There are many great things happening for our youth. Those things are directly influenced by our ability to provide an example of integrity, self awareness and determination. It is an absolute pleasure to watch the evolution of three very polished young women who have formed the powerhouse organization Young, Ambitious and Beautiful (Y.A.B.). Let’s familiarize ourselves with Lauren Bealore, Courtney Griffin & Daisy Sutton.
What caused the desire to create Y.A.B.?
Daisy: YAB was created with the desire to unite strong, educated women; to highlight a positive image of black women and to inspire young ladies to ambitiously chase their dreams.
Courtney: The lack of support among aspiring African American women. These women are combating the odds placed amongst African American women in urban cities and were going unnoticed. These women also did not have the opportunity to network and exchange services with like-minded women. Our goal was to bridge the gap.
Lauren: Combining what both Daisy and Courtney stated, we wanted to SHED the negative image that was portrayed of African American women on the news and in the media, which today is predominantly where stereotypes and assumptions are built, and SPREAD the spotlight on more of a positive depiction of an array of segments of African American women ranging from a grassroots level to an elite level. We decided to start with our age bracket because we knew many of our peers were making outstanding accomplishments and it would be a great way to start bridging the gap.
It is my understanding that you ladies have developed a high school internship program & subsequent mentorship program for Metro Detroit girls called “From Girls to Young, Ambitious & Beautiful Women”. I definitely admire the name that you have chosen. Please provide some details for our readers.
Daisy: In efforts to fulfill our mission of “Lifting as We Climb”, in which we strongly stand on, we had to create an avenue of our business that would do exactly that. YAB is for young adults, but our number one goal is to create & nurture the next generation of Young, Ambitious, & Beautiful women. It only made sense to provide opportunities for the young women that we want to inspire.
Courtney: The name was created to inspire young girls. Our programs and events are targeted to women at the collegiate level; however, we did not want to leave our young girls oblivious. We want to give the skills and motivation at a young age for girls desire to become Young, Ambitious and Beautiful once they are of age.
Lauren: From my past experience working with organizations on a collegiate student leadership level, I’ve learned that the best way to make an impact and leave a legacy is to “pass the baton” on to individuals to follow in your footsteps. As the elders to these high school and middle school aged girls, we have to be leaders and use these workshops as tools to create a positive cycle of leadership and female empowerment. One day, we will be our parents age…and then our grandparents age and so forth; there has to be educating and teaching taking place to keep businesses like our own flourishing for years to come.
Name one influential person in each of your lives. Tell us why you chose them.
Daisy: My Pastor is a very influential person in my life. In addition to his spiritual guidance, he supports and encourages his members to dream big and to do whatever it takes to make them happen. He teaches and provides an excellent balance of being successful and keeping God 1st.
Lauren: For myself, I would have to say Shirley Chisholm. When I was 12 years of age, I had an assignment where I had to write a poem for my 7th grade class. There was a quote I researched by Shirley Chisholm where she stated: “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: It’s a girl.” This quote stuck with me because it taught me to not use being a woman as a crutch but more so as an advantage.
Who inspires you, collectively?
Daisy: Our mothers are definitely inspiration. Individually and collectively they are a great support system. Not only did they raise us to be the women we are now but they encourage us to continuously progress. They are extremely supportive of everything we do; from a simple like on our Facebook updates, framing our magazine publications, to actually attending our events and providing constructive criticism.
What type of events do you promote/support?
Lauren: We promote and support all events and projects related to the advancement of women. We have attended or hosted events that showcase different avenues of young entrepreneurship, gives advice to women for both personal and professional growth, and creates networks for attendees.
What is your assessment of the advantages of being a business owner or organizational leader as a Metro Detroit resident?
Daisy: Being an organizational leader in the Metro Detroit area has definitely made us strong. Being in an area where opportunities aren’t just handed to you, it teaches perseverance and creates a strong sense of ambition. By starting a business from the ground up in Detroit, I believe that we can go to ANY city and take it by storm.
Courtney: Detroit is on its way back to being the Detroit of our parents and grandparents. As part of the generation shaping these changes, we want to work to encourage people to stay around to see the change. We will also be able to say we helped form the change by bringing people together and showing them the possibilities within Detroit.
Lauren: Detroit is definitely in a revitalization period. The Somerset Lofts. Quicken Loans and the job growth of Dan Gilbert. But we don’t want the revitalization period to be a gentrification period. Detroit, while growing, needs to be inclusive and diverse from not only a business perspective but a residential perspective as well. We want to see Detroit flourish in ALL aspects and as a business owner and organizational leader, it’s imperative that we stay involved in the infrastructure avenue of Detroit’s growth.
The three of you have created a Venture Partnership consisting of 20 businesses, which actually, can be considered a conglomerate. How do you tackle the challenges that some business owners face, such as time management, scheduling, and cohesive functionality?
Lauren: To manage our venture partners or conglomerate, it takes a lot of planning and scheduling. We try to check in with each regularly and give each business a project to be showcased in collaboration with Y.A.B. Fortunately for myself and my fellow co-founders, our venture partners work very well together and understand our mission. By reaching out to one another and working together aside from Y.A.B shows us that we made the right decision when making them apart of our multi-industry business as a whole.
Do you have an opinion on the myth that “women don’t/can’t work well together”?
Daisy: I strongly despise those words and I attempt to prove this statement to be false every single day. I encounter women on a daily basis that believe this, and I go out of my way to spread a little love their way. The original idea of YAB was to unite women. With every; event, project, and partnership that we participate in, we are proving this is indeed a myth.
Courtney: I believe that is what society has told us. Society tells women not to help each other and everything must be a competition. As a result it is easy for us to be brainwashed into believing that.
Do you mesh well with the creativity of your partners? How so?
Daisy: The three of us have extremely different personalities, skills and business tactics but I believe that’s why we work so well together. In most cases, one of us presents an idea and the other two put the finishing touches to make it grand. We were friends first but our communication skills have definitely enhanced since becoming business partners; no matter what issue arises, we talk it out until it’s resolved.
What is your organizational mission?
Lauren: Our overall organizational mission is to showcase young women of color excelling in all aspects of life: health, hair, beauty, fashion, career and networking, education, food and nutrition, entrepreneurship, and scholarship. These select women will display a unique characteristic and style to the particular objective that they encompass.
Is there any concern that, based on your individual initiatives, Y.A.B. could not fulfill its foundational objectives?
Courtney: With our individual skill sets we work to accomplish the goals of Y.A.B. and bring women together. We are all equal on a hierarchical scale and have our own focus area. The 3 of us developed the mission and goal of YAB and work to accomplish it. We are all busy but know what is expected of us and vow never to lead each other astray.
What’s next for Young, Ambitious and Beautiful?
Lauren: We are definitely looking at expansion. We would like to continue to flourish our business in not just our hometown of the Metro Detroit area, but also in Chicago, DC, LA, NY, ATL, and even Internationally. With all of us being so young in age and moving in different directions, our different locations will help the growth of Y.A.B. as well. We also are looking to grow more Y.A.B .merchandise. In addition to our body butters in collaboration with The Natural Market located in Downtown Detroit, we have t-shirts currently in the printing process and have been formulating more ideas to come forth. Lastly, we are looking to expand in the press area of Y.A.B. In addition to magazine features, we would like to do more radio interviews, newspaper interviews, and eventually grow to the level of endorsements and television appearances. With the system that we have been using thus far to grow our business, I definitely think we are on the right track.
What advice would you offer to individuals looking to operate under a partnership, while still advancing toward their individual goals?
Courtney: Communication is key. Make sure that you all are on the same page, with the same vision and mission in mind. Do not get so enthralled in your own goals or the goals of your organization that the two no longer work together. Collaborate when you can! Then you can accomplish two goals at once.
For more information on Y.A.B., visit the following: