DCFunemployment: Who are you?
My name is LaShawn Kenley and I am a corporate and fashion consultant in the in the DC area. I work for a staffing agency where I provide employment for administrative assistants, personal assistants, marketing associates, and accounting and hr associates. I also work in the fashion industry for All Things Fashion DC. Within this role I build revenue and exposure for various local companies by increasing awareness and memberships for retailers, and business owners.
DCF: What does Funemployed mean to you?
LK: Funemployed means you are living your truth and doing exactly what you love. You are working within your passion.
DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?
LK: My mother was my first and biggest cheerleader. With everything I ever wanted to do which ranged from singing, dancing, songwriting, modeling, to traveling all over the world, she was the first person to be in my corner telling me to go for it! Whatever I wanted to do she helped me get the education behind it and made sure I was set up to be successful that particular profession. Love her tremendously for that!
DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
LK: Every experience in my life shaped the person who I am today. In dance, you learn confidence, structure, and obedience. In singing/songwriting you learn to be free, adventurist, and artistic. In modeling in fashion you become a chameleon and learn to adapt in any environment. Within all these professions you challenge yourself in every way possible to constantly grow, and outdo yourself. Having this self- confidence empowered me to know I can be successful in everything I do. I study the field, I study who’s successful in it, and then I find my own way to be great within it.
DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?
LK: I get inspiration from everything in life. That could be patterns, buildings, art, dance, music, looking at what other people are doing in their lives, seeing people living out their dreams, day to day interactions, and just seeing other people being successful in what they do. Literally everything inspires me in different ways.
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do you find balance?
LK: Balance means stability to me. It’s not always 50/50. Sometimes you work a little harder one year and relax and little more the next. Some months you sacrifice time spent with family and friends and other months you see them more. It’s this on going give and take, which essentially creates your own customized balance. It’s different for each individual. I find balance by making sure I allocate a certain amount of time to my church, my work, my family, and my friends. This changes from month to month depending on what’s going on but I try to not let anything trump the other. My spirituality really centers me to be able to stabilize everything else. As long as I am doing what’s right and I stay centered, everything else typically falls right in to place.
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
LK: Time. I didn’t have a good balance with time earlier in my career. I worked all the time within the music and entertainment industry and aimed at my own personal goals. If I didn’t see family or friends, I was ok with that. I changed that after getting engaged and readjusted my goals and what success meant to me. Being rich in family, health, and work became my new priority instead of just personal goals.
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a woman in your industry?
LK: The biggest struggle I find is connecting with other women within my demographic. Older women love me, younger girls see me as an older sister but a lot of women my age I find it hard to engage with some of them. Usually they write me off before even getting to know me because they think I’m going to be conceited or lack of a better word a bitch. Then I actually start talking to them and they realize that I am a down to earth girl that could care less about the hype. After being around me for a while they love me! But I am very aware that this typically takes a well… and that’s only if they give me the chance and actually speak to me. I am use to this though. It literally has been going on my whole life.
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
LK: My mother always told me to keep God at the center of everything and in doing so that will allow me to never fail. It’s not as though I didn’t listen to her. It’s just I didn’t really understand it until my mid 20’s and more so after she passed and I became a business owner.
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
LK: My greatest failure is not listening to my intuition when starting a family business. I knew I should have waited to research more and to look into things more and I rushed due to other individuals wanting to move forward. I should have waited until I fully grieved my moms death in order to think more clear and then went from there. From this experience I’ve learned to trust myself more and to never make decisions I don’t feel completely sold on. There’s a reason why you have gut feelings on things.
DCF: What is your proudest moment?
LK: My proudest moment is right now. Being at total peace in life and hearing associates, friends, and family say that they’re proud of me and everything I’ve accomplished. From working in three different industries (corporate, fashion, entertainment), traveling the world, and still remaining untainted… I cherish that. I’ve done a lot in professionally modeling, singing/songwriting, dancing being on billboards for AT&T as well as in Quentin Tarantino movies while at the same time holding a corporate career for over 6 years. It’s very easy to lose your way or not be able to juggle it all. I’m proud to be able to do all that and still start my own family with my husband and continue pursuing my passion in fashion. I just recently became a board member with The Fashion Group International in the Greater Washington DC where I am the Co-Chair of Memberships. I can’t wait to help shape the path of where fashion is going in DC and what I can help do for businesses and consumers. My creative entrepreneurial spirit continues to grow and I hope that never changes!
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