I’ve eluded to starting a business, and I can now give some specifics about it since I’ve more or less formally launched (if updating my LinkedIn and Facebook jobs counts as having ‘more or less formally launched’). My business is called Vonetta Young Advisors LLC—my brand is me!
Since I was a little girl, I’ve woken up every day with the desire to help people like me—women and people of color—our fair share of the pie. I’m living that out in my business, as I advise women and people of color who are starting their own investment funds in private equity, venture capital, and real estate. I help them articulate what they’ve done in the past, what they do now, and what they want to do in the future.
This couldn’t be any farther from writing, in a way; so much so, that I was concerned about potential clients googling me and finding my writing website before my business one. I admit that I felt that I had to hide my creative self. Financial services is not an industry always kind to creative types. In business school, I was told to focus on the “clear communication skills” I acquired from being an English major and to remove from my resume that I studied abroad for Creative Writing, and I became afraid of people knowing this aspect of who I am outside of what it could do for my corporate career.
In talking with my life coach, I’ve come to embrace both sides of myself. I am not ashamed to have a creative talent, so I don’t have to hide it. Hiding it would participate in someone else’s fear—this fear that creatives will bring diversity of thought to an industry well-known for groupthink.
I think about Carla Harris, a Vice Chairperson at Morgan Stanley (so really high up and important at an important entity) and board member of Wal-Mart. She is ludicrously smart and tough and inspiring. AND she is a singer who has made several gospel and Christmas albums, and has performed sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall. BECAUSE SHE DOES OWNS HER CREATIVE ABILITY (yelling at myself, not you, reader).
And I have to be my own brand of this. I’m the woman who is an investor, who advises investors, and writes darn good literary nonfiction and fiction under her own name. If someone has a question about it, I have an answer: it’s who I am.
As I embark on this journey of entrepreneurship—a journey I never thought I would be on because I wasn’t all that attracted to it—it’s allowed for a lot of personal and spiritual growth already. I was supposed to go to a symposium in Chicago last Friday, but my flight was cancelled, so I missed it. I was disappointed, as I thought it would be a great chance to network and get some clients in the door, but it didn’t work out. When I walked back into my house with my luggage, my spouse was waiting with open arms then said, “Oh, you’re not as upset as I thought you would be.” And that was because I have this sense that my authenticity and God’s love for me are colliding in the best ways, and if a door doesn’t open, it wasn’t for me. If someone doesn’t want a published author helping with them with their communications, I cannot help them. But God is honoring my being true to myself. All the more reason not to hide who I am.