I walked into Shantell’s meetup room at Downtown Gather RVA not knowing what to expect. She came highly recommended; the main person tagged in my post seeking a business coach. We sat down and I proceeded to hash out the ins and outs of my multiple businesses. Once the smoke cleared from her ears, she began to cuss me out, asking me how am I running so many businesses while hiding behind my gifts and threatening me not to add another thing. She did all this with a smile and level of warmth only an auntie and/or your fave big cousin can muster. To some, that may had been reason to run for the hills. But at the risk of sounding corny, she became the hill from which cometh my help. Then, I knew we would be tight. 2 1/2 years later, she’s become a confidant and like a big sister to me. Nonprofit maven and business badass Dr. Shantell Chambliss (formerly Malachi) is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, and author. If she’s not helping businesses and nonprofits fall in love with their bottom line, she is advocating for mothers who have lost their infants or being Jesse’s wife.
Join me as I sit down with Mary Gwoppins herself.
1. Brag about yourself using only 5 words.
Started from the bottom now I’m here. Wait that’s 7 words.
Educated influential black girl magic… yeah I like that.
2. How do you spell success?
3. What color do you hate and why?
Orange. Not just any orange. The disgusted dull, dirty, shade of orange that you only find in the skeevy parts of town.
When I was 12, I was sexually assaulted. Uhh… sexual assault makes it seem like he grabbed my ass when I walked past his desk. When I was 12, I was raped. There… that’s better. During the entire ordeal I stared out the window at a hideous orange car, pretending someone in there was going to come rush in and save me. Every time I see that shade of orange I’m transported to that time and place.
4. Tell me about a moment you knew you were on to something.
A few years ago, I realized that I was unknowingly motivating people to pursue what I call Mission Driven Entrepreneurship. People were coming to me in droves (ok maybe not droves but it was a lot) to ask how I managed to lead a nonprofit and survive. They had always dreamed of starting a nonprofit but didn’t understand how to make money doing it.
At that point, I realized that running a nonprofit and making a great living was not a common thing. Like people legit thought that serving their community meant taking food out of their own mouths.
When I helped my first nonprofit (outside of my own) hire an employee, I knew that I was on to something major.
5. “The sound connected to my favorite memory is…”
My son’s heartbeat.
6. What have you closed the door on?
Compromising my peace.
I have a bad habit of accepting or taking on things for the sake of money, being helpful, being a Christian, or being in leader when the reality is I DON’T WANT TO DO IT. Not in the lazy “I don’t feel like it” way but in the “this drains my soul, taxes my energy, gives me nightmares, and breaks my spirit” type of way.
I’ve closed the door on saying yes to anything that disrupts my peace. Even if it means there are a few less dollars in the bank or few less likes on social media.
7. What are you working on that the world should know about?
I’m working on a resource for black women that have experienced pregnancy and infant loss.