“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” – Robin Williams
In life sometimes we must take risk, we must step outside of our comfort zone to achieve the things we want. In order to make something possible you must have a level of confidence in yourself so that no matter what happens you will not give up before turning that idea into a reality. Todays motivational feature is about Shanea Phillips, a young woman who took a simple idea and turned it into a reality and how it is now becoming bigger and better then she ever imagined; here is her story….
Who is Shanea? Tell a little bit about yourself
I’m just a North Carolina A&T graduate trying to change the world one small step at a time. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people, building relationships and connecting people in my network to opportunities. This and my passion for helping others influenced both my career and entrepreneurial paths. I work full-time as a Marketing and Communications Associate for a national nonprofit that raises and grants funds to fight HIV/AIDS. In my “spare time” I’m either in class working toward my Master of Public Administration degree, planning the next Brunch N’ Grind networking event or spending time with friends and family.
What is brunch n grind?
Brunch N’ Grind, LLC (BNG) provides networking brunch parties for young black professionals in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. BNG attendees can expect unlimited food and drinks, great music and an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals.
When did you start brunch n grind? What was the motivation behind starting brunch n grind?
It all started after I hosted a brunch party for my 24th birthday. As I looked around the table I saw engineers, accountants, PHd students and marketing executives and thought we need more opportunities like these! More opportunities to just break bread, grab a few drinks and really connect on a personal level. Brunch brings people from all backgrounds together (as food and libations usually do) and is a great avenue for networking and meeting new people. Most importantly, I saw a need for more networking and social events for young black professionals in NEW JERSEY! Many professionals are trekking to New York every weekend when there are so many talented people and opportunities right here in the state.
In August 2015, I nervously took the lap of faith to start Brunch N’ Grind to serve as an avenue for young black professionals to advance their personal and professional goals. The first one had about 40 people come out to eat, drink, network and socialize and I decided to keep it going
What keeps you motivated ?
Honestly, I’m motivated each and every day by the people around me. So many of my peers, especially black women, are building and starting movements that support and uplift our communities. Thinking about the bigger picture inspires and encourages me to keep going. I realized directly after college that it is about both WHO and WHAT you know. It is becoming increasingly important to build a network and establish social capital while make these career and business moves. Knowing that I can help people accomplish this through my brunches encourages me to improve and grow to reach even more people.
How much has it grown since you started?
It’s amazing to see how much Brunch N’ Grind has grown in the past year and a half. As I mentioned before, the first event had 40 attendees, now we reach capacity at each brunch with nearly 100 young black professionals in attendance. The growth is inspiring, because it shows that we are fulfilling our mission to provide a space for people to gather, make connections and support each other
As you continue to expand brunch n grind, where would you like things to be in the next 2-3 years?
In the next 2-3 years, I hope to offer brunch events more frequently to offer more opportunities to socialize and connect. Additionally, I plan to expand to other cities that have a large young professional audience, but like New Jersey may lack opportunities to come together. Now that I am a year and half into running the business, I plan to create a strategic plan that will outline business goals for the next few years and a plan on how to get there. Part of that is looking into sponsorships and partnerships to offer even more on a bigger and better scale.
What advice do you have for young women like yourself?
Believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to! I know this may sound cliché, but I find myself lacking confidence and second guessing myself more often than I would like to admit. It’s so easy to scare yourself out of a brilliant idea by thinking you aren’t ready or capable to pull it off! I would say, the first step is believing in yourself, building self-confidence and taking that leap of faith to put yourself out there. Once you do, you’ll realize that you are more than able and fully equipped to handle anything that may come your way. You see a problem? Take initiative and get it done. Lacking in an area? Educate and train yourself or partner with someone in your network.
Where can people go to find out more about brunch n grind?
You can visit www.brunchngrindnj.com for more information, upcoming events and to sign up for updates. You can also follow us on Instagram @brunchngrind!
Let Tay Tell It