We had the good fortune of connecting with Marsheda Ewulomi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marsheda, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I would love to say that I started She-Verse, Ewulomi Works, and She-Versity simply because I saw a gap in the market that needed to be filled. Or say that I was super focused on the consumer initially. But that would slightly be untrue. I launched each business and will continue to build more businesses, brands, and products to manifest my gifts and passions in the world. It’s my responsibility and my purpose.

You see it’s important to me that I do not fall into society’s trap of choosing to amputate pieces of myself to conform to a singular career path. We wouldn’t ask a person with a perfectly functional and healthy left arm to cut it off just to focus on the right. We need both. In the same sense, we need every aspect of ourselves in order to manifest our life’s purpose–to be our full selves. And as someone who is equally academic (English nerd, Rhetoric geek, and lawyer) and creative (dancer, writer, and overall performer), I made up my mind in college that I wasn’t going to choose. That it may take time, but I would both have my cake and eat it. Why have cake if you are just going to look at it?

I searched for a place that nourished all of me. However, after college, teaching, law school, and becoming a full-fledged attorney, I realized that I would never find a place in the world that allowed me to be all of me in all of my story. I would have to create it. So now I’m no longer vying for a seat at the table, I am concieving the room, the table and/or mats that will be the meeting place.

I like to say that I am a walking African Diaspora. I am the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant (my father), a South Sudanese refugee (my step-mother), and an African American woman (my biological mother). I was raised by my father. I did not have a consistent maternal figure until I was 18 and as the oldest duty and getting things done efficiently and effectively became my norm. These nuggets make me me and influence my approach to business and creation.

My birth mother’s initial absence in my life caused me to value, observe, and connect with women in a way that eventually birthed She-Verse — a space to for women and girls to authentically connect and dream through purposeful events and gatherings. I am a patchwork quilt of all the dope women in my life. Through my life experience, I’ve learned how important it is for us as women to have space to authentically connect and heal out loud. To have that space center us and our voices. We are more than sisters, daughters, and wives. We are more than our connections to the men in our lives, no matter how great they may be.

Ewulomi Works comes from my desire to create systems that allow the most marginalized to feel loved and protected, in the way that my dad, Samuel Olufemi Ewulomi, has always allowed me to feel. Not everyone has Papa Ewulomi on speed dial to be the lion that will swoop in to change the day for his cub, but everyone is deserving of receiving that kind of love. Through Ewulomi Works, I put my law degree and teaching experience to work as a key strategist for social justice-minded organizations. We help them identify their organizational identity and the social impact they want to have. From there, we strategize and carve out plans to support the organization in meeting its goals, which often involves improving systems and providing direct services to vulnerable populations. We also offer training on strategic planning, business innovation, creative problem-solving, and negotiation to business leaders and organizations. I’ve spent my entire legal career working with community organizers and the first thing that they teach you is the importance of a block-by-block transformation because it gets in people’s spirits. The change becomes sustainable. So we focus on transforming how organizations run and think. If we can get a non-profit to maximize its impact by pulling from the business acumen of the private sector and get for-profits to tap into their potential to not only make money but also help people simultaneously, then over time we get closer and closer to a world filled with Papa Ewulomi’s love.

Last but not least, She-Versity came from my love of teaching and a growing need for She-Verse consumers to have a place to connect with themselves individually and receive guidance on what to do when that connection is made. She-Versity supports women and girls in identifying who they are, pursuing their purpose, and owning the power that comes with being one’s self through classes and personal coaching.

All in all, I am building an empire that I hope will transform people’s lives and continue to feed my soul. All of me was put on this earth, so all of me will exist, even if it takes 50 business ventures to get there lol.

I hope that others can follow my example. You do not have to choose to betray part of yourself to exist. You will have to be strategic about manifesting all of you (Let’s connect if you need help with finding the right strategy). But remember you do not have to choose to betray one part of you for the other. You probably do not need multiple businesses (I’m Nigerian and extra, I can’t help it lol). But no matter what it is, remember that you deserve the time to figure out how you will be all of you.

What should our readers know about your business?
My life’s purpose is to be myself and support others in doing the same. The trouble is that we live in a world that doesn’t teach us to value finding ourselves or how to do it. Instead, we are encouraged to hide and shame our true selves to obtain somebody else’s standard of success. With this in mind, the life’s blood of every business, product, and brand that I have started/will start all have one thing in common: providing people and organizations with tangible steps on how to find themselves and then manifest that self to its fullest potential.

I believe what sets my work apart is that woven into every one of my companies is both the audacity to dream big with the real-life experience and the skill to practically achieve the dreams our clients have. As a former secondary English teacher, I am practiced in not only working with people but finding simple ways to break down some of life’s most challenging topics. As an attorney and strategist, I know how to quickly issue spot and get to the heart of an issue in order to effectively generate a solution that addresses the actual need and not just the symptom. As a creative, I have the courage to look at a problem and see the possibilities and not just the challenges. Lastly, as a human who prioritizes her humanity, I recognize and act on the importance of helping people feel heard and seen.

Whether it was standing outside to greet my students before they entered the classroom, encouraging panicked dancers before a competition, coaching a community organizer as they negotiate with the mayor, or helping an organization with new leadership see that they have everything that they need to survive and thrive, one thing remains constant — people are people. In order to be effective in any arena, business leaders should remember that people are people with one common desire. This desire transcends race, gender, religion, and all other forms of difference, it is the desire to have your existence affirmed. In essence, the desire to be heard and seen, because it lets us know that we are really here and connected to others.

As far as challenges, my becoming a full-time entrepreneur was not and is not an easy road. It is an eternal pass to the amusement park with the dynamics of rollercoasters and long lines. I became a full-time entrepreneur in January of this year. I had been working in Chicago, IL as a policy attorney for the past 3 years. I worked with coalitions, government agencies, and universities to pass laws and/or generate inclusive systemic reforms as they related to the criminal legal system.

In August of 2021, a day after what would have been my first wedding anniversary (at the top of 2020, I ended my engagement and relationship to my partner of 5.5 years), and after passing a historic piece of legislation that most lawyers would dream of just touching in their career, I sat in my car crying. I was pleading with God, my Creator, asking him what I was doing with my life and why wasn’t I happy. After ending my relationship, I had gone on a journey of self-rediscovery and I loved who I found. I had passed my ordinance and was building a name for myself in the Chicago policy and advocacy community. Still, I wasn’t happy.

My Creator’s answer led me to decide to uproot my life and move to Mesa, Arizona — a place that I never knew existed. The law and policy center I worked at refused to support permanent remote work, so in the process, I quit my job. I made the decision to move in September, broke my lease in October, and was in Arizona by November. God’s answer was simple: “be all of who I created you to be.” In choosing to be all of me, it has been one leap of faith after another. I would love to say that as a master strategist, I had everything planned once I made the decision to move. Nope. I just know that I needed to get to AZ and that I would be working on She-Verse my first business full-time. As I continued to pray and reflect the strategy became clearer and clearer. But now I can say that I am truly happy. Scared and confused from time to time. But happy.

I guess the other piece that sets my work apart is that I model the leap of faith that I ask my people and organizational clients to take daily through my personal journey and process. The skills and lessons that I speak about are not solely informed by books but from experience.

Entering into any Marsheda Patrice space is entering into a place where all of you and your organization are not only welcomed but it is needed. I am blessed to be in a place where I get paid to exist doing what I know I was created to do–provide people with practical tools for manifesting the life of their dreams. I am helping people and organizations manifest the life and world of their dreams while I birthing my own.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would likely start with numerous trips to Black Rock Coffee to get our mornings going. Then would also check out Poetic Soul, an open mic that happens in Downtown Pheonix every Wednesday. Then honestly, we would run to @aieshabeasley ‘s IG page and look for places to check out. I just moved here in Nov 2021, have been running and building 3 different businesses, and trying to make it through my first summer (this heat is so disrespectful to a midwesterner like myself lol). Thankfully AZ is still gorgeous even if the Valley cares nothing about my personal heat index. I don’t have staple places other than the gym and the grocery store which no one wants to go on vacation. So we will definitely be on an adventure together.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have so many people and organizations to thank. It has taken a village to get me here. But I would like to thank my parents: Samuel & Sandra Ewulomi, as well as Kimberly Miller. They have all shaped the woman that I am and am growing into.

Website: www.she-verse.com

Instagram: @sheversecreativ

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marshedaewulomi/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sheversecreativ/

Other: www.she-versity.com coming soon www.ewulomiworks.com

Image Credits
Desmon Yancy, William Whitten

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