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Hidden Gems: Meet Shardel Hodge Matthews of The Lighthouse Perspective

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shardel Hodge Matthews.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born in Culver City and raised in West Athens with my mom and older brother. I was the baby of the family due to having an older sister on my dad’s side. My mom was an amazing independent woman who, although I still don’t know-how, was able to give my brother and I the world. We were cultured and traveled all over the world. She made sure that we learned compassion and empathy for others. I saw my dad and older sister bi-weekly on the weekends.

Growing up was culturally interesting for me. My mom is West Indian from Anguilla, BWI and my dad is West African from Cameroon. I was born a first-generation American. My parents had different experiences growing up that led them to America for a better life and they had high expectations for me. My mom made sure that I had everything I needed to make it to whatever goal I wanted for myself. Of course, as a kid, I just wanted to be like her.

I graduated from UC Riverside in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with the goal of medical school. Following in the footsteps of my mom who was a nurse-midwife. Then, after a turn of events, I changed career goals completely and decided I would do something that people constantly said I did naturally anyway in therapy.

If you ask any of my friends they’ll tell you that I am the best listener and advice giver. I have that natural “mama bear” and “big sister” energy that makes people gravitate to the way I think and the way that I support. Being a therapist was definitely within the scope of my regular everyday characteristics. I fell in love with psychology the minute my Master’s program began and I haven’t been able to look back.

Currently, I work in the mental health field with children. I absolutely love my job and my ability to touch and support the generations that are going to be following behind us. There’s a certain responsibility and privilege that I have to be able to provide a safe place and space for kids to learn themselves and their emotions.

Now with my business, The Lighthouse Perspective, I am transitioning into the coaching space!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Growing up, being a Therapist & Coach was far from what I expected my career path to be. My childhood dream was to become an OB/GYN and be a resource for women’s health. After coping with a house fire in 2014 that destroyed all of my medical school prep materials, I went down a rabbit hole of other possible careers that I thought would be as satisfying. I knew that I wanted to be a resource to improve the health of people who look like me!

After working in the ABA field with children on the Spectrum, volunteering in hospitals with Physical Therapy, and navigating the corporate business world, I decided to go back to school for my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy/ Clinical Counseling. In the midst of my program, I went through one of the most taxing intimate relationships in my life. I used the material that I learned to counsel others to process what I was going through myself. Ultimately, the month that I graduated with my Master’s I also turned a new leaf and separated from that toxic relationship.

Little did I know, what felt like the bottom to me was just the beginning of an amazing testimony.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I launched The Lighthouse Perspective back in November 2021. I tell people all of the time that this business was “God’s Plan” because it wasn’t in the goals that I had for my own life. I began the platform initially focused on only African American women healing from trauma through insight building. As time has gone on, the business grown to include women, men, and couples.

The mission for The Lighthouse Perspective is to help the Community of Color to create healthy relationships with self, God, and others through intentional insight and perspective-shifting. Since I’m both a therapist and a coach, I offer coaching calls in the form of what I call a “hybrid calls” that combine the structure and insight of therapy practices with the direct life experiences immersed in coaching assertiveness. Kind of like your personal cheerleader and head coach all in one!

While I am the only Therapist and Coach, The Lighthouse Perspective’s brand is also heavy on Black Love. I have the privilege of having a supportive husband and co-pilot in our growing couples community. He is truly the greatest example of healthy love.

The next step in The Lighthouse Perspective’s journey is to host retreats! So, get ready!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
As a Black Female Millennial, I think it’s our job to set a healthy example about what life, love, happiness, and true emotional freedom really look like. A lot of us did not have people around us that were emotionally capable themselves to show us how we should be loved or how to love others, how to communicate emotions, or even how to be vulnerable and emotionally safe. Taking the time to learn about yourself and your feelings really is the difference between just “going through life” and actually “LIVING your life.” The decision is ultimately yours to choose!

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