Commited to innovative leadership and institutional change
My name is Kylila (Ka-lee-la) which means beloved. I am one who loves, or at least tries to. I have had many titles, Poet, Photographer, Videographer, Writer, Cadet, Private, Athlete, Leader, Director, etc. I have learned that the greatest successes are born from the most tremendous trials. Everyone has beauty in their life story.
Back to Blog
I woke up to a call from my dad reciting "Invictcus" by William Ernest Hensley and poetry by Robert Frost to encourage me to not let life happen to me, I need to happen to it.
He reminded me of the stories of a young Muhammad Ali who no one believed in, and wanted to shut up. He spoke of Abraham Lincoln who was committed to an insane asylum and of Walt Disney who was denied from multiple opportunities. My Dad has attended the Pacific Institute, a prestigious global consultancy that helps talented people realize their potential. He spoke of self talk, and reminded me of my Uncle who was the first governor of the Bahamas and friends of George Washington Carver and Booker T Washington. He told me of my family's ties to Tuskegee University, and reminded me of the skills that I have learned from my ancestors, their decedents , and my family of revolutionary and intelligent black people. Yes! I'm special. I remember.
You all don't know this, but I have cried after meeting with admissions counselors from various Massachusetts universities who have looked at my high school record, my college record, the work that I have done, and have told me that while I have done some amazing things, that they aren't sure that I'd be a great fit because of my commitment level. Basically some schools either wanted me to drop Poetic Change, labeled me a "privileged black girl " who has wasted great opportunities and now has to face the consequences of life, or want to take credit for my work that didn't include them. I've also been rejected from multiple business accelerators and incubators, mostly because I wasn't properly prepared with sustainable revenue models other than word of mouth referrals, and training that required me to teach it. Many of these accelerators are geared for technology companies that want to scale. Some can't grasp that I am focusing on impact first, then profits. If I build a great product with great results, the profits will come without much marketing or need for a sales team. Those that rejected me can't see that these referrals sustain me........ But, ya'll know that my network runs deep.
Now, for those who remember my crusade to graduate from Harvard, it is still going on. Cambridge/ Boston is expensive and so is Harvard. Finding the balance between adulting, creating a sustainable business, and student life is overwhelmingly challenging. It requires a new level of self discipline that I am learning. The financial burden of classes is a reason I chose to be employed part-time at Harvard Law. By working in the technology department at Harvard after a certain amount of time, I am granted free and reduced classes. I am determined to graduate with little to no student debt.
This plan was going well until I was informed a month ago of a restructuring that would force myself and a few of my co-workers to compete for one available full-time position. This presented another dilemma. I love my part-time job and the people, but could I commit full-time? I mean Poetic Change has paying clients, we are doing great work, we are very close to being able to afford hiring our first employees. Would full time employment at a demanding job jeopardize this progress? Also, by not taking it, am I jeopardizing my personal growth, well being , and education? This struggle is real. Currently, I have interviewed and I think I got the job, but our HR department is on vacation, so they have yet to inform us. We are all waiting.
In the meantime, I've been working to make Poetic Change more profitable and sustainable. A constant theme in my life has been that when I rely on other entities for my well-being by investing my time and work for them, I am let down. My leadership means well and does what they can to protect me, but at the end of the day this economy is unstable. When budgets get cut, so do people. My journey into entrepreneurship has been a solution for survival and protection for myself , family, and my talented friends.
So back to this morning.....................................................................
After I got off of the surprise phone call with my dad, I received another call from a university that is interested in me and my work, and a third one from a number with no caller id.
Normally I don't answer calls with no caller Id, but I did, and it was a call from London- Mass Challenge UK ( a business accelerator) to remind me that I only had 1 hour to submit the application for Poetic Change ( I thought I had already done so.) My computer was in my car. After rushing to put on decent clothes to retrieve it ( we park on the streets here in Boston) , I logged in and was able to fill in the last company evaluation and projection form. It's now done and submitted. I am grateful for organizations with great accountability systems and the spirit (intuition) nudging me to answer that call. All of this happened before 10 am. What a way to wake up! Got me feeling like Riley.
This reminds me of a quote from one of my mentors,
" I know you trust God, but do you trust you?"
Trust is an action, and by trusting we must move and follow that which we trust. I'm getting better at trusting me, and moving with out apology. I can't control life, but I can control how much I plan, prepare, and react. Poetic Change is here. Dreaming is no longer necessary. It's time to wake up, reach, and be great.
Do you trust you? The world is yours. Create opportunity.