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Meet Kiara Imani Williams of The Auditory Museum in Beverly Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiara Imani Williams.

Kiara, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in the small town of Manassas, Virginia. Though it was an incredible place to grow up, I always dreamed of moving to a big city and “making something of myself” like Carrie Bradshaw… whatever that meant! As a law student at the University of Virginia, I had my first taste of Los Angeles when I landed an internship with the Disney Channel. I knew that at some point in my career, I would be back. Shortly after graduating from law school, and with no place to live, I packed up my car and moved to Los Angeles.

When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I worked in several temporary positions. I remember at one time, I was in sending in over 20 applications a day. My tenacity paid off, and I was I was fortunate enough to land a position in the Business Affairs office of the Creative Artists Agency and was then hired by FabFitFun as Business and Legal Affairs Counsel. While I’ve loved working for such awesome companies, I knew there was also a bigger dream inside of me.

I co-founded the Auditory Museum with two colleagues in 2016. We’re a consulting organization that helps companies and individuals tell their stories. We believe that storytelling is the foundation of human connection. Through sharing our stories, and being a student of other people’s stories, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the people around us. We’ve partnered with everyone from The Giving Keys and the University of Virginia, to local schools in the Greater Los Angeles area, and we’re continuing to grow!

We also started a Podcast recently that’s allowed us to share our own stories. This fall, we’re hosting a financial education workshop called “Financial Storytelling: Do Your Spending Habits Control Your Narrative?” geared towards creatives and artists who continuously find themselves in money trouble. Most recently, I’m also the founder of the Imani Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth embrace their individuality express themselves creatively!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Transitioning to Los Angeles has not been easy! For one, I’m from a town where I know at least one person pretty much everywhere I go, so moving here was a huge adjustment. I remember riding the elevator in my first apartment with a woman who was crying her eyes out.

The southern girl in me felt so bad for her, so I asked her if she was okay, and if she wanted a hug. She looked at me like I was the craziest person she had ever seen, and without saying anything, walked off the elevator as soon as she could. At the time, I was so confused, but I would later learn that strangers in Los Angeles don’t offer to give one another hugs…. even if they live in the same apartment building. Looking back, I realize she probably thought I had lost my marbles!

Building community was also very challenging for me, and it’s something I still struggle with. If I’m being honest, being lonely sucks – especially for an extrovert. Having a bad day when all of your friends and family live across the country is the absolute worst.

Thankfully my place of worship, Fellowship Monrovia, has provided me with an amazing community of supportive people. I also have a really great group of girlfriends now, and that has made a world of difference! And then there’s the whole “I’m a brand” thing.

Sometimes I feel like everyone I meet looks like an ad straight out of some hipster fashion magazine, and everyone has an Instagram page that looks like a Pinterest board.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fashion – but comparison culture is real and the pressure can be overwhelming. As much as I love to dress up, I feel just as comfortable in an oversized hoodie and old American Eagle jeans. Some days, I have to look in the mirror and say, “Hey girl! You may not look like a movie star today, but you’re still awesome!”

The Auditory Museum – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
It is my personal belief that we’re all born with a plethora of passions, interests, and gifts. It is through embracing all of who we are that we are best able to operate as the highest versions of ourselves! I think I’m different from most people because I’ve always refused to put myself in a box. When people ask me questions like, “What do you do?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, I have a moment of internal panic. Even writing (and continuously rewriting) the bio in my Instagram causes me anxiety.

Nothing feels accurate, or right. Sure, I’m a lawyer. But I’m also very much an entrepreneur. And a writer. And a speaker. And a philanthropist. And an actress. And a signer. And a great friend. And a professional bridesmaid (ha!) Basically, I spend my time doing lots of different things, and in different seasons of life, my priorities shift. I recently heard T.D. Jakes say – “Don’t let your title incriminate you” – and he couldn’t be more right! We don’t have to just be “one thing.”

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I started blogging for fun about seven years ago. I never imagined being a published author, I just loved to write! In 2013, I had the opportunity to start blogging for the Huffington Post. It gave me a voice, and an awesome platform to discuss things that mattered to me.

A few years ago, LinkedIn voted me one of the top writers of 2015. It was clearly a big deal for me because it’s been 3 years and I’m still talking about it! More than anything, that award was a reminder that our abilities an and passions are gifts from God, and He will always make room for them if we do our part.

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