LaKesha, a native Baltimorean, is a student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore pursuing her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration and Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice. In addition to being a lifelong learner, LaKesha is a full-time mother, employee, part-time radio personality, and entrepreneur. She gives back to her community by serving underprivileged youth, providing training and mentorship. Additionally, she shares her talents with the community by coordinating the largest LGBT festival in the state and working part-time as an adjunct faculty for an adult literacy program. Check out her many ventures by going to her website at wonanddoneprograms.org.
PWH: In three words describe your writing style?
Neeuq: Raw, real, relational
PWH: when did you get your start in writing?
Neeuq: Initially, this book served a much different purpose. I am a PhD student and wanted to take an unconventional approach to internship. Not only was I approaching a leadership topic from the follower’s perspective, I elected to write sort of a tell-all book. This wasn’t a self-help. Leadership book. It was a personal story describing traumatic events and the leaders that shaped the nucleus of my followership and view of leadership.
Once my project was due, the deliverable was to have it published. Here I am, an author.
PWH: What inspired your book “For those who suffer among us?”
Neeuq: In my life, I’ve experienced common atrocities that change the way adolescents approach adulthood. I was sexually abused and assaulted by the age of 14; became a teen mom, was a domestic violence victim from 18 to 23, suffered from depression and anxiety and have been homeless. As an adult, employee, and student, I experienced abuse in the workplace and classroom. I was at the brink of responding with violence when bureaucratic measures failed. I went to therapy and was diagnosed with PTSD. It was only then that I was able to conceptualize and piece together the connection between my trauma and views.
PWH: Tell us about Won and Done services?
Neeuq: When I was 19, as I muddled through this thing called life, I wrote a program that would defragment the services that I was having done much trouble navigating (housing with children and a mental health issue and unemployment). I wanted to help girls who shared my experience circumvent the additional trauma. As the years went on, my experiences and skills changed, and the program evolved to what it is today. Boys, girls, and LGBT youth are the target audience of this comprehensive mentorship program with a vision to eradicate teen pregnancy and promote intergenerational parenting while developing leadership and entrepreneurship skills. I offer training, workshops, support groups and referrals to other services such as mental health and drug treatment. The Non-profit status was recently approved, which I am absolutely ecstatic about. I am in the process of researching and applying for a few grants and developing a fundraising campaign.
As an arms business, the for-profit sector provides CPR/AED/BLS and first -aid training to the community, business consulting, event coordination, and decor. I am a life coach and am developing my public speaking skills to be a better motivational speaker. The website is www.wonanddoneprograms.org.
PWH: What is your message to young girls in entrepreneurship?
Neeuq: Find a niche and a mentor. So many people are quick to jump on what is trending. Those fads fade quickly, sometimes leaving you in a worse position. Evaluate your skillset and work hard to improve and develop it. Surround yourself with good people that enhance your vision. Research. Research. Research. Know your craft inside and out. Plan well into your future and execute the goals one by one. Your coach/mentor should be able to guide you and hold you accountable! Lastly,
Lead, follow, and inspire!
PWH: Do you have any upcoming projects?
Neeuq: A couple of things. I have been asked to ghostwrite a few stories. I’m working on the male perspective of trauma and overcoming obstacles. I don’t have a lot of time on my hands so I’ll take on one project at a time.
The big project for my non-profit is a much needed juvenile diversion program for my hometown, Baltimore, MD. This program will alleviate the perpetuation of the school to prison pipeline. Our disenfranchised children have become the target of the inequality of the justice system. Many families lack an adult father figure, this is starting to hold true for those who are parenting as teens. We have to break the cycle!
To learn more about neeuq visit Wonanddoneprograms.org
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