Be true to yourself: You have to know who you are and what you can take. I knew building my business was going to take sacrifices, but I didn’t know how the sacrifices were going to affect me. While building it, I was lost to the sacrifices and the survival of everyday life. I found myself when I grabbed hold of the truth about who I am and was able to walk and stand in that truth.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tunisha C. Brown.
Seeing the need in her community for positive imagery, Tunisha C. Brown, began the journey of bringing forth IMPACT Magazine. IMPACT Magazine is a lifestyle print and digital publication. IMPACT’s mission is to empower, encourage, and to educate readers through the power of images and words. Tunisha Brown, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of IMPACT Magazine and IMPACT TV, a platform that reaches hundreds of thousands daily. In 2022, Tunisha will release her memoir, No Designation, a raw and true story about overcoming adversity and immense pain to build her dreams.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I grew up in a 7 mile radius town where the crack epidemic made my household explode. During this period, my childhood was truly a rollercoaster of watching my mother do what she could to make a living for her children and the grandchildren she raised. In junior high school, I made a pact with myself to not live a life full of dysfunction. After trial and error through life, I became a single mom which led me down the path to beginning my magazine.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
One interesting story from my career was when I hired a celebrity to host an event of mine. The celebrity had a reputation of not being commendable. My lawyer and publicist told me not to hire this celebrity. I did it in spite of their counsel. The whole ordeal blew up in my face as they said. What I learned from this ordeal is to always be humble and to never make decisions in a survival mode. Yes, I wanted to host the event with the celebrity because I believed her presence was going to sell a multitude of tickets to get me out of the financial situation I was in and I wanted to be seen with a celebrity. I learned to make decisions from wisdom within and from the counsel around me without thinking about the shine or financial substance I’ll receive from it.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes my book, “No Designation” stand out is because it is real and raw with stories on how to heal without shame or blame. After my mother told me about who my real father was during the Ricki Lake show, rage and hatred consumed my mind and heart against her. How could she not tell me who my father was? It wasn’t like my stepdad took care of my sister’s and brother’s. I couldn’t be around her, but I knew she was my mother so I would go to visit her from time to time. One time I went to see her, I knew she could feel the hurt within me. Before leaving out the door, she called my name. When I turned around, she said, “I did what I thought was best.” At that moment, I couldn’t understand what she meant. It was not until I had my own son and made decisions that had a negative impact on his life, did the realization of what she said came full circle. I understood in the moment when he told me he forgave me for those decisions, I did what I thought was best, as my mother had done. In actuality, she and I did what was best for ourselves and not necessarily what was best for our children.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There are so many people who’ve helped me along my journey. People like my great friend Olympia Cook, my niece Shaniqua Nicole, Nikki Walker. At the heart of it all, I’m grateful for black women. Black women have helped me to become the person I am today. There has never been a moment in my life that a black woman has not been there for me. From allowing me to sleep on her couch, lending me thousands of dollars, building me with confidence, supporting my businesses. You name it, a black woman has always been the gateway during my journey.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
I would define resilience as being able to come back from anything. Resilient people are adaptable, full of strength, and always believe in the best.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage and resilience are similar because both take strength. Whereas resilience is within you and courage is built.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
When I think of resilience, the person that comes to my mind is Iyanla Vanzant. She’s had extremely great highs and very low lows like the death of her daughter. Throughout it all, she continues to be a beacon of truth for the betterment of the people.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
In the beginning of creating IMPACT, someone told me that I shouldn’t be sharing positive stories as I did. When asked how it should be done, the person couldn’t offer me a solution. Since she didn’t offer any solutions, I continued to build as I saw fit.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
As I shared my ordeal with the celebrity earlier, from that ordeal, I lost deals and had lost a bit of credibility. After speaking with my publicist, she told me to step back in order to think about my next steps. While at my housewarming, my friend Layla K and I were speaking about how I was going to come back into the spotlight. My desire was to always have a talk show. Layla asked why wouldn’t I do the show as an event with an audience. A lightbulb went off and Cocktails and Conversations was born with Grammy nominated R&B Divas star Angie Stone was my first guest. News about the event was being talked about on the radio and social media. This event and collaboration brought credibility and respect back to me and my business name.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Growing up during the crack epidemic with addiction ridden siblings in my household and my mother being the only provider, cultivated resilience because the dysfunctional scenarios happened every day. Each day, I had to adapt to my environment, always pray for the best, and think my way through it.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each. The 5 steps someone can take to become more resilient are:
*Be true to yourself: You have to know who you are and what you can take. I knew building my business was going to take sacrifices, but I didn’t know how the sacrifices were going to affect me. While building it, I was lost to the sacrifices and the survival of everyday life. I found myself when I grabbed hold of the truth about who I am and was able to walk and stand in that truth.
*Be adaptable: Growing up in an ever changing household full of addiction and poverty gave me the education on how to adapt to situations without losing myself.
*Think your way through: Resilient people are able to come back from anything because they will think their way through situations. When it was time for me to come back stronger to build me and my business name, I sat down with like-minded people to think my way through. Through thinking, I was able to have one of the most influential women in music grace the cover, but also share her story with me at my event.
*Focus: When your mind is focused, you can achieve great outcomes. When I became laser focused on keeping the main things in my life the main thing, everything began to flow in the direction of greater for my life.
Believe in the best outcome: My favorite saying and thoughts to myself is, “Everything is going to work out for my good.” I not only believe this, I live it. No matter what, I’m going to be better for every situation or circumstance.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Funny you asked, I’ve created a movement, “IMPACT Black Women.” The movement was created for black women to achieve their goals to empower, encourage, and educate herself. IBW has initiatives where we have given resources to women via financial assistance and opportunities. March 4–6, we are hosting, “IMPACT Black Women: Mind, Body, Soul Retreat Experience” in Salt Lake City, Utah. The women will be able to be empowered by our speakers, retain a job at our employment pavilion, or recieve a financial investment towards her established or up and coming business.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I’d love to have a private breakfast with Iyanla Vanzant. I can see us having a decadent breakfast with mimosas, filled with the greatest conversation! Iyanla is a truth teller and my greatest desire is to speak and to spend time with her.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Your readers can follow me at @momentswithtunisha and my work at @impactmagazine and @impactblackwomen.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!