For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.
I want to introduce you to Robin “Robbie” Williams.
Robin “Robbie” Williams is a passionate writer, model/actor, filmmaker, bow tie designer, group facilitator, and licensed real estate agent, born to Jamaican parents in Harlem and raised in the Bronx. Robin has impacted over 150 lives on two continents through her healing movement Redefining Soft—which is a movement intended to deconstruct how members of the LGBTQ+ community show up in partnerships and to challenge the community’s perception of the word “soft” and how it is used as a weapon against masculine presenting lesbian women and trans men. Robin’s love for building community and engaging conversations has evolved her list of passions. These passions are reflected in her work as the writer/director of the short film Garden of Eden, which was selected into the Creative Mind Group Short Film Corner Program at Cannes Film Festival in 2017. She is also the Editor in Chief of SOULE Magazine, and the owner of Bowtie Behavior, outfitting customers across the globe from Canada to Australia.
Here is HERstory:
Robin aims to help creatives, and those interested in entrepreneurship learn how to turn their skills and creativity into income so they can make a living doing what they love, while working towards time and financial freedom. Robin has been focused on legacy, since her grandfather’s teaching of passing wealth and property after you have passed, which led her to the real estate profession where she teaches her family how to invest and own property.
Her businesses are Bowtie Behavior, Redefining Soft and she is a Real Estate Agent, Filmmaker and Writer.
What does women empowerment mean to you?
To me, Women’s empowerment means engaging with other sisters and choosing positivity at all times. It means motivating, encouraging, giving grace, and seeing the best in one another and the beauty and power in each other’s journey.
What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?
I love to share my motto with everyone I meet: “Create your own opportunity, and soon someone will pay you for it.” Every day, choose to make time for your goals and passions, even if no one else believes in them or sees them as you do, soon they will be your biggest fans and most loyal customers. This is a motto that I’ve lived by in my life as the owner of my accessories company Bowtie Behavior, creative, and business coach. I love to motivate and inspire others, especially women of color, to chase their dreams and find ways to monetize the things that they love to do.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Legacy is extremely important to me. I think about it every day, and have the word “legacy” tattooed on my left wrist as a reminder of how I want to impact younger generations and this world. I got the tattoo 4 years ago after the passing of my grandfather. Legacy reminds me of my grandfather Altimon, who immigrated to New York City in the late 60’s from Jamaica and built a real estate empire, leaving my family with multiple valuable assets, and a true example of what being self made looks like. I want my legacy to be one that ripples through the lives of my future kids, nieces, nephews, and beyond. One of home and land ownership, assets, entrepreneurship, courage, and the biggest, and most outrageous dreams they can think of.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by my 12 year old niece Gabrielle, she is one of the reasons why I put legacy and wealth building at the forefront of my mind, she is so smart, sweet, charismatic, talented, and super competitive like her auntie (wink, wink). I am also inspired greatly by the legacy of my grandfather and his dedication to business, building, and leaving assets behind for his family. I am also inspired by my mom, her struggles, her intelligence, and her dedication to raising her children right despite being a single mother. I know that there is a lot of her within me, my creativity, ambition, and stubbornness as well ha!
What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?
The impact I want to have on those around me is one that inspires and motivates. I love to share my story, how I’ve overcome challenges, and how the journey doesn’t end until the universe says so! I want to inspire people to practice overcoming their self doubt, and to live, and dream big. Whether it is through hearing my story, interacting or collaborating with me, wearing one of my bow ties, or being coached by me, I want to inspire people to find home within themselves and know that all that is within them is all they need to shoot for the stars.
What does self care mean to you?
To me, self care is way more than a trendy buzzword. It is intentionality, it is thoughtfulness for self, it is also thoughtfulness for others because in taking care of yourself, you allow yourself the energy and capacity to do more for others as well. Self care means really finding what it is that makes you feel good, what makes you feel happy, healthy, and joyful, Whatever that is to you; and finding ways to put those things into practice on a routine basis. For me, it is essential to laugh every day, interact in my family group chat daily, have weekly calls with my niece, and start every morning with turmeric/ginger tea and sea moss, yum!
What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?
Back in July 2018, I found myself back in New York after a year and a half long failed relationship in Philadelphia. Within that year and half, I was unemployed for an entire year, had no savings and massive debt. My car got totaled with me in it, and I even lost my iPhone on the city bus, and went three weeks without a cell phone because I was too broke to afford to buy anything else, not even a boost mobile phone! I was struggling. Once the relationship dissolved and I moved back to New York, I felt deflated, frustrated, and lost, but I quickly realized that the break up was exactly the break I needed to wake me up and kick me into gear. Through a couple of writing gigs, (monetizing my skills) I was able to book a flight to Paris after receiving a request to screen my short film Garden of Eden during Paris Black Pride (making my creativity work for me). It was my second time visiting Paris and it was exactly what I needed to motivate and inspire me. When I returned to New York, I hit the ground running, I decided that I had to create my own opportunity, find ways to continue to make my skills and creativity open doors and provide for me, No longer would I sit around and wait for things to fall into place for me. I began networking and being in community and in November 2018 I created the 2-day Healing Movement Redefining Soft, which is a healing movement aimed at redefining how the word “soft” is used as a weapon against masculine of center lesbian women and trans men. Since its inception, Redefining Soft has hosted 5 events in 3 cities and 2 continents with sponsorships from The Human Rights Campaign, Miss Jessie’s, and On The Run Tour II. Also in November 2018, I was able to land a full-time job with a professional development company called Momentum Education, which has taught me so much about the coaching and personal/professional development space. And from there, my Momentum has continued, ha! With my new job I was able to move into my own apartment, and I began budgeting like a maniac. I revamped my company Bowtie Behavior, read every finance book, listened to every finance podcast I could find, and saved my way to 10k, and paid off all of my credit card debt in just 18 months through discipline, focus, and continued learning. In January 2020, I received my real estate license and I currently have two, million-dollar listings and a co-op that is pending sale, and I am currently looking to purchase my first home. The way my life has turned around in just under 3 years has been a testament to the fact that, if you dig deep and find ways to create opportunities that will not only help you financially but also keep you motivated to continue to do more, the possibilities are endless!
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
My grandfather Altimon has been my biggest influence when it comes to business, legacy, and the power of ambition, and creating your own opportunity. He is the reason why I am never okay with settling or having someone else dictate my path. My mother has been my biggest example in the way I carry myself with class and is why I am fiercely independent. My sister Michelle has always been a mentor throughout my life, I go to her for input with important decisions. My best friend Eniola has been a mentor and life coach to me since college, she is always super positive, and is my number one fan no matter what endeavor I decide to undertake, she believes in me in times when I lose confidence in my abilities.
What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
I would like to be in schools all around the United States and to start helping students learn early on how to utilize financial aid refunds and put those towards real estate investments and also how they can begin making money doing something they love instead of waiting until they graduate. With my coaching, I want to change 100 lives by December 31, 2021.