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Exploring Life & Business with Layla Anderson of The GOLDNLink

Today we’d like to introduce you to Layla Anderson.

Layla, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My professional journey began during my undergraduate career at Wellesley College. I was an eager Black Student looking for a reflection of myself in the field of Psychology; which seemed to be dominated by eurocentricity and stigmatization. In my senior year, I came across an incredible Black Psychology professor who embodied poise and professionalism. She introduced me to the Black pioneers of Psychology, Mamie Clark, Francis Sumner, and Maulana Karenga, who were just as influential to the field as Freud, Maslow and Jung. Studying Black Psychology gave me a deep understanding of the power of social support in helping Black people to achieve professional success.

Upon graduating, I was given the opportunity to speak at the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPSi), where I met some incredible leaders and shared my experience as a Black Psychology Major at a PWI. Despite this feat, I had still yet to achieve a tangible mentor. I lacked the mindset to receive the support I so desired.

Fast forward two years, and the Global COVID-19 pandemic began. I spent the first few months watching documentaries about community activism and became inspired by Los Angeles Natives like Ron Finley, “the Gangsta Gardener”, and Olympia Auset, the founder of SUPRMARKT. These incredible individuals were creating change through personal missions and love for their community. I decided that WE could do it too.

After speaking to my friends, my partner, and a contract lawyer, I founded the GOLDNLink to uplift and inspire Women of Color through mentorship, representation and personal networks. I had experienced first-hand the difficulties of navigating the professional world without a mentor. I wanted to create opportunities for Women of Color to have more access to opportunity by building a network.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The decision to start the GOLDNLink was easy, however the steps to becoming a legitimate Non-Profit organization are tedious. I spent months completing the paperwork on my own, shopping for the right bank, drafting mission statements, and determining the priorities of the organization. If we make a mistake, I have to take responsibility for it. I started a graduate program in Applied Organizational Psychology at the University of Southern California to understand how I can overcome the many challenges of starting an organization.

The biggest struggles that we face are 1. Funding and 2. The Pause.

One of the biggest obstacles for most new companies is how to create a stream of steady income. This is even more profound for Nonprofit Organizations. We have a responsibility to expand programming while making an impact, all of which require funding. Thus, I am furthering my expertise to merge our mission with our financial goals while balancing Grad school along the way.

Another struggle is knowing when to pause and not feeling guilty. Even though we are an organization with big and important goals, we are also a representation to other women and leaders. I feel a responsibility to embody targeted pauses from the “grind” to focus on myself, my family, and my strategy, and I encourage the people around me to do the same. The work will never stop, so knowing when to grind and when to pause is becoming increasingly important.

As you know, we’re big fans of The GOLDNLink, Inc. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
The GOLDNLink began as an Instagram community to uplift Women of Color through discussions of mental health, spirituality, and culture. We wanted to create a place for women of color to be seen and validated for their hard work and progress. Over time, it evolved into a Nonprofit Organization with the mission to provide the necessary financial and social resources to help Women of Color achieve personal and professional success.

The GOLDNLink’s Mission is to educate and mentor Women of Color to be leaders in their community through personal fulfillment and professional development.

Though we continue to build our social media presence, we are building something much stronger. We are building a professional network of highly-driven, highly-connected, multicultural and intergenerational women. The women in our network want to learn, teach, grow, and propel one another to unseen levels of success. As we continue to fundraise, we seek new and innovative ways to show Women of Color that their contributions matter to global development.

Today, I am the founder of a Nonprofit organization. I am passionate about interpersonal connection, mental health, and professional development, and it is my duty to uplift the women around me. The GOLDNLink is a place for all women to share their wisdom and soak in the knowledge from others. We combine a holistic approach to life while also emphasizing the importance of ascending into a professional career; to both be working your hardest and celebrating your spirit simultaneously. We want to help everyone, regardless of their primary focus, become their best self and a Whole Woman.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
The nonprofit world is expanding! More and more organizational research is focused on creating opportunities for competitive pay and benefits for the employees of Nonprofit organizations. It’s imperative that individuals who are passionate about giving back to their communities can sustain themselves and their families. Similarly, organizations for the advancement of Women of Color are becoming more and more robust in the modern world. As a whole, we are focusing on our mental health, our generational wealth, and our personal and professional relationships. We’re putting our money where our mouth is and our contacts to good use. It is incredible to see. I am inspired daily by the women around me.

The biggest trend I foresee and hope to lead is the refocusing on the intergenerational sharing of knowledge and resources. As GenZ comes of age, it is only right that we focus on this generation and their incredible pursuits. But I think we are doing a disservice to ourselves and others if we pretend that each generation does not have something beautiful and unique to share with society. It will take all of us working side by side to make the changes we hope to see in this world. It will take the experience of our mothers, grandmothers, aunties and mentors as well as our sisters and brothers to increase global access to professional and spiritual resources. No one truly recreates the wheel, we simply add our own design to what has worked before.

The GOLDNLink is now looking for donations to increase our professional development workshops, spiritual retreats, and an interactive website which will include a rolodex of important contacts that every Woman of Color should have. If you are interested in helping to design programming, become a donor, or a mentor, please contact thegoldnlink@gmail.com or donate to the link in our Instagram bio @thegoldnlink.inc

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Image Credits:

Matthew Sherman

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