healthy! I felt like a fraud, and I was so full of anxiety. I realized I needed to take stock and look at things more closely—why was my eating getting out of control again? I had to make another shift to get things back on track for good.

 

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As an entrepreneur, I was under all sorts of new pressures, and I was going through it all on my own. I’m a real high-achiever and was utterly convinced I could do it all…so I kept pushing my needs aside to give more and more to the business.  It took me a while to realize the truth: I am the business. If I’m not looking after myself, I’m not looking after the business.  If I don’t feel confident in my body, I can’t show up and be visible in the way I need to be to promote myself—I can’t network effectively, I can’t do live streams, I can’t put myself out there to attract new clients. And it didn’t matter how many courses I took on getting visible, doing PR, or making money online because I had so many issues with how I felt about my body, I never took the actions I needed to.  

 

To make matters worse, because I was constantly shaming myself for not being able to deal with this one area of my life, it spread into everything outside of work too. My self-doubt, embarrassment, and lack of confidence…it grew into this huge and terrible anxiety that was taking over my life. I knew it had to stop. I needed to do something differently. I’d figured out the what and how with my eating, but I realized there was something else to look at. WHY was I so obsessed with food and my body? 

 

I started to get curious in a way I never had before. I started to dig deeper, underneath the symptoms of my struggles (the shifts in my weight and insane sugar cravings) and find out what the real problem was. The emotional issues: the lack of self-worth, self-love, and self-trust. They were what was really holding me back. When I discovered the real reasons I was overeating, that was when everything I’d learned before about what and how to eat began to work for me in a big way. Losing weight became easy...even pleasurable! Keeping the weight off suddenly wasn’t a problem: it happened effortlessly. I didn’t even have to think about it anymore—it happened as a happy side-effect of the other things I was doing in my life. I’ve never looked back, and it’s exactly why I am so passionate about helping other women make the same changes for themselves. 

 

Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: Be tenacious. Keep moving forward after every push back, be consistent with whatever you’re doing and give it a chance to work for you. If you believe in what you’re doing, don’t give up. This is your life, and if you allow your own fears or other peoples’ beliefs to scare you or pull you away from your passions, you’ll never feel like you’re living it to the full. Go out there and make mistakes: learn from them. Know that the next time, you’ll do that thing 10 times better. 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Moesha

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Moesha, West Memphis, Arkansas 

“The goal is to keep pushing and pushing until I get the results I want.” 

 

Q: Tell us about you. What are you passionate about?

A: I am a 21-year-old full-time entrepreneur. I was born in West Memphis, Arkansas. I didn’t know what was God’s calling for me. After high school, I went to college for 3 full years and then, I dropped out. I’ve had many people say “Why did she do that,” “I don’t think that was the right decision to make,” “You had only one year left, just stick it out.” I thought at first, well maybe they are right. Maybe I should have just finished. At that moment, I realized that all my life, I had been letting others make decisions for me, even if it cost me my own happiness. I knew that the reason I was leaving college was that I wasn’t truly happy there. I wasn’t passionate about what I was in college for. I wanted to start my own journey. I wanted to create another route. Ever since I left college, I haven’t looked back once.

 

After leaving college, I founded my skincare brand, Moe Soft Skin, which I am very passionate about. Moe Soft Skin offers handmade body scrubs, facial scrubs, lip scrubs, lip balms, body butters, and more products to come! These products are all handmade by me [using all-natural and organic ingredients, such as olive oil, almond oil, sugar, and essential oils]. I figured that if I could create something that could help my skin, maybe I could help others too. I have a skin condition called psoriasis, which is basically a severe dry skin condition that cannot be cured but can be managed. This brand is something that allows me to help others in a way that I never thought I could. It allows me to express to the world that there is something out there that can help your skin feel great without using ingredients that are so rough and hard on your skin. It’s something that helps me convey a message to other women that they are beautiful in every way and to be their best selves. It is something that is truly apart of my happiness. 

 

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As I continue to build my brand, I am constantly thinking of new ways to deliver better to my customers. I am always working up new ideas to incorporate into my business. I am just working on expanding my business and one day, I know my business will be one of the best skincare brands out in this world. With all the hard work I put in, I know that it will pay off in the end. The goal is to keep pushing and pushing until I get the results I want.

 

 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I would say that I had a pretty nice childhood. I had the most fun times with family and childhood friends! My mom was big on education. I had always been an honor roll student from kindergarten all the way up to my senior year of high school. I was pretty active as a child. I started cheerleading when I was in 2nd grade until 9th grade. I started dancing when I was in 6th grade and I didn’t stop until 12th grade. These activities have taught me to be the best that I can be in life and to keep pushing, no matter how hard life gets. They also taught me to be a leader and not a follower. To simply just be me!

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: The advice I would give to other women is “You have the power to be anything you want to be in life, so just be you.” Nothing and no one is stopping you from reaching your full potential but yourself. Go for it; it is never too late! I have sacrificed so much throughout my journey and honestly, I still am. Never let anyone influence your decisions for your life. Do what you love to do instead of what you see others doing. What works for them may not work for you. Your happiness comes before anything. When you have a happy life, great things fall into place for you. Train your mind to think positive thoughts. Turn every situation you go through into a learning experience.  Do your best. Trust the process. Enjoy the journey. 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is something that pushes social change in today’s society. Women are often underestimated, and many women suffer from that. You only get to live life once, make the best of it. Feminism to me is pushing yourself as a woman to do all the things that you think you cannot do. Uplift and inspire other women around you. Live life without regrets. As women, we should all stick together and root for one another. Feminism is about speaking your truth and leading others in the right direction.

 

 

Be sure to connect with me! I am looking forward to hearing from you and connecting with you all! 

 

Email: moesha.sloan@gmail.com

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