Not all goodbyes are bittersweet.
Hello new friends! I’m looking forward to getting know you as I get back into the rhythm of doing something I’ve loved my entire life — writing. Words were my first love. I always liked how certain words felt in my mouth as I said them. I love the arresting feeling I get in my chest when I’m touched by music lyrics or a particularly gripping line in a film. I’m someone who typically means what they say; and while I often replay conversations, wishing I had been softer or more careful in my delivery, I rarely look back and regret the substance of what I said.
My Aunt Keely likes to tell stories about me as a toddler. She’s told me how I memorized and then recited the same story over and over from my favorite book, following along the page each line with my finger, pretending I could read it myself. Apparently, another time I aggressively ripped away the teeny tiniest corner of a page from her notebook and then filled every inch of that corner with little scribbles. I was trying to write like her. The stories bond us and make us laugh. More than that, they bring me closer to myself every time I hear them.
I’ve made my living with words, though not how I imagined I would. My family always told me I would be a lawyer when I grew up. I was well-spoken, persuasive, and quick with a defense. I was also obsessed with Clair Huxtable, the best TV mom ever, and the first Black woman attorney I had seen. I admired everything about her — from her diction and demeanor, to her style and Spanish language fluency. Like so many others, each weekly glimpse into Clair’s fictional life on The Cosby Show felt like training for my real-life future being a total boss at work and home. Words would get me to that future.
Thankfully, life changed my plans for the better. Right out of college, I took what was supposed to be a short detour to gain real world work experience before applying and enrolling in a top law school. I would later discover that words, and specifically, storytelling would put on me on a professional path in nonprofit and social impact leadership that would shuttle me to a truer calling. After more than a decade working in nonprofit communications, I founded a woman-powered creative agency, She Thinks Purple, where I helped mission-driven executives and entrepreneurs craft stories and pitches to attract the resources they needed to achieve their vision for impact.
I’ll never forget the feeling of launching the agency. Growing up, I always envisioned what I did for work would help others, but I didn’t know what the term “social entrepreneurship” meant and I didn’t think much about owning my own company. Throughout my college years, though, I started to think about it a lot. And, I’m grateful to have spent the past few years building a brand and business anchored in my authentic belief that for some people, making a difference and making a living cannot be disentangled. To all the clients who trusted me to help them bring their brands to life, thank you.
Nothing was broken at She Thinks Purple, but something was off. I could feel myself allowing distance between me and the brand to develop as I slowly and steadily wound down all operations. I stopped taking on new projects. My original partners all moved on to other opportunities. For the past year, I’ve been a full-time Chief External Affairs Officer. I kept telling myself (and anyone who reached out to me about projects) that I was too busy to focus on anything outside of my new gig. While that wasn’t a lie, it also wasn’t the whole truth. It felt weird to announce that this thing so many people had come to associate with me was over, even though I’ve felt that it was time to call it for a while. And while I could have done so sooner, it was hard to admit that my startup, like so many, barely made it five years.
The pandemic changed so much in the world around me and within me. I experienced new losses and gains, and I was so fundamentally transformed in the process that I no longer felt the same connection to the brand I had built. I have new questions I’m interested in solving, and I feel compelled to explore a fundamentally different way of partnering with other creatives to achieve shared social and economic goals. My vision for community-building and social impact storytelling is more expansive than when I started five years ago, though no less relevant. It’s time to say goodbye so that I can welcome in something new that has been building itself in my head and heart.
Let me clear, though, this goodbye is all sweet, and not at all bitter. It feels amazing to make room for Purple Haus, my new venture. I can’t wait to share more with you about the journey and see what we create together in the weeks and months and years to come.
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