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Life and Work with Lauriel Cleveland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauriel Cleveland.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lauriel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started my advertising and strategizing career in New York in 2016. I was an Assistant Digital Planner for MediaCom and my client was Anheuser Busch. The work was fun and innovative, the atmosphere was fact-paced but I realized about six months in that I did not enjoy advertising AT ALL. I left a year later and decided to go on a self-discovery journey in NYC for four months which led me to a developing a love for marketing and content creation. I joined the Sovereign Brands team in January of 2018 as the Marketing Coordinator for Luc Belaire, a popular sparkling wine in hip-hop culture.

This job opened the door for me to develop relationships with your favorite rappers and influencers, attend every major music festival across the states, travel 2-3 times a month and learn how to sell a product and help people create content around it. This job changed my life but I felt very led to move back to Atlanta and make a difference in my hometown in some capacity. Fast forward to March 20th, 2019 and I was on a one-way flight home with no job, no plan and no idea what I was about to do. Luckily, thanks to my network from NYC, I easily met the movers and shakers of Atlanta that embraced me and started hiring me for projects ranging from PR to event production.

I’ve always loved to plan events so learning the ins and outs of producing them has brought so much joy and enthusiasm into my life. I decided to expand my career and begin producing events on my own under The Socialite Strategy and I have never been more clear about what my life’s purpose is.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road of being an entrepreneur has been the most humbling experience of my life. I’ve always worked under someone so having to navigate work on my own has been a bit of a challenge. For me, the biggest challenge has been financial stability. I would encourage any woman that wants to be an entrepreneur to have multiple streams of income and be STABLE before leaving their full-time job to pursue their passion career. Your passion project should be well developed and thought out before stepping out on faith.

I wish I would have saved more money before I branched off into The Socialite Strategy but I’ve been very lucky to work hard enough to be financially stable this past year. It’s not always easy and some days are harder than others emotionally, but everything I need is taken care of and that’s what makes entrepreneurship worthwhile.

I also want to stress the importance of REST and SELF CARE! I can have a week full of meetings, late events, last-minute asks, etc. and then have a week of no work or responsibilities. I had to develop a routine that catered to my needs before I could cater to anyone else’s needs. Love on yourself first so that you can effectively pour that love into your projects.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I currently freelance as a creative project manager and strategist for experiential events in the metro-Atlanta area with plans to expand to New York and Los Angeles. I’ve worked with some of the largest entities around the world, including Atlanta United, Crown Royal, EMPIRE Records, Spotify, LVRN, Motown, NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, Red Bull Music Fest and a host of others. I’ve gotten so many opportunities thanks to freelancing for local agencies such as Six Degrees and VON ALLEN and working for A3C Music Festival and Conference.

I’m currently working on my passion project, Wake Up and Give Me 5, which is a newsletter dedicated to people who need that push to remember that gratitude is at the core of who we are and that saying thank you welcomes joy into our lives. I’m building an online community for people to write out what they’re thankful for and it has been so inspiring to uplift a tribe of people during such odd times. To join in on the positivity, you can follow us on Instagram at @wakeupandgiveme5 and subscribe at The weekly newsletter goes out each Friday!

My proudest moment thus far was curating a private screening of Queen and Slim with one of my closest friends, Abe Hyde, and hosting an after-party. Our efforts were noticed by Universal Pictures and Lena Waithe, who produced the film. It was such an amazing experience and the reception was overwhelming. I was very proud of myself and it let me know that I was on the right track in my career.

Who have you been inspired by?
The number one woman in my life who I also deem my muse is Zora Neale Hurston. Real ones KNOW! I have loved her since I first read Their Eyes Were Watching God my sophomore year of college. To me, Zora represents a fearless, feminist black woman who’s intelligence, fervor for change and unapologetic nature emulates everything I see myself as. Her literary works have added so much joy and wisdom into my life. I feel so passionately about the work she completed in her life. I love being celebrated but I also know that if I can leave a few pieces of wisdom on this Earth and inspire black women who come after me, that I’ve done my job. As Ms. Hurston once said, “I want a busy life, a just mind and a timely death.”

I want to know I did exactly what God put me on this Earth to do.

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