1. Please, can our readers get to know you? Briefly introduce yourself to our audience.
I would have to start with my values and beliefs which guide my decisions in life. God, family and community. I am passionate about serving women of color to help improve their life journey and joy.
I am a huge basketball fan, so much so that my husband and I have traveled to almost every arena in the NBA (only 4 remaining at this time). I love dancing, reading and listening to good music that just heals the soul.
I have a small collection of soul and funk vinyl mostly from the 60s and 70s and have recently gotten back into collecting new vinyl in every city I visit. While I continue to grow, I am proud of the choices I have made to become my healthiest self and would like to continue to offer that same healing to others on a journey of self improvement.
Finally, I love being open to new opportunities and adventures that will expand my worldview, and help me give resources and support to women of color while enjoying life.
2. What exactly are you into? What is your business all about?
My business overarching principles are empowerment, enrichment and education combined to offer a lifelong impact to those I serve. For the past three years, I have owned a private training and psychotherapy practice catering to mostly (but not exclusively) Black women, couples and adolescents.
I offer emotional wellness therapy and workshops to help individuals, couples and families improve their self-confidence, release anxiety or depression and assist with clarifying what they want out of life.
Along with my professional services, I continue to blog monthly and have authored two books; A Single Women’s Divorce and No One Ever Taught Me How: A Pocketbook Guide to Happiness.
Recently, I started a journal collection based on the areas emotional health, physical wellness and gratitude; all proven ways to impact your emotional and mental health.
3. What inspired you to get started?
Honestly, I would have to say I was inspired by my greatest loss to open my business. After a well fought fight with cancer, my oldest sister passed away in 2014. She was always my biggest cheerleader, she believed I could do anything and I wanted her to share in my legacy.
My first solo business name was Radiant Sunshine but when I opened the practice as a play on words; I shorten it to RS. This now has two meanings: Radiant Sunshine and Red’s Sunshine. Red
The realization that time is precious has not only launched me into action, it keeps me motivated to grow. As a child of God, social worker, therapist and teacher; my capabilities and skills were already there to have a good business; I just needed to own that truth.
Finally these inspirations helped me translate most of my own life lessons, educational experience and spiritual growth into a practice I hope continues to benefit others.
4. What is your educational background?
I received a BA degree in Sociology from Rider University and a Master’s of Social Work with a concentration of mental health, health and aging from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
I am currently a part time lecturer at Rutgers in their graduate level social work department where I have taught courses in Program Development and Strategic Planning, Direct Clinical Practice with Adolescents/Children, and Diversity and Oppression.
5. What are your motivations?
My main motivation is to be a daily reflection of God’s love. My guiding scripture being; “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
I am also motivated by Black women and their never ending support and power to spread love. Even as a young child, I knew there was something special to how Black Women loved and supported others. I hope my service to others honors our grandmothers, mothers, aunties and every woman of color that came before me.
6. What advice do you have for other people who want to do this same thing?
Trust your skills. If you have invested in your education to become a therapist, then the next step is understanding business and getting started. Continue to develop your expertise that clearly meets the needs of your target client.
Learn from those who have paved the way, get a mentor or invest in a business coach.
7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I would hope to continue growing my practice, open at least two more offices in my home state of New Jersey. This will allow me to offer more people of color the chance to improve their mental health. Personally, I plan to continue to travel, finish up my NBA arenas tour and help others live better, all while enjoying my family and friends.
8. Any present or future projects?
I recently re-launched an online community for women of color called RS Women’s Enrichment Community. It was created out of my desire to reach more women of color without them having to be in their local area.
It provides practical emotional and mental health tools, 100+ transformational resources, blogs and hours of audio, training videos and recordings on women wellness. As well as weekly community groups with interactive worksheets and/or activities.
My next project is marketing my new wellness journal and planner collection. I created a gratitude journal that I gave to my clients as a gift for my 40th birthday last year. I then realized that I could adapt a few more of my other cognitive homework techniques used in therapy into planners and/or journals.
Releasing them to the public is just one more way I plan to help those that may not have access to a personal therapist. I truly want women of color to see the power to create one’s best self is attainable.
9. What is the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in your business as a person of color?
Honestly, my challenge was connecting to my ethical and professional values. My professional requirements and the growing need to market on social media really challenged me in the beginning.
Learning to adapt to the world of social media marketing as a professional with so many unclear laws surrounding confidentiality and client privacy in social media was not initially easy. It can be a real juggling act to navigate social media as a marketing tool and maintain my professional ethical standards; I think however, I have found my stride.
10. Are you married or single?
Happily married for 8 years!
11. How can we connect with you on social media?
Here are a few ways to connect with me on social media: Instagram @freedomtoshine28 FB: @mrsshareafarmer and for all other outlets check out https://linktr.ee/radiantsunshine728
12. What is your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment is being able to maintain peace, confidence and faith in God; especially in an environment and world that doesn’t always nurture one’s individualism and unique personal beliefs.
I find that this accomplishment has trumped all the other because without my peace, confidence and faith in God there would be no joy.
13. As a person of color, what advice will you give someone starting their own business or career?
Find your real “Why” and create a clear mission for your business/career that reflects your values.
Take time to learn, understand and plan your desired results or outcomes. In other words if you can’t start the business right now at least start the research and planning. That way when the time is right to launch you are ready.
Lastly, you don’t have to go it alone; in a world full of tribes and communities; find yours and flourish!