I am so blessed to have individuals in my life who trust me enough to pour into our youth. To mentor our young Queens. - Dameyonna A Willis
Stage Name: Dameyonna S Willis
Home Town: Cleveland,Ohio
Profession: Founder of Girl Empowerment Organization
Enterprise: Youth Development ,Women Empowerment
CEO & FOUNDER
In August, I was searching for 20 outstanding young entrepreneurs with an incredible stories on how they've started their businesses. I was looking generally for CEOs & Founders or project directors with unique business platforms which encompasses: social civic duties, creativity, and tech services. About 560 applicants has reached out to me to be featured. I was thrilled by the amount of responses I've gotten from them plus interacting with amazing young business owners from around the world.
I would really love to feature each and everyone one of them. However for this fall program duration we've selected TOP 100 entrepreneurs from around the globe to have their stories and businesses featured on NEECEE LEXY BLOG. Among our TOP 100 SELF MADE Entrepreneur is Ms Dameyonna S Willis from Cleveland Ohio. She is also known as Ms. Yonna or Queen Yonna. Queen Yonna, she is the founder and CEO of Queen I AM which is an organization providing empowerment programs for the young ladies in Ohio, USA.
Since Queen Yonna was a little girl, she always wanted to help people by volunteering and being a servant to her community. Queen Yonna knew she wanted to impact youth so she became a mentor in her community in Cleveland Ohio to provide young girls access to opportunities for better life.
Queen Yonna is passionated about teaching young people the high of their potential, giving them the tools and opportunities to blossom in whatever positive way that manifests. We are so privileged to have our her as our guest feature this week on NEECEE LEXY. The work she is doing to empower young girl in Cleveland is phenomenal. I want you all to take this time to get to know and learn more about QUEEN I AM movement in effort to build young excellence in city of Cleveland.
Please welcome Ms Dameyonna, tell us about yourself ?
I am Dameyonna S Wills, 24 was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I attended Cleveland public and private schools were I grew the love for youth. I wanted to be a game changer and world shaper. I had big dreams and plans to develop my voice and allow it to be heard. I graduated from High school and later went on to my secondary choice to study Humanities at Cuyahoga Community College. When I graduated, I then moved on to work on my second degree in Non-Profit Administration from Cleveland State University. I've worked with youth in nonprofit settings for little over 11 years. In that role, I had the opportunity to work with many professional organizations
Through that experiences working youth, I began to passionately inspires young ladies to love their self, respect themselves and to have confidence. I am also a mother of two beautiful blessings. Along with being a mother her, and my current organization Queen IAM has allowed me to be a mentor, facilitator, motivational speaker and many more.
How did you get start with your enterprise Queen IAM ?
I always knew I wanted to have my own youth development program. As I work for many other great nonprofit that involved youth . That gave me the experience and opportunity to learn more and create and develop my own craft. So I decided to take a leap on faith by creating a name , paying Ten Dollars for a Logo . Making a Event on Facebook and the rest was magically . My event was my first informational /Launching of the Girl Empowerment Organization. My first even October of 2016 over 40 Girls shown up to learn about Queen IAM. I knew then that my follow and purpose was to do Queen IAM.
Take us through a day in your life as a female entrepreneur.
So being a entrepreneur , you are always finding more ways to do more . To rather create more , learn more or even listen more. I say those things because entrepreneurs wake up early and go to bed late because we are chasing a dream we created. Every day I am looking for ways to stay consistent in what relationships I have developed and looking for more ways to get connected to more interested individuals to develop more relationships. Organizations who have experienced Queen IAM effectiveness and energy invites me out for facilitate workshops based off curriculum I have created. Each workshop looks different . Some days it’s a school setting or even a church setting. The topics varies from self Love all the way to College and Career Readiness . Some are one time workshops that they usually love and the young queens love and they bring Queen IAM back for a series. Some days I am ask to just have my face in the place provided information about Queen IAM. But my role doesn’t stop there I am called to facilitate , speak or just to find ways to encourage a group of young women. With the days filled with other organizations/Schools request. I still Host and engage my own workshops /events and field trips for the young queens in the community for Free. My days are full with ways to being connected and consistent.
What is the inspiration behind your enterprise Queen IAM ? how can someone become a part of your organization?
My passion and vision for Queen IAM has grown over the times. I am elated with the amount of support and love you all have sent our way! I am truly excited for our future . I am so blessed to have individuals in my life who trust me enough to pour into our youth . To mentor our young Queens . I always tell the Young Queens that the crown may not be visible but it's there! The jewels that shine on your Crown is there. We choose Crown because it represent the struggle a young queen may go through just like the weight of a crown although when the crown is positioned in the correct spot and carried by the strength of the character .You will hold your head high! I create my workshops and events to promote and encourage self love , self respect and self understanding . The purpose and preparation is intended to be effective and the context is meant to inspire. We served the ages 9-17years old although we do offer volunteer opportunity for Young women over 17 or even parents who are interested in joining us for a session or even a event. We create our workshops for our young queens to have a safe space for them to listen and learn and grow but we also create events that involves the individuals they value in their Lives . We create our field trips to involve the community of all ages! We not only do outreach in the community. We also share with schools and offer our services to organizations who work with Youth
Why did you go into women empowerment platform not any other industry?
I decided to go into this industry because I wanted to be Empowered and I wanted to find ways to help other women feel empowered as well. I felt like it was my calling to work with youth , I actually left youth development work to go for a office job and I almost drove myself crazy ! Lol I needed to be around that energy . I needed to be around unknown potential. Young people not knowing how big the vision and future can me and me standing behind them empowering them to know that .
How do you balance your entrepreneur life with friends that don’t understand the challenges we experience?
Balance Balance and Balance I think it’s very important and at first when you take that leap of faith to become an entrepreneur. It’s so hard because you are pushing your vision so hard that you can lose vision of your friends and you are staying up late , waking up early and spending long weekends putting your face in all the places to push your brand . You are always creating events and planning and preparing for what’s next . So I have lost friends who don’t understand and they don’t choose to but those friends were not really my friends they didn’t support or encourage me so my growth made me uncomfortable. Real friends grow with you. Once the fake friends fall off it become easier to make time for your real friends. I believe communication is key , even if I do not see my friends I always send a text or invite them out to Queen IAM events because their involvement is important to me ..
As an female leader and entrepreneur what are some of your most memorable experience(s) you had working at Queen IAM and why?
I love Queen IAM! Lol like I spend a lot of time creating and trying new things and growing and figuring out ways to stay consistent. The statement that your business is your baby is so true. I truly hold my work to close to my heart because so many years I work under leaderships and organizations and I always had ways and thoughts about how I would run my own program. So when I finally took the leap I was in such a struggle in life . My daughter who was five months at the time was diagnosed with Congestive heart failure . So I was forced to quit my job and many nights in the Hospital I was writing and creating curriculum and creating my website and building new relationships. I was destined to make this BIG! Every event we plan is GO Hard or GO Home. We go all out on decor and food and activities for our Queen Guests. One of my favorite events would be our Annual Mother’s Day Event. Title Queens Raising Queens . True Queens Raise New Queens. The event was packed out with many beautiful mother daughter and even Grandma combinations. We have delicious food, performances that left people crying and many of the mothers shared their stories and really unfolded to other mothers that they did not even know.
The fact Queen IAM was able to create a space that allow every mother and daughter to let their guard down and take a load off for that moment. As a mother life is always moving and I felt like that event was filled with so much that made the mothers feel comfortable and it open the eyes of the daughters to see the love or even what they wanted more of from their moms. We wanted to leave the understanding for the mothers to be able to raise a young Queen you have to be a Queen yourself . And whatever and whoever was stopping you from being that Queen you needed to removed that energy. We wanted the daughters to leave understating that my mother has values and morals and things that I can benefit from and my relationship with my mother is important to nurture.
What advice you give to young entrepreneurs who are contemplating following in your footsteps?
I have so many things I would love to share as I am still learning and growing as well. But something I have learn that was very important and something I continued to tell myself be your own Biggest Fan. At times when you are first starting you are expected people to support what’s good and you may be hoping for much praise and open doors of opportunities . It does not work that way. Trust in your process and continue to pat your self on the back without the expectation of others. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t feel others see your vision or hard work right away. Keep pushing , keep working keeping rooting for you and what you have going on and before you know it you will have a room full of individuals that is aware of what good work you do and they would want to learn more. One of my favorite quotes “‘The day you plant the seed , Do not eat the fruit” keep working and keep planting seeds .
How do you identify business opportunities and what metrics do you use to measure their viability?
I am a huge vibe reader when individuals or schools or organizations reach out I always do my research or figure out what connection my self and the person who reach out . Meaning the sense of the relationship is it just starting ? Has it grown over years . Then I think about the opportunity and the duration of the opportunity and then the impact how many girls and the ages and what are the needs of the girls and how can Queen IAM can be more effective. My duration of the program is based off the need sometimes schools or organizations just bring me out once time as a special guest or speaker they see the response from the ladies and usually contact me to provide a series of services .
What can we expect from you in the next 2 years or so with Queen IAM?
Amazing Queen THINGS!!!! We are planning and preparing ways to develop Queen IAM in more Schools . Expect for us to have another Amazing Mother’s Day Event. Finding more ways to grow the brand and mentor the young ladies. We would love to create a mentoring program we’re we provide mentors to the young queens under the Queen IAM Team. We are hoping to develop to find ways to grow our consistent relationship and grow more . We are hoping when we enter into more schools we can find ways to incorporate academic achievement into our curriculum as well. As myself as a entrepreneur finding more ways to grow and develop as a leader so currently I am mentoring with organizations and also apart of a excellent leadership program that I am hoping that will develop my skills so I can help young women find and develop their own.
Who are other talented influencers you would hope to collaborate with for Queen IAM project?
So many! off course Oprah, even Traci Elle Ross . I would love to get with Serena Williams or even Queen Latifah I can truly go on and go on and I am truly dreaming that big because that how big I know Queen IAM can go. I am pushing for that Essence Festival or even Black Girls Rock I am Dreaming BIG!!!!
I am beyond proud of you Queen Yonna. You are truly a born leader and I wish you all the best. The city of Cleveland is blessed to have you leading these young ladies. To all our readers I hope you've learned something and took away a positive message from this feature article. Also make sure to support Queen Yonna project with the QUEEN IAM. You can find her contact information below and listen to their live episodes. Queen Yonna, I am once again honoured to be interviewing you. I look forward have all here on NEECEE LEXY blog. THAT'S QUEEN SHE IS EVERYONE :D
LISTEN TO QUEEN IAM TEAM LIVE
Episodes click here
Facebook Page:Queen IAM
Podcast :Queen IAM Girl Empowerment