DCFunemployment: Tell the people – Who are you?
Kenya Bryant, One in the Oven: Women’s Business Incubator, Head Vision Enthusiast and Owner
“She believed she could so she did” encompasses the vision behind One in the Oven. We carry something so important that it needs to be pursued now. It could be a dream to teach English to students in Costa Rica or a vision for a business that will change our community. We each have a vision inside of us that if pursued, even if we fail to achieve it fully the world is better off because we tried (Tim O’Reilly). One in the Oven is an incubator where women are growing in empowerment; which already exists deep inside them to fulfilling dreams and crafting reality to where life is given to their visions that are continuously placed on their hearts. It’s where women can run, succeed and establish the foundation for long term growth. It’s where passions are birthed, ideas incubated and businesses transformed from thoughts to entrepreneurial reality. There’s support, resources and mentorship to embrace every woman’s desire and move it to the next level, where she can meet an eager world’s needs. What’s your dream? What vision are you holding and how can One in the Oven help you bear it to life?
Kenya Bryant is based in lovely Alexandria, VA where she is an Entrepreneur, Vision Enthusiast, Dream Cheerleader, Advocate, Household COO (Wife and Mom of 5 Children – best job), Friend, Spiritual Gangster (Love God), and Lover of all things Chocolate. Follow Kenya as she empowers women and their visions at One in the Oven: Women’s Business Incubator and VISION Fridays: One in the Oven Group.
DCF: What does being funemployed mean to you & what was your path to funemployment?
KB: Who wouldn’t be drawn to an organization called ‘Funemployment’. I love that Morgan took a passion of living her best life and sharing it with the world (DCF: Thank you, life’s too short not to love it!). Why can’t your work be something that makes you smile, laugh and bask in the pure joy of doing that things that tickles your heart. Also, love that it showcases women of purpose and power that are creating, impacting, and changing the world around them with their trade.
I got introduced to Funemployment by a like-minded shero, that’s not only a world-changer but a believer in my vision and passion. She felt that this organization would be a great love connection and if she was being honest, I probably giggle way too much with glee every time I talk about my vision—I admit to being crazy in love with it. (DCF: As you should be!!) LOL!
DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?
KB: Wow! My first cheerleader was my Grand Dad – George Middleton (Deacon George, as he was affectionately known as). He was a very traditional man as it pertained to his views on women and their place in the home, nonetheless, he was always in my corner! Cheered me on and believed that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. He taught me that it didn’t matter what others thought of my dream or passion, as long as, God was in on it, then it was all good. LOL! He left a legacy of faith, perseverance and entrepreneurship. He owed three companies in his lifetime and that included the multiple jobs, volunteer positions and church offices he held. He was a man that believed, “to accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan but also believe.” He didn’t carry pom-poms, but sure did carry me in his heart and would invest not only resources, but also words of wisdoms; which were more valuable than any dollar. (DCF: Amen to that!!)
DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
KB: Man, it seems that life has a way of making sure you have an appreciation for your passion. I guess, if I had to pinpoint one experience, it would have to be those years, I worked as a software engineer, at a time when women and especially women of color were few and far between in the field. I had to learn to appreciate the fact that I wasn’t your “normal” engineer. I was an extrovert, fashion forward and an office clown. Not the norm at all! Yet, once I realized that my personality didn’t change the fact that I was still a “geek in stilettos”, I could have fun! Those years taught me that it’s okay to be different because that component was actually valuable to my workplace. I realize, that I’m valuable and if I make it my goal to leave a positive hand print on the space I occupy, then that space is better because I’m there.
DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?
KB: From my gentle giants – kiddos (3 sweet, powerful and yes tall rock stars). They motivate me to never give up. I want to build a legacy that creates a platform for my kids to stand upon. My ceiling will be their floor. (DCF: What a beautiful image and legacy!). I tackle hurdles, tall buildings and take audacious leaps of faith, everyday because of them. They are watching and I want them to see what perseverance, believing in the unreasonable, taking audacious leaps of faith and having a lot of faith and prayer can do!
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?
KB: Balance to me means belly laughs, pedicures, quiet moments at home with the family, road trips with my road dogs and lots of prayer. LOL! Lots of that:-)
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
KB: I had to make my faith bigger than my fears and that meant I had to take risks and be willing to be vulnerable with my vision. I had to sacrifice that place we create that allows us to hide. I had to sacrifice the opinions of others and press through no matter what.
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
KB: Being a women with vision is hard! You have to enter the room with the confidence that you belong there and what you have to say matters. I struggled with the battle between being aggressive or assertive (DCF: This is a hard balance to achieve). I realized I don’t have to bully anyone into listening to me. If I assert myself and back it with passion, tenacity, some rocking heels and banging red lip stick….I could rule the world!
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
KB: To do this work sooner. I was afraid that it wouldn’t matter to others and I’m discovering it MATTERS. Women walking out their vision and living that out matters! (DCF: Never too early, or too late, right now is always the right time!)
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
KB: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I tried to branch out into business a few times and each experience taught me something new. But, the one failure in business was the café, me and two partners took over. We were nervous and didn’t trust our own skills, so we kept old team members on and they destroyed equipment and stole money. It was crazy, but those mistakes taught me some valuable lessons of trusting the gifts and skills given to me. To listen to that God voice that says you are more capable, driven, determined than you think. Intuition is a gift…listen to it!
DCF: What is your proudest moment?
KB: Relaunching One in the Oven on January 24th 2016; which was also my daughter’s 13th birthday. I couldn’t stop smiling! And on that first day I had over 100+ likes on my FB and tons of words of encouragement! What a day! After that launch, I realized that this work really mattered, so I create a Virtual Vision Launchpad – VISION Fridays private group where now over 400+ women cheer each other on, dream and birth forth vision.
DCF: What’s next?
KB: Ah! I’m currently on OITO’s blog, new Master Discussion Group Series for the Fall and some cool Vision Storming experiences – Books in the Park, Wine & Vision Talk just to name a few. Looking forward to what’s on the horizon for OITO.
Can check out One In The Oven on: