3x published, award nominated, author of Speak with Chic: One woman. Ten truths., God, I’ve Got Questions, and When I Met Him. Angel has over twenty years of experience teaching, mentoring, and advocating for underserved and diverse populations. As an educator and advocate, she has worked within state, federal, and international arenas. However, forty years of life experiences and lessons lived and learned as a daughter, mother, wife, sister and friend have bettered prepared her for her life’s purpose – to empower women to acknowledge, own, and embrace truth and to create spaces for them to share their stories to inspire the stories of others.
Angel created Speak Up Sis out of her own need for conversation and connection. At the core of her philosophy, she believes conversations help to build resiliency. Many women suffer in silence because they don’t have an outlet that’s safe and protective in which to share the hard stuff of life. Transparent, honest, vulnerable conversations bring about understanding and healing.
You have over twenty years’ experience teaching, mentoring, and advocating for underserved and diverse populations. Share your background.
I earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English from Georgia Southern University in May 2000 at 22 years old. I often tell people I was born a teacher. I didn’t just decide to teach because there wasn’t anything else for me to do with myself; I love teaching.
I was hired by the school/county in which I did my student teaching, Burke County High School in Waynesboro, GA and had my first high school class at 23 years old. I earned a Master of Education in Counseling & Psychology from Troy State University in 2005 and continued to teach within Georgia counties until 2010 when I accepted an opportunity to coach and mentor teachers internationally as a Consultant Partnership Teacher in English in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Once I returned to the states, I accepted a teaching position with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) and had the pleasure of teaching military children on both Fort Campbell and Fort Knox until I was offered the honor of working with our country’s most severely wounded, ill, and injured service members with the Department of Defense as an Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Advocate in Washington state. While in Washington, I missed teaching, so I worked as an adjunct professor at a local college in Portland, OR for a semester.
Now, I no longer work within the traditional education arena. I use my skills, talents, education, and experiences to teach women how to shift the trajectory of their lives to live the life they desire and deserve.
“The creative in me wanted to somehow merge creativity, conversation, and community to help women build resilience, heal and grow.” Explain.
Not only am I a born educator but also a creative person, albeit I didn’t think of myself as a creative when I was younger. I was just the little girl in school who wore the colorful outfits that didn’t really match but somehow looked good on her, lol. I grew up on the poorer side of the tracks, so I was accustomed to accepting hand-me-downs and mixing and matching to make things “work.” Therefore, it should not have been a surprise to me when I started repurposing materials to create hand-made, statement earrings as an adult.
This was my first bout with entrepreneurship while I was still traditionally employed. Speak with Chic, LLC was the first company I started. I designed and created statement earrings to encourage women to notice, stop and speak to other women. Creating these earrings with my hands helped lead me to write my first book – Speak with Chic: One woman. Ten truths. in January 2018. Once I started Speak Up Sis® in August 2018.
I have lived through poverty, childhood sexual abuse and much more, and I realized as a young woman that I could choose to narrate my own story. I cannot change the past, but I can change how I view it and use it. Through Speak Up Sis, I am able to use the art of writing to facilitate authentic conversations with women who are on the verge of “throwing in the towel” or who just feel “stuck” and unfruitful in their lives due to many of the things I have survived.
The very first Speak Up Sis Experience was held on September 9, 2018, at a woman-owned restaurant named The Grill Reign which is owned by Ms. Pamela Hall, in a small town called Graniteville, SC. The theme was “Writing to Heal.” I call it the Speak Up Sis Experience because that is exactly what it is; it’s not an event, per se. I decided to name it, not for what it is, but for what happens in the room. Women experience love, support, and solidarity in the space which, for many in attendance, is the beginning of a new journey of resilience, healing, and growth.
Tell us about what Speak Up Sis® offers.
We offer spaces and opportunities for women and men to acknowledge, own and share their stories to inspire the stories of others. Currently, we offer free and paid opportunities for people to be guests and share on Speak Up Sis Podcast. For Christian, self-published, and independent authors we have Speak Up Sis Bookshelf, an online bookstore to help authors increase visibility and tap into a new, viable community of readers. Conversations That Connect is a Speak Up Sis Talk show; it is the companion to the bookshelf where we give authors the opportunity to be interviewed. Our women-only spaces are the Krysàlis Community, Speak Up Sis Workshops and Life Strategy and Life Story Life Coaching with Angel Charmaine.
What can we find on the Speak Up Sis® Podcast?
We share the stories of everyday people on the Speak Up Sis Podcast. There is value in the lived experiences of the people we see every day, so the podcast is a platform for them to share their triumphs and lessons learned. You can expect to listen to personal and professional stories, roundtable discussions about various personal and professional topics and get encouragement and advice for entrepreneurs.
Speak Up Sis Podcast is a hybrid-styled podcast with a live video broadcast on Monday nights at 8pm EST and a recorded broadcast on audio-only platforms on Tuesday mornings.
Share with us the mission and resources offered in the KrysàlisTM Community.
Middle-aged and seasoned women have unique challenges in life that are often overlooked or minimized by them and by others. The mission of Krysàlis is to provide a community for “mature” women that serves as a place to help them to transform their mind, body, and soul at this stage of their lives within a protective and supportive environment of other women who “get it” because they are on similar journeys.
We provide courses within the online Speak Up Sis Learning University (SUSLU), access to virtual and in-person Speak Up Sis Workshops geared towards both personal and professional growth, and an online resource center with curated content from across the web that makes it easy for our members to find answers, solutions, advice to common issues in one location. Members also have access to a private group with community challenges, opportunities to network and to establish authentic connection and camaraderie with like-minded women.
What are your current events/projects that you are working on?
Our flagship space, the Speak Up Sis Experience, will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2022, in Graniteville, SC at 3pm EST. It is the first post-pandemic, in-person Speak Up Sis Experience, so we’re really excited about it.
We are also planning a Domestic Violence Awareness event on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, in Augusta, GA at 6pm EST. We will sponsoring a couple smaller not-for-profit organizations for the holidays to support their charitable missions as we prepare for the Speak Up Sis Experience scheduled for January 7, 2023 and the 4th Speak Up Sis Everyday Woman Series in March 2023.
Photo Credit: Ellie McGuire