It Girl | RIAN REED
I love when the universe provides us with what we need when we least expect it. This interview was so timely and full of wisdom. Rian shares so many gems about building relationships, finding community, and the importance of self care and saying no.
Name: Rian N. Reed
Job Title/Company: Educator Entrepreneur/RianReed.com
Education Background: M.B.A., Jack Welch Management Institute, B.Ed Elementary and Special Education, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
I am an Educator Entrepreneur who is using the digital space to empower. As an Educator, I impact academic and social-emotional growth for students within the K-12 public school system. As an Entrepreneur, I designed a Lifestyle Empowerment brand at RianReed.com, which is the home of the Reminisce: The Empowered Lifestyle Magazine, Reminisce: The Empowered Podcast and the #BlueCheckBookClub.
2. What sparked your interest in your work?
As the former State President of the NAACP Youth and College Division, I found that my daily work as an educator alone did not feed my soul allowing me to use all my talents and skills to cultivate change at the intersection of life and impact. I was thirsting for an environment where I felt most empowered so I created it for myself and others. A place where people felt empowered to give, share and grow through living authentically in their truths. A space where people can cease to be pushed into one dimensional boxes but be multi-talented, multi-dimensional beings through an empowered lifestyle in careers, home life, relationships and political engagement and more.
3. Who are you most influenced by?
I have a three-way tie between Maya Angelou, W.E.B. Dubois and Niccolo Machiavelli!
4. What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
I started my first job in high school working as a waitress at a retirement home. I held that role for about two years before I transitioned to college to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education.
5. Can you share one of your proudest achievements with us?
I could share about the time I spoke at Harvard University on Culturally Responsive Teaching or the time I shared an originally written piece at my own college commencement ceremony, but the proudest achievement for me would be becoming a big sister. Being the eldest of 5 and a sister is a role you are born into, but it also a lifetime journey of building relationships. Being a sister to my sister meant learning to listen, learning to support, learning to give constructive criticism and learning to love. We empower one another through our experiences. I am proudest just to say she is my sister!
6. If you are side hustling, tell us about your full-time job. If you do this full-time, share when you made the switch.
As an Educator within the K-12 System with almost 7 years of experience, I enjoyed inspiring the voice of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are often stigmatized and not celebrated for their gifts and talents. This stigma is even in the hearts of other Educators that I encounter and therefore, I find value in celebrating what my students can do well rather than overly focusing on their areas of growth. In my full-time job, I am the voice alongside their voices that understands neurodiversity, their human right to education and a fulfilled life.
7. What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
My work is definitely ever evolving but remains constant through my WHY to empower. I gained this passion for education and advocacy in my youth and those seeds have not left me yet. My mission to create community through purposeful opportunities and resiliency was heightened through a new strategic lens after I obtained my MBA. Furthering my education beyond a typical teaching track has aided in shaping the transformation of the vessel in which my WHY lives. I do not foresee a time when my work will ever stop evolving as evolution is growth!
8. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned through starting your brand?
Relationship building is the most essential skill needed to thrive in my work because it is centered around empowering people. People are the most important capital to impact change, therefore, I invest in the stories of our community by providing space to live and reflect on what it means to live and empowered lifestyle. The digital space has played a major role in how I am able to engage with people nationally and internationally. This also includes living an empowered life for myself. The combination of strategically using social media as a vessel for people to grow within and the understanding of the value of relationship building makes life an experience for thriving in my personal life and my brand.
9. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
In 5 years, I hope to have reoccurring online courses to help people learn skills such as how to launch a digital magazine. I also like to provide business development consulting to individuals, small businesses and non-profits. The vessel through which this will occur is vast such as annual retreats, webinars, meet-ups, and speaking engagements. I’d also like to continue on my path to build strong families and communities through social change projects.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
My typical day begins by being awaken by my Alexa at 6:00am. Then I quickly scan my goals for the day. Lately, that has been to take 10,000 Steps a day. Then I check the time and my calendar before getting washed and dressed. On my best days I pick out my outfits the night before so I can hit the ground running in the morning. At about 7am, I make a few posts related to Empowerment such as Money Making Monday Tips before I enjoy a lovely 2 minute commute to the high school that I work at from 7:15 am till 2:45 pm. When I talk to my Fiance we take turns asking each other what the favorite part about our day was. Then I make my way home and take a nap before eating dinner and engaging with clients, book club members and recruiting writers for Reminisce: Empowered Lifestyle Magazine. I also make any needed updates to my website and participate in Twitter chats. One of my favs is #blkcreatives. Then I reflect on how successful I was on completing my goals and if I need to adjust my strategy moving forward. I pray expressing gratitude for the day and then pray for the day to come. Sending protection and guidance to my loved ones before enjoying a wonderful night's rest.
11. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your goals?
One of the largest obstacles to launching my business was anxiety around working full time and launching my brand. I had specific expectations of myself and what I want my brand to look and feel like, but sometimes I just do not have the human capital or financial capital to do everything I want at a given time. I had to let go and remember that building is a process. Celebrate documenting the growth instead of overly focusing on what is not happening with my business.
12. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Advice is best when applied. There is no sense in being inspired by flowery words if we fail to use what we have learned.
13. When do you get your best ideas?
My best ideas come at all hours of the day and night! I am always in a state of growth using every part of my senses to inspire me to evolve into a greater form of self in order to make the strongest impact in my community and in the world. I simply stay open to growth.
14. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
The times that I fail are the times that I put too much on my own plate. It is self-sabotaging indeed. All the planning in the world can’t prepare me for taxing myself too much. I see this as a real failure because It takes away from me investing in my emotional and physical health. It is not about balance for me but making decisions that are centered around using my time in the most meaningful way. It simply comes down to using the word “No” and applying it without regret.
15. How do you unwind?
A good nap, a good book, an empowering sermon or a good song always does the trick for me! Oh and let’s talk about the always adored hair and nail appointments!!! #Winning
16. What would you tell someone else who is interested in entering your field?
Grow as you go. Use every experience that you encounter as one that is meant to teach you sometimes. Dig deep inside of yourself and let your core shine through this work. As a start-up founder and as an educator I stay in a state of learning. It keeps me humble and it is transformational to my craft.
17. What do you hope people take away from your story?
Life is best when lived through a lens of curiosity and growth. It is not about having the answers but discovering answers to evolve into the greatest form of self. This self is not about limitations but knowing that you have choice and the will to thrive in what you decide.
18. Anything we missed that you would like to share?
When I feel like all hope is lost, I find comfort in knowing that God is still there leading me and guiding me as I evolve. Providing all of my needs.