De Real Story-
I was born in New York, but raised in St. Thomas Virgin Islands. There I had a great life of sun, fun, beaches, and culture that nurtures the soul of Black girl. I attended the University of the Virgin Islands (America’s ONLY HBCU outside of the contiguous US!) under the idea of wanting to be a music teacher (I love music & singing) but wasn’t inspired by learning all the theory behind it. I always loved teaching, history and love creating things on my computer (remember MS Paint? –too old? Ok.) So I figured there has to be some way I can do all of these things together right? Of course not! Because I had no idea what it was called and my lovely university didn’t offer degrees like that yet. My only thought was that I would have to major in computer science (yuck!) –and that’s a far, far cry from my right brain way of thinking, so I changed my major, gaining a BA in Social Science and Secondary Education.
#UVIBucs Class of 2001! UVI I need shirts! Just saying.
#teamnatural since 2001
Fast forward a few years, my legit job (like getting benefits and stuff) was being a high school teacher. And I was a young teacher too, only like 21 sheesh! Anyway, I LOVED teaching high school and making an impact on the lives of students, but that love wasn’t enough to pay my bills and I saw myself spending more on creating my classroom supplies than saving or re-investing to make it grow. I legit created an entire class set of a textbook (pictures and everything) on holiday weekend just because –and I have the cut from the binding machine to prove it! Doing those textbooks over the weekend lit a fire in me again knowing how much I loved creating instructional materials. I also wanted to create my own small business to grow something of my own but didn’t know what –again I was confused and wondering… how can I merge these passions and purposes of mine? I left my little island home thinking I would attend school once again and get a master’s in something education??? (Look out Sallie Mae!!! SMH)
De Mama & Entrepreneur-
Life happened… I got into a relationship and had two beautiful babies who are the sweetest sons ever, but instead of getting a master’s degree (MAs are expensive as hell!) I earned a BA in Visual Communication- Graphic Design while pregnant with my first son. So while I’m at home taking care of my son, I started a design business to help pay the bills. Again, the tug of teaching came back but I still wanted to merge both together… but how?
My relationship grew toxic and I lost a sense of myself. I was all ready to throw in the towel, give up on myself, let my dreams die, but then my best friend started to pour into me. I was asked who are you and what do YOU want to do? That question shook me and I knew I needed to explore it. I started reflecting, meditating, praying and writing out who I was, where I stood in terms of values and where I saw my life going and the impact I wanted to make in the world. This mental shift helped me leave the toxicity behind, double down on my business and create something amazing that teaches and shows women, especially Black women, how to create an expertise or education brand that uses our knowledge and cultural personality to make an impact on the world our way.
So did I ever figure out how to merge my passions together? Yep definitely did.. And I did it my way. I called it Brand Ya Flava and Brand Flava University. With Brand Ya Flava, I help entrepreneurs design their education brand for the best user engagement and learning experience –but I do it with cultural personality and flair. In Brand Flava U, I teach you how to create your branding and instructional content to grow your business. So yes, where there’s a will there’s a way… and I found a way to teach my way. And you can too!
Mama Lauren & the Goo-Goo Bears having fun. I LOVE theme parks! #bigasskid
My Book -Brand Ya Flava Branding Guide & my website scribbles.