I’m excited to feature our MogulMoxie® Maven, Shemeka Brathwaite in this interview post. I’ve gotten to know Shameka and her work, primarily thanks to the National Speaker’s Association (NSA) Facebook group. Shameka is a certified life coach and professional speaker who has a wonderful, empowering life story — so grab your favorite beverage, settle in and prepare yourself to be inspired!
[box] If you’ve been following this series you know this is certainly not the first time I’ve met and built wonderful and lasting relationships through Facebook groups and other social media platforms. I encourage you to keep discovering ways to connect with others through social media! Training programs like the Tweeple Impact Academy and Social Media Magic Lab can help. [/box]
I’m always inspired by people’s educational journey. Tell us about your educational background.
I earned a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fashion Design from Syracuse University.
I attended the High School of Fashion Industries where I was able to earn both a high school and vocational diploma.
I am a New York University Certified Life Coach and practitioner of the world’s most trusted personality assessments: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong’s Interest Inventory.
I am a lifelong learner, so I am constantly investing in my professional development.
I know that being a lifelong learner requires ambition. What does ambition mean to you? What role has it played in your life?
I believe in living a purpose-driven life and consider myself to be a very ambitious person. I want to enjoy all that God has in store for my life and leave an impactful legacy. Every day, I am growing in my faith and comprehension of understanding God’s promises that I am fully equipped and supported to achieve success. It gives me the confidence to step out and try different things and accomplish new goals.
You’re definitely in the process of leaving an impactful legacy! Please tell us more about your business and career.
As for my career, currently I work full time in higher education where I have the opportunity to manage a program that allows me the opportunity to recruit, educate, engage and empower the next generation of leaders of educators. My path to becoming a professional development expert became clear at an early age. I was a natural leader and was elected by my high school peers to serve as freshmen class representative, sophomore class president and student body president during my junior and senior years. One of my responsibilities was to serve on a search committee to hire a new assistant principal. It was then at age 15 that I discovered my talent for identifying top talent.
In my business I’m a keynote speaker, trainer and coach. I started speaking professionally ten years ago. I am fiercely committed to guiding emerging leaders to achieve profitable intergenerational relationships, strategic career planning, and mobility so that they can become the top-echelon performing members within businesses and associations. Organizations hire me to guide their millennials in addressing dysfunctional team dynamics, low engagement, and retention.
We all know that our success over time so often boils down to how we move through each day. Tell us about a typical day in your work life?
I am juggling multiple responsibilities in a full day and it is NEVER typical. I am very thankful for my virtual administrative team, especially my administrative manager Fluer, who is able to help me get things accomplished for my business while I’m managing my full-time career and family.
It’s great that you have a team of committed people working with you as you move through your daily “busyness.” Tell us a little more about what motivates you.
I am motivated by living intentionally, working purposefully and maximizing my value.
Intentional living is critical to success, and still we can experience some personal doubt. Have you ever struggled with confidence or courage in your career? Tell us about it and how you’ve overcome the struggle.
Yes, there were times when I felt challenged with my confidence or courage in my business and career. I had to “grow” through it. I’ve utilized prayer, scriptures, gospel music and conversations with my supportive husband Ezra or close friends.
You have found some wonderful sources of support! Share with us one of the toughest things you have had to do in your professional life and what you’ve learned from it.
In business and in my career, the toughest thing I had to do was take risks when I didn’t know what the outcome would be. What I learned is that everything is a teachable moment. I’d rather live a life of “oh well,” then “what if?” Now I know how to approach things differently and have new perspectives. That is one of the beauties of growing wiser over time.
And as you’ve grown wiser, I’m curious — what has been helpful to you in increasing and managing your cash flow?
I make sure I have multiple streams of income and that I’m thinking about new ways that I can maximize my value. I have always been a person who was able to manage and budget my money very well.
It’s fabulous that you’ve always been able to manage your cash flow so well. This makes me want to know how you see yourself. Do you consider yourself unusual, strange, weird, or pretty normal?
I consider myself to be unusual. That is why I am very intentional with surrounding myself with other dynamically driven people because iron sharpens iron.
And you are a dynamically driven person yourself — you’ve got Moxie! What have you accomplished, created or built that makes you the most proud or brings you the most joy?
My greatest creation is my son Elias. He is such a dynamic little person with unlimited potential. I am joyful that I have the opportunity to support him and nurture his development.
You share about being “joyful,” and I love that word! What’s your favorite word and why?
Faith. It is the core of everything for me and my relationship with God as a Christian.
Your faith has filled your life with meaning and purpose that positively impacts others, and I know people recognize this quality in you. What awards or honors have you received that make you the most proud?
My award winning poem “Virtuous Woman” is published in the anthology entitled, Our Stories, Ourselves: The EmBODYment of Women’s Literacy. I was able to impact so many people through my performance of that poem. There is an interesting backstory to what inspired me to write it. I was working all night on a project for my fashion design class in college. I felt like giving up. The words to the poem got through to me and any other time in my life where I needed the extra motivation.
I am also proud that I was able to complete graduate school with a 4.0 gpa. I had so much in my life to balance all at the same time, and I was able to do very well.
Awesome! I hope you count this interview among the many things you’ve also done well! I know our readers are curious about what’s next for you. Tell us what’s coming up that you want our readers to know about?
I’m looking forward to having an exciting year with a few new projects on the way and excited to be able to work with professionals and organizations that can utilize my services.
What else would you like to share that hasn’t been asked?
A college student of mine one said to me “What I like about you is that you are not only a go-getter, but a bringer backer!” I chuckled, but I do believe in serving my community through active involvement in civic organizations with missions to educate and empower. I have served on the local, regional, national and international level with several organizations that uplift the African American community.
How can our readers keep up with you?
Readers can connect with me on my website at www.shemekabrathwaite.com. I’m also active on social media. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Shameka’s story is filled with her desire to live with intention and purpose! Her heart-felt sharing leaves us with many TAKEAWAYS . . . here are just a few:
★ Not wanting miss out on any growth opportunities, Shameka took risks even when she wasn’t sure of the outcome. In her words: I’d rather live a life of “oh well,” than “what if?” When we are sure of who we are and what we want to accomplish, we will see many risks as opportunities.
★ Shameka surrounds herself with other dynamically driven people because “iron sharpens iron.” Let’s do the same, and choose our associations wisely!
★ Working with a team that is committed to success is critical because it allows us to move forward more confidently and leads to everyone’s success!