Today we’d like to introduce you to Laylah Allen.
Hi Laylah, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Thinking to my childhood, my mother insisted that I was born to teach. She even shared visions of me showing her around my preschool class. She had good reason to believe this. In elementary school, my teacher called my mom to notify that students weren’t doing their classwork because they were working on an assignment that I created to help them practice. If you’re wondering, I was not scolded. Instead, the teacher enlisted me to become a Reading Buddy with Kindergarten students at Moses Cleveland. Unbeknownst to me, I was doing exactly what I was placed here to do, educate.
Upon reaching my senior year of college, being a teacher wasn’t too appealing to me but I knew I wanted to help people. With that, I became a Nursing Major at The University of Toledo. I acquired a work-study job at The University of Toledo Medical Center as I worked my way through pre-requisites. I quickly learned that nursing was ideal for me and transitioned to Healthcare Administration with a minor in Business. I loved my business courses, there was no memorization involved–just critical thinking and problem-solving. I learned that I enjoy having autonomy over how I approached projects and issues. I later pursued an MBA at Ursuline College and developed a new love for social responsibility and managing people. I finished this program with two small children and two jobs (First Energy Call Center and Quicken Loans Arena/Brown Stadium).
Feeling unstoppable, I joined a staffing branch and became Branch Manager in 8 months. I loved connecting the bridge between businesses and employment candidates. I interviewed and hired 100 employees in one day in preparation for the RNC. While dealing with the general public, I noticed severe deficiencies in the average person’s ability to effectively interview, compose a resume, and develop healthy relationships that lead to job retention. This experience inspired me to create Melanated Millennial Consulting. Through this business, I help clients strengthen self-confidence in preparation for employment and personal development. Shortly after, I transitioned from recruitment to the nonprofit sector. I worked with individuals recently involved in the criminal justice system. As their job coach/case manager, I facilitated a workforce development curriculum and help men and women ages 17 to 72 find employment.
My work in the nonprofit sector inspired me to write a curriculum for youth. It included everything that I often found myself re-teaching or introducing to my adult clients. About a month later, an old client calls me telling me that he told the volunteer coordinator at his new job (Juvenile Detention Center) wants to meet the lady that helped him change his life. Initially nervous, I accepted the meeting and presented my youth curriculum. I’ve been provided program services at the Juvenile Detention Center before and months after the onset of Covid-19.
During the Covid-19 shutdown, I felt limited on how I could continue to provide youth services. After some thought, I created the #31DaysOfCoping social media campaign. It eventually led to my development of #ProjectCopingBox. I facilitated two online fundraisers, raising about $7000 to distribute coping boxes to youth in Cuyahoga County. Project Coping Box has evolved–we now have a curriculum and Coping Box Workbook that further helps youth and families explore their thoughts and foster positive conversations.
I am a Black Mother, Wife, Writer, Author, Creative, and Founder in the business of connecting individuals to like-minded individuals, sharing personal experiences, and introducing tools to eliminate and overcome barriers to employment and development.
What’s next for me? I’m working on expanding my portfolio to include services in the realm of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health. While I love where I am now, I know that amazing experiences and opportunities await.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
All roads aren’t smoothly paved. I can say the same for my journey. I believe that my greatest struggle is battling myself. I still deal with combatting negative thoughts about myself from time to time. Studies show that the deepest undisclosed thoughts the average has about themselves are 77% negative. And for every negative thought, you need about 20 positive thoughts. This is mental warfare that is no stranger to me or anyone for that matter.
In most situations, we may not have the power to change things but we can control how we choose to respond. I literally talk or journal myself through my negative thoughts by remembering that I have a choice. I choose what I believe about myself. I choose how I comfort myself. I choose the friends and connections I make. The key is to hold on to what you KNOW to be undeniable true and remember examples of times that you’ve conquered something. I hold on to it and I let it give me strength to be the best version of myself.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I learned early in my career that doing work that you love is energizing and it fuels your productivity despite hardships and unexpected changes. In early 2021, decided to walk away from my day job and give my nonprofit, The Missing Link, COPE Inc and my business, Melanated Millennial Consulting the proper nurturing they needed to grow.
With a primary focus on positive youth development, The Missing Link, COPE Inc creates opportunities for people empowerment. We partner with schools, nonprofits, hospitals, and other organizations to provide programs like Project Coping Box, Coping HeARTs, Synergy for Teamwork, and Career Exploration. We’re focused on empowering individuals to improve communication skills, build self-confidence, and adopt healthy ways of coping with life’s daily stressors. We emphasize the importance of providing education to combat mental health stigma. All programming is designed to inspire participants to find their source of motivation, consider how actions influence outcomes, manage stress, and explore potential career routes based on natural interests. Introspective exploration and defining productive practices will give participants the commitment to follow through on the path of life with a sense of self-confidence and purpose.
I have operated Melanated Millennial Consulting since 2017. Prior to my nonprofit work, I was a Branch Manager at a staffing firm. I often found myself taking extra steps (outside of my job description) to prepare employees for interviews. I would create/edit resumes, facilitate mock interviews, etc. I really enjoyed the process of writing and coaching that I decided to make it my side gig. As I transitioned into the nonprofit sector, my side gig turned into a business. Today, Melanated Millennial Consulting is a brand of intention and personal development for individuals and organizations–our intentional apparel line exemplifies this. We guide our clients as they explore new paths and acquire skills and tools to identify solutions, establish goals, and execute innovative plans of actions. Services include career coaching, writing (resumes, cover letters, bios, website verbiage, proposals, etc.). Visit https://c-o-p-e-inc.mn.co to join my COPE Network. It’s the easiest way to stay connected with The Missing Link, COPE Inc and Melanated Millennial Consulting.
My consulting business and nonprofit are a reflection of my commitment to helping others address issues that can potentially affect their ability to make sound decisions, maintain healthy relationships, and develop a mindset of resiliency and gratefulness.
We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
I grew up in a three bedroom house with six other siblings. My favorite escape was our community recreation center, Fairfax. This facility afford myself and other youth opportunities to participate in volleyball, swim competition, modeling, and horseback riding! These experiences still influence how I develop my interactive youth programs.
- $30 Coping Box
- $45+ Workshop Facilitation
- $45+ Career Coaching
- $50+ Professional Writing
- $15-50 Intentional Apparel
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.melanatedmillennialconsulting.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laylah_melanatedmillennial/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laylah.allen
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelanatedMill
- Other: www.themissinglinkcle.org