I always listen to my gut and it has not yet been inaccurate. Success requires you to stretch yourself and to find a place inside your heart where nothing is impossible.”- Pauleanna Reid
Pauleanna Reid, Journalist & Millennial Mentor
As Co-Founder of New Girl on The Block, what is the platform used for? What is your position and duties?
P: “A huge part of my success has been thanks to incredible mentors who saw my potential and invested their time and resources in me. I created New Girl on the Block, a mentorship program that is way sicker than your average, as a way of paying that forward. My partner Safia and I have used personal and career mentorship to help over 100 millennial women in six countries see beyond the limits of their circumstances and turn their distant dreams into noteworthy achievements. In my role as a mentor, I connect one-on-one with my mentees to give them advice on everything from life-planning and personal style to career and business strategies. But more than that, my mentees know that whenever they need me, they can count on me to be there. Whether that’s answering a tear-filled phone call at 3 am or showing up at their doors with care packages, I’m always ready to support my girls.”
What motivated you to write your book, Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother?
P: “Writing ‘Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother’ was truly an act of catharsis for me. In my teens and early twenties, I struggled with difficult and painful experiences that left me with a lot of emotional baggage and heavy secrets. Through it all, writing had been a means of therapy. But writing my book was a chance to really unpack my trauma and begin my healing process. It was also a way for me to start a real conversation with my mother, and open up to her about secrets I had been keeping for years. Our relationship is far better now than it has ever been. ‘Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother’ wasn’t just for me though. I wrote it for the women who know how it feels to accept less than they deserve, struggle to find their voices when they should speak up, or question their sexual maturity and readiness. I wanted to give other women a chance to find healing and empowerment through my story, the way that I had.”
As a motivational speaker, what do you do if you’re nervous before a speaking engagement?
P: “First, I pray. I ask God to calm my nerves and guide me through my speech. That’s always a comfort. Then I give myself a pep talk. I believe the conversations you have with yourself are some of the most important. So instead of giving in to the thoughts of fear, I reassure myself of my ability, my purpose, and the importance of my story. Once I remember that what I have to say could help change someone’s life, the nerves melt away. “
What are some things us millennial women need to work on?
P: “Millennial women want to have it all, but too many of them aren’t willing to make sacrifices for it. They want the promotion without the process. The glory without the hustle. That’s just not how it works. If you’ve got big goals, you have to be willing to make big sacrifices to achieve them. I run three businesses, and I love it, but making it happen is anything but easy. It means late nights and early mornings because sleep is a luxury I can’t always afford when things need to get done. I pass up Friday nights at the club and Sunday afternoon brunches because I invest that time in chasing my goals. I don’t buy every trinket that catches my eye because the goal isn’t to look like I’m balling; I want real wealth. My reputation, my sanity, and friends who don’t get my hustle—I’ve sacrificed it all to make my dreams real. I’m not saying it’s easy. But that’s what it takes. I want millennial women to realize that success is a long game. The things we sacrifice now set us up for a future where we can have all the things we really want.”
Who are some women who influence you?
P: “There are so many incredible women in my life, but there are four in particular whose mentorship I’m forever grateful for. Shannon Boodram (@shanboody) was my very first mentor. She supported me through the process of writing my book. When I wanted to quit, she urged me forward. She guided me through revision after revision. She taught me to always step my game up. Shannae Ingleton (@torontoshay) is the reason I stopped writing in a beat up notebook and started blogging. She encouraged me to trust my voice and share my writing, and eventually helped me get my foot in the door of Canadian journalism. Bea Arthur (@bbarthur) showed me the importance of using what you have and being bold and decisive. People often mention that they admire my vulnerability. Well, it was Bea who taught me how to turn my test into a testimony. Most recently, I met and began working with Rakia Reynolds (@rakiareynolds). She’s a boss at personal branding and I’m grateful to have been able to learn from her as I was in the process of rebranding myself.”
What does it take to be a great mentor?
P: “Mentorship is such a unique and special relationship. What it looks like and how it works can be different for everyone, but there are a few things that every great mentor should have. For one, experience is important. You can’t advise people on things you don’t know or understand first-hand. I’m always wary of people who talk a big game but don’t have the experience to back it up. Honesty is important too. A good mentor is open about their struggles and their failures because mentorship isn’t about projecting perfection. It’s about showing people how to push past the hard times and grow through the challenges. Ambition is definitely key as well. A mentor who doesn’t settle for mediocrity in their own life won’t allow their mentees to slack off in theirs. Good mentors are always aiming higher, taking calculated risks, and pushing past their limits, and they know how to teach others to do that too. “
Any advice for women who want to start an organization?
P: “The first piece of advice is to start. A lot of women feel they have to wait until the moment they’re 100% ready. The reality is, that moment never comes. You’ll never know all the answers. But start anyway! And then dedicate yourself to becoming the very best at whatever it is you’re creating. Spend money on the tools and resources that will make your business thrive. Don’t have a business degree? Neither do I. I simply created my own classroom to learn everything I needed to know, and you can too. Read books and magazines that will keep you knowledgeable about your industry and study CEO’s obsessively. Reach out to mentors who are doing the things you want to. And through every step of the process, commit to excellence.”
What strategies do you take to keep your brand rolling?
P: “I’m a master at execution. As soon as I add a new goal to my list, I start working on a plan to make it happen and then I set it in motion. This is how I’ve been able to create and grow two businesses—a collective of freelance writers and a community for millennial entrepreneurs—in the last year while also securing and killing other opportunities. Goals are great, but plan to get things done.
I’m also huge on collaboration. I regularly pitch to brands and companies whose work and missions I admire. I easily spend two or three hours crafting each pitch, but it’s worth the time because those carefully written emails have helped me land partnerships that have really boosted my brand. Networking is another strategy I use. I attend networking events very intentionally—I know who I want to talk to and exactly what I’m going to say to get them on board. My 30-second elevator pitch is flawless.
Most importantly, I’m a risk-taker. It’s all very calculated, but I’m not afraid to take a chance to make things happen. I recently got on a flight to New York and slept on the floor of the airport because that trip was going to help me achieve a goal I’d been chasing for a while. I’m not afraid to take risks and be uncomfortable to grow my brand, and it pays off.”
What are some quotes you live by?
Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety. – Gabby Berstein
P: “This quote is definitely a personal challenge for me as I live with an anxiety disorder and can easily get swallowed up by feelings of doubt and fear. But I’ve learned to trust that what God has for me is for me, and that the work I’m putting in will give me the results I want. I can afford to be patient because I’m certain my future is going to be golden.”
Pauleanna Reid is a Motivational Speaker, Millennial Mentor, Celebrity/CEO Ghostwriter, and critically acclaimed Author of her fiction novel, Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother. Through a whirlwind of inspirational lectures, round table discussions, and media appearances, she positively influences and challenges youth towards their passions. Pauleanna uses incredible wit and candor to empower women and girls. Her proudest accomplishment is New Girl on the Block, a mentorship program for millennial women in transition. The heart of the organization helps tackle Gen Y’s biggest challenges and equips every student with innovative solutions to get them ahead in life. Pauleanna is a leader of the new school and has successfully mentored more than 100 women globally. Every girl in the world already has the tools she needs to succeed. The primary focus is to ignite that inner power and lead a generation of women to maximize their vision and live their fullest lives. With unique teaching methods and a curriculum designed to educate, entertain, and inspire, New Girl on the Block effortlessly converts shy girls into career-savvy confident women.