Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Wright.
Tiffany, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I could say it was simple because unlike many, I knew what I wanted to be at eight, and all my decisions lead me to end up in nearly that exact place, but despite that clarity and intention, it wasn’t simple and I definitely had a lot of life happen. As a survivor of childhood trauma, at the young age of 8, I decided that I would be a child psychologist because of my own experience with a therapist. Life didn’t necessarily pan out that way, however, I was always fascinated with the motivations of human behavior, both individually and as a group. This drove me to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from University of California Davis.
My studies lead me to pursue a career in Social Work. I initially wanted to be a clinician and provide therapy, however while pursuing my MSW from Columbia University and working as a domestic violence counselor, I survived an abusive encounter, which left me traumatized, and too fragile to do the work I set out to do. Therefore, I shifted to focusing on non-profit management and program development.
Over the year’s I developed major campaigns and program for impactful organizations, served as a program training specialist for national programs, and worked as a traditional child welfare social worker. As I navigated my professional journey, my own personal journey of healing rose to the forefront and I became passionate not only about my own personal development but also empowering others to explore themselves and embrace their own individuality. My love for reflection, introspection, transformation and spirituality became very rooted in what I really wanted to share with the world.
On the heels of the end of a relationship, that left me in mental shambles, I decided to go inward and explore the spaces within myself that I felt were wounded. This exploration sparked a very intentional, self-love journey. As a result, I really became intentional about sharing my journey. I realized that if I was having all these epiphanies and needed to do some reflecting, I knew my message could land for other women. In 2013, I decided to begin a blog about self-love. I became fixated on the idea of learning to just “be.” I found power in the notion of being, and to me BE stood for “beatific ecstasy,” the highest state of pleasure one could experience. I named my blog and platform The BE Life, BE! for short, and began to focus my message on spreading a message of self-love to millennial women. Self-exploration lead to journaling, journaling lead to blogging, which leads to speaking and speaking lead to writing a book. In 2014, I self-published BE Love: Daily intentions Guiding You to Self-Love. I began hosting workshops and seminars to discuss self-love with teen girls and young women.
After a year and a half of working for myself, I decided to re-enter the workforce. In 2015, I moved to the Bay Area, was surrounded by old friends, and had a chance to somewhat start anew. I had a job I really loved and still had the yearning to do more. In 2015, within months of moving, a Black woman by the name of Sandra Bland was murdered in the custody of police, and as a black woman I felt hurt and outraged. I had already wanted to have an intimate gathering with women in the Oakland area, so I reached out to some ladies, and we decided to create an empowering space to process and educate women about recent events. The Black & Beautiful Women’s Brunch was born and proved to be an amazing experience for women in attendance. Moving forward, myself and a friend, continued the event the next year and hosted it in my hometown of LA. The third year, we brought on an additional friend who had interest in helping to make the vision of the event grow. From that one event in 2015, emerged a movement, and a social enterprise by the name Coco Coalition was established in 2018.
As I continued to create these spaces, write, speak, and impact opportunities for healing, I reconnected to my original desire and life goal, of being a mental health clinician. In reflection, I realized over the years I’ve learned so much about myself, and how to put in place the practices and boundaries that I needed for self-care, I knew I was ready for next steps. In 2018, I began working towards my lifelong aspiration of becoming a mental health clinician. I became a registered associate clinical social worker and am actively working on my license to become a licensed clinical social worker. It has been my trauma, losses, and lessons that has lead me to understanding that my personal mission is to break cycles of dis-ease, dysfunction, and struggle. So with all my personal, academic and professional experiences, I come to you today as a healer, mental health advocate, self-love ambassador, writer, and speaker.
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?
Within my journey of connecting to my purpose I would say its definitely been many struggles. The biggest would be dealing with life in light of having Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD. There has been so many points in my life where my depression or anxiety has paralyzed or derailed me. Most people see an upbeat and optimistic person, but they have no idea how much work it has persistently took, to function normally. My life has been a rollercoaster, but 2009-2019 has surely had struggles.
Unhealthy relationships leaving deep marks really shaped most of my twenties. Those relationships brought both a lot of joy, yet a lot of pain, low esteem, self-doubt, and sadness. I remember my first major panic attack in 2009. In 2010, I lost three family members and had a near-death experience due to physical abuse. By the end of 2013, my anxiety got to the point of concern. Between 2016 and 2018, I lost both of my primary parental figures. After my grandfather’s death in 2016, I had a serious mental breakdown and my nervous system completely shut down. I had to leave work due to low mental functioning. By the time my mother passed in 2018, I had really developed an intense self-care regimen, however, it still shook my world. In the midst of it all, I would add periods of unemployment, despair, doubt, confusion and the rollercoaster that is entrepreneurialism. Yet this is life. Its a journey full of highs and lows. Aside from the normal storms that come with life, I am grateful I have a strong sense of self, spiritual groundedness, and an extremely nurturing and supportive tribe of family and friends.
Please tell us about Coco Coalition; The BE Life.
I have two platforms that I am very proud of, which both came out of an intense desire to create something healing and transformative for women.
The BE Life is a platform rooted in empowering women thru a message of self-love. By providing positive, introspective, and wellness centered content, products, and resources, BE seeks to contribute to improving the well-being and mental health status of women. BE is something I’m so proud of because I grew with it. It challenged me to work on myself, as I was paying forward education and resources to others. BE started off as a very active blog and became more of a resource for empowerment and mental health. I don’t blog on it as much, however I still post from time to time. I never approached it from a traditional “business model,” so for me, I believe its unique because every piece of content or product comes from an authentic place. I’m currently shifting to creating more products like workbooks and journals, so I’m very excited about that. Thru BE, I believe people have come to know my passions are self-love and mental health.
Coco Coalition is all about curating safe and healing spaces for women of the African Diaspora. I am most proud of its organic evolution. the organization was birthed from an event that has made an impact in different communities. Women continue to walk away from the events feeling full and grounded. Authentic relationships have emerged from the events. Artists and business owners have been able to spread their gifts. We’ve been able to contribute to the well being of young girls. We’ve been able to build a reputation on creating informing and supportive wellness events for Black women.
With anything I am apart of, its about long term impact. I’m not fixated on followers, popularity or even big profits. Impact, whether it’s one person or 1000, is the simple reward I get, and the fact that people know myself, and my partners are authentic, thats what I believe sets me apart.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
In the summertime, I loved taking out my slip and slide, turning the water hose on, and having kids from the neighborhood come play. My mom would make food or have pizza, and it would just be simple fun. It felt so good to just laugh, not worry about anything and be innocent. Tied with that, would be putting ornaments on the Christmas tree. Listening to Motown Christmas, eating Christmas cookies, and putting up my favorite ornaments. Moments like that matter because they are evidence that bliss can exist in simplicity. I try to re-create that feeling as much as I can.
- Website: www.cococoalition.org ; www.livethebelife.com ; www.tiffanywrightmsw.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @cococoalition , @the_be_life , and @tiffinspires
Yellow Jacket (credit thirty three fifteen photography), green dress (credit thirty three fifteen photography), 3 women in front of sign (credit lance carr photography)