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Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Rachel Lauren of Diversified Is Helping To…

Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Rachel Lauren of Diversified Is Helping To Change Our World

An Interview With Edward Sylvan

Yes, I use my platforms (mainly Instagram and Clubhouse) to educate my followers on the realities of various causes. I work to provide tangible solutions that they can become involved in to assist with the efforts of the things I speak out on. I largely dedicate my social media to social justice related causes and advocate for the progression and acknowledgement of Black life and the experiences of all Black People. Being an adoptive mother of 3 Black children I am transparent, not only about my own journey, but about the need for focus on children within the system, especially children of color.

As a part of my series about leaders who are using their platform to make a significant social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Lauren.

Rachel is a conscious social influencer who is passionate about racial equity, Black life, women’s rights, foster care/adoption, and holistic wellness. By profession Rachel is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department head within the Tech Sector and also a founding partner and Chief Programming Officer for Diversified, a boutique DEI consulting firm. Through her popular social platforms and various contributor positions, Rachel speaks out against racial injustice and advocates most commonly for the lives of all Black people.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always been focused on being a voice for the voiceless and fighting for people and communities that need it. This pull to make a change is what led me to my career in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and ultimately what has enabled me to grow my social media presence and influencer platform. I use my personal experiences to influence my following and draw attention to issues I believe in and advocate for. Specifically, my journey as a Black woman in corporate America as well as my path to becoming an adoptive mother are what truly led me to speaking out and leveraging my resources.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?

Speaking out about my foster to adopt journey opened the door for many valuable conversations with individuals who have either been impacted by the system or are interested in impacting the system. I often receive DM’s from people telling me their stories and asking for my advice. I once had a woman reach out and share that her journey with infertility was a source of her depression. She was able to find comfort when she heard me mention that the method to mommyhood can be unique and doesn’t have to be biological to be filled with love. That woman is currently working on becoming licensed to foster and adopt.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I once went live and didn’t exit properly so the video stayed on. Luckily nothing inappropriate occurred! But I learned the importance of double checking you are off camera.

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

My advice wouldn’t be limited to Social Media Influencing. I think that the life of an Activist, Advocate, or any Professional can fall into the category of influence. The reality is we all have a responsibility to use our experiences and our expertise to positively impact people, communities, and organizations. Every person’s circle of influence will not be the same, however, that does not mean that the outcome won’t be felt in a major way. I recommend that everyone take time to identify what they can contribute to and how they can make a difference with that contribution. It is often the case that the thing we do well, our gift or our passion, is the thing that we ignore or don’t consider using as a tool in the fight to make a difference.

Remember that if you can help one person, heal one person, hear one person, and even lead one person you haven’t failed at all. It isn’t always about the size of your contribution but about the change it can make and the evolution that change can take.

Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?

Yes, I use my platforms (mainly Instagram and Clubhouse) to educate my followers on the realities of various causes. I work to provide tangible solutions that they can become involved in to assist with the efforts of the things I speak out on. I largely dedicate my social media to social justice related causes and advocate for the progression and acknowledgement of Black life and the experiences of all Black People. Being an adoptive mother of 3 Black children I am transparent, not only about my own journey, but about the need for focus on children within the system, especially children of color.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?

I do not like to share “who” I help out of respect for them and because this work isn’t for advertisement. I will say that I have been able to assist several organizations with accessing donors to support the work they do within our community.

Was there a tipping point that made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?

My tipping point came from a place of pain. Being a Black woman has meant oftentimes not being acknowledged, heard, considered, respected, or supported. Our country has largely denied the effects racism and systemic racism have had on the opportunities and access people that look like me get. I grew tired of fighting for others to recognize the value of Black women and the power our voices bring. If a seat at the table is not saved for us then we have to create the table and believe in the foundation of it. My focus on growing my following and using it is essentially me defying society’s box. It is me saying you will hear, respect, and make space for me and those that share the same story.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

There are more than 3 however I will say:

1. Use your voice and your platform. I don’t want to hear that Social Media doesn’t matter nor that you speaking up and out to the people you have access to has no weight. The truth is 2020 proved that smartphones and social platforms can actually be used to communicate across differences and reveal hard truths that many want to ignore. Living in a pandemic has meant many of us can’t mobilize in traditional ways. When a problem is presented you have to be the solution, use what you have. I often say that silence speaks volumes, my call to action for all people is to speak up and show up there should be no question where you stand in the face of racism.

2. Reform policy and adjust budgets. There are SEVERAL reformations that need to be addressed, however, policies surrounding police brutality and mass incarceration are at the top of the list. We need to divest dollars that support our current police system and re-invest into the community, end police violence and require that officers be held accountable, end no knock raids, fund public defender offices, establish more sanctuary cities, invest in mental health and school systems. The list goes on!

3. Support Foster Care. The foster system needs not only more funding that can assist with educating the public, properly paying case-workers, and investing in impacted families, but also, it is in dire need of more people. Individuals and families can work to find ways to support the system whether by becoming licensed to foster/adopt, serving as a respite home (temporary placements), volunteering to be a CASA worker, or simply mentoring and donating time and/or dollars to our youth.

What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?

In addition to posting and speaking regularly I create content for the African Diaspora News Channel on YouTube. I also run an email club called “The Conscious Club” that individuals can sign up for and receive weekly emails that include updates, advice centered on how to make an impact, and tangible opportunities to act. For example, I often send out petitions for various causes or volunteer opportunities for organizations related to the causes I advocate for.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Start no matter how many people seem to be watching. If one person hears your message it is worth it!
  2. Don’t give up. It is easy to feel like your message isn’t landing and this can cause you to stop trying altogether. However, you never know who might share your content or when you may just reach the “right” person.
  3. Hashtags are important. I used to post and not give much thought to adding these but tags really help get your content in front of the individuals who are looking for it. They also serve as a great way to network and find people with similar interests or careers.
  4. Pay attention to trending topics. Oftentimes topics, challenges, holidays serve as a wonderful opportunity to get your message in front of people that are in the space to see or interact with it.
  5. Always have places to point your audience to. Social platforms tend to connect to one another which enables you to grow more than one space at a time, you can always direct your followers on one platform to the net and find ways to make each profile unique. It is also important to connect websites and action items to your profile to keep your followers engaged and give them opportunities to support what you do in more ways than one.

You are a person of enormous 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. 🙂

My message and purpose centers on advocating for and reforming Black life. At the end of the day every cause, movement, and demographic I support leads back to this central point. However, I believe that Black women are at the core and deserve to have focus that doesn’t evolve into everyone else. We are daughters, sisters, wives, birthers, nurturers, fighters, professionals. We do it all but never get the attention, assistance, and respect due us. I truly believe if Black women could receive equity and in many areas justice much of the fight for all Black people would be actualized.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Shirley Chisholm. Shirley Chisholm was a member of my sorority Delta Sigma Theta and the first Black woman elected to congress, the first candidate elected to a major party for Presidential election, and the first woman to run for the democratic party’s Presidential nomination. Shirley is a reminder to me that I have a right to take up space and that I can make room for my authentic self even when others fail to do so. It is easy to choose not to try something if a precedent hasn’t been set by someone before you, Shirley Chisolm is proof that you can be the precedent setter.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US 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. 🙂

There are so many people that I would absolutely love to just learn from! However, i will say Congresswoman Maxine Waters. She is bold, wise, determined, and unapologetically herself. Maxine Waters is my literal Shero and I am so impressed with her legislative efforts and lifelong service to our community. I literally feel like she is my long lost Auntie and I would be honored to meet her one day!

How can our readers further follow your work online ?

My handle on most Social Platforms is @theonlyrachel. I prefer Instagram and Clubhouse! My bios have links for more information on me however my website www.theonlyrachel.com provides opportunities for individuals to work with me and/or join my mailing list.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color.

In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction.

Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business.

With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.

At Sycamore Entertainment he specializes in print and advertising financing, marketing, acquisition and worldwide distribution of quality feature-length motion pictures, and is concerned with acquiring, producing and promoting films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subject matter which will also include nonviolent storytelling.


Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Rachel Lauren of Diversified Is Helping To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.