On the Rise: Tola Lawal

2015headshot2-1When I think of the word Go Getter, there are a few individuals that comes to mind and Tola Lawal is one of them. Having been the driving force behind some of the best marketing brand , Tola’s work ethic and knack for marketing speaks for itself. These days, you can find Tola doing another type of branding – one that involves providing the youth with the tools needed to pursue a higher education. Read more about Tola below!

1.Where were you 6 months after college?

I always knew I wanted to be in PR/ Marketing but I didn’t know how to get there. After graduation, I applied to various roles in marketing however, after many failed attempts I came across a temp agency that helped me get to my destination and the rest was history. I highly recommend college graduates to reach out to a temp agency and build a relationship with a recruiter in the beginning of their job search.

2.Tell me about your career journey to counseling.

Throughout out my career, I have always been the point of contact for advice, especially when it came to college counseling. When I was laid off in 2014 from BET, I took that opportunity to fuel my curiosity. I first started with doing a tour discussing the transition from high school to college which was sponsored by Black Enterprise. I then launched my non- profit organization Gyrl Wonder. Now, as Assistant of Director of College Success I have never found myself more comfortable and passionate about my job and I enjoy every second of it.

tola_in_class3. What sparked Tola Speaks?

I am a Marketer by nature, I realized that if I wanted to do speaking engagements focused on the youth, I needed to create a successful brand around it.

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On The Rise: Ayana Iman


Around this time last year I stumbled across an article titled Letting Go: I Quit My Job” as I was on my way home from work. Not wanting to miss the context, I held my phone tightly and searched for a nearby bench to digest every word the author Ayana Iman penciled down.  She was very clear on why following her own happiness was more important than clocking in. Since then, I have been a supporter of this amazing soul who  whose risk taking abilities has open new door of opportunities. Let’s find out more about Ayana Iman below.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Ayana Iman, I’m a 25-year-old professional speaker and aspiring life coach. I am the mother of one, a beautiful three-year-old girl named Ayo, the joy of my life. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and a Masters Degree in Strategic Communications. My professional goals include creating a conference in 2018 for the expansion of #AuthenticConvos, and helping 100,000 people cultivate an attitude of gratitude

Where were you 6 months after college?

6-months after undergrad, I was fired from my first post-graduate job and on the verge of becoming homeless. Soon after, I found out I was pregnant. Let’s just say the top of the year; including graduation, a great internship and travel were a stark difference than how it ended.

You launched an e-book on gratitude last year, how important is it to be grateful?

It’s very important to be grateful, especially because it is the starting point of all abundance. Gratitude remains when happiness fades, it keeps us present and allows us to experience some joy. It is the same reason my current situation looks completely different than 4 years ago. Instead of focusing on lack, I looked at the areas I was abundant, from the love of my family to my health; it all played a role in my progression.

54c1bb94-bc3a-42ff-81e6-9e09491ee16bYou are a serial entrepreneur, how do you stay on top of things while managing your personal life?

I am still in the beginning stages of my career building a foundation and learning how to become a successful entrepreneur. However, being busy comes with the territory, and I prioritize my time with my family, especially my daughter and boyfriend. They are very involved with my projects so it makes it easier to manage my personal life.

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Female Latin Web Developer Finds Her Inner Geek & Creates Networking App.


Technology is here to stay and Raygrid Calderon is here to be part of it. She is the pioneer behind dreemkacher,  an application created to make more opportunity for innovators on the rise to seek business placement. When she realized that there wasn’t a platform for the truly talented to showcase their work conveniently, Raygrid put her skills together and created DreemKacher.With use of a visual resume, so to speak, anyone can express what their capabilities are and Rayrgid takes pride in creating something that can not only elevate one’s career but also simplify it. Raygrid is in a pool of very few Latinas and females who are advancing the way we use technology.Lets find out more about Raygrid.


Where were you 6 months after college?

Six months after college I was doing something completely unrelated to now. While I was going to college I was working as a Medical Assistant so I was able to move up at the company I worked for. About 2 months after graduating I worked as an HIV Counselor.

DREEMKACHER is a clever name, what was your thought process when deciding the name?
Thank you! I wanted a name that captured the essence of what I was trying to create. I literally said to myself the app is for dreamers and…catchers.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.26.00 PMWe all stumble at some point of our lives, was there ever a time during the creation of DREEMKACHER where you wanted to give up? What did you learn from it?
Great question, the funny thing is as many times as it made “sense” to quit whether it was because of financial reasons or my relationships with loved ones, throughout all the hurdles in my heart I never wanted quit. The feeling I get when I think of dreemkacher is indescribable as if it’s something I can’t walk away from….. Ever. I learned to be patient. My motto is life’s rejection is the universes protection.

What does my freshman year of life means to you?
I literally always say my freshman year of life was 2012. It took me a tremendous amount of pain, amazing highs and awful lows and even stillness to really understand who I am and I promise you nothing was in vain. I learned what ticks me and what stunts my growth and I truly believe that’s because of all my hurdles.

What peaked your interest to start coding?
I sort of bumped into it. My parents bought me my first computer when I was about 13 and they couldn’t put it together so I had to and once it was built I became interested, somewhat obsessive in the logistics of it all. Which led to web developing, hacks and program building which then led to app developing.
How important is it that out this generation understands the value of coding?

It’s a bittersweet time for this generation. As technology advances other creatives phase out. It’s important to stay ahead. Even if you choose a career path totally unrelated to technology, technology will not go away. It’s become a part of our daily lives. With that being said coding should just be as normal as washing dishes. You might not do it everyday or maybe even have to do it at all but it’s something everyone should be introduced to at some point.

How can we ensure that young girls are not intimidated by learning technology?
Technology is a curriculum that should be introduced very early. I believe by the age of 8 children should be familiar with basic tools and programs. If we instill this idea of tech savvy being the norm, young people wouldn’t feel intimidated by it as they age.

Where do you see the app in the next couple of years?
My ultimate goal is to create a platform that exceeds just connecting consumers and customers. I also want to help build start-ups from the ground up.

What do you want people using your app to take away from it?
To learn the difference between marketing/branding a business and being a popular “@”.

If you were to write a letter to your younger self about pursuing your dream what would you tell her?
I would simply say NEVER GIVE UP if it’s what you love.

Complete the sentence
When I am not working on DK you can find me
My favorite quote of all time is …

The highest form of success is to help others succeed

I can’t go a day without having….
A caramel latte

My happy dance move is…
Pat Pat dance from Little Einsteins

Stay connected with Raygrid
Twitter: @DreemKacher
Instagram: @DreemKacher
Facebook PageDreem Kacher