Lynda M. Clarke
Lynda M. Clarke, an author, mentor, and businessperson, has used her traumatic experience with domestic violence to drive her towards a new life of strength. Lynda earned her MBA in Strategic Management from Sacred Heart University. Her professional experience includes working on Wall Street, media, and financial industries, as well as education, with a focus on human resources management, training, and development.
Lynda is the founder of Listening Ear (listeningear.co) and has overcome challenges. She offers individual mentoring sessions and instructs journaling for transformative healing for females dealing with contradictory emotions and ideas. Lynda is an accomplished published author of short stories and the creator of imaginative storybook trailers.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative. [Please also share your goals, interests, and role.
I was raised in the same home as my parents and sister until I was sixteen years of age. As my second-grade year ended, my family changed residence from my maternal grandparent’s house to an area with fewer cultural differences but an improved educational system. My initial experience of racial issues occurred on a school bus in the third grade because of my lengthy red hair and freckled sun-kissed complexion. Until that moment, I had not understood that my family, with its varied cultural backgrounds, had fostered an environment of diversity and tolerance.
The cultural influences of my parents had a strong effect on our spiritual activities, cuisine, music, art, and academic aspirations. Education and preparation were of the utmost importance in my household and have acted as the cornerstone of my career up until this moment. Dedication to learning was demanded both at school and in the home. I have long held a strong interest in reading and writing, both of which have been a substantial part of my daily life besides the education I have received.
After finishing college, my profession opened up the chance for me to travel for work, although I scarcely encountered other women of my ethnic background. My mother, a successful corporate attorney, was a great asset in helping me navigate life, especially when I was met with criticism for not conforming to a certain stereotype.
I aspire to use my writing to portray the human experience from a particular viewpoint that others may not be aware of. It is my wish that readers find a different point of view by vicariously living through another’s journey. My author brand of michellebleuleau.com is portrayed to the reader with the use of stories, previews, language, and visualizations, in order to present the brand’s interpretation of the human experience.
The occurrence of domestic violence in my life was the impetus behind the creation of ListeningEar.co, which promotes physical, spiritual, and mental healing as we, survivors, move forward in our lives, particularly through the practice of journaling. Examining their written work can aid in developing deep insight into oneself and which steps to take next in the process of healing.
As an author my aim is to show the storyteller’s perspective by using characters and visuals. As an entrepreneur, my clients are the protagonists. I wish to guide them into navigating through life and their personal journey, and how they can use the experience to heal and progress.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
My degree in Secondary Education and Reading from college allowed me to progress in my professional development. While I was finishing my Master of Business Administration, my partner at the time committed an act of violence against me. The recovery of most of my physical wounds took more than a year, leaving permanent damage to my left eye. The emotional healing took much longer.
I was destitute. My financial resources had been exhausted, and my corporate career had ended. I contacted my dean from a park bench and explained why I would not return for my last two semesters. He promptly granted me a leave of absence and offered to contact a lawyer should I require one. Prior to taking a sabbatical from graduate school, I had earned my Certificate in Leadership.
Approximately eighteen months after that, I went back to university to finish my last year of graduate school, and I earned a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in Strategic Organization.
It was a strenuous experience that I had to endure, as it taught me what it was like to be disabled yet remain accepted, although my wounds were not visible. I owe it to the Dean’s confidence in me when I graduated. He. He strongly urged me to write my narrative and share it with others to give them courage.
At present, besides the physical challenge, I have another impairment, yet I refuse to allow it to determine my identity or what I can accomplish. It is because of the support of my family, my trust in my faith, and my adherence to tradition that I can do what I do now. Despite having limited resources, I have used my creativity and hard work to achieve extraordinary things.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea that made you start this brand? How did such a unique idea strike you, and what motivated you to “YES, go for it?”
My journaling and writing enabled me to alter my attitude from that of a victim to a victor, which resulted in me ultimately deciding to launch my brand. I did not think that people would be interested in my efforts to redefine my life, however those familiar with me before the occurrence could recognize my resolve to reform my life. By disseminating my journaling process to those who had gone through abuse and recommending they write, process, and restructure the words they had heard, they could make use of my method and find success. Two women kept reminding me to stay focused on helping other women and to never give up. Their support and belief in me give me the courage to push forward, even when I’m feeling hesitant.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
I am working to help women when they have run out of other avenues, providing them with a safe space to talk through their experiences. Through offering a secure platform for victims of domestic violence to express their stories, my goal is to empower them in their journey to becoming a survivor. I am not a replacement for the services available, but I can offer an additional level of emotional support through listening and offering support.
The women I have collaborated with concerning journal-based healing methods have had positive responses, and I am still broadening my understanding of both journal-based healing and the JIM water technique. Last, I began documenting my journey of dealing with an unexpected diagnosis earlier this year, and I am trying to find the best way to share it with others so that they can record their own emotions in response.
It is my decision to use my own experiences to do something good for another person. I have been able to succeed because of the encouragement of my family lineage, who always motivated me to pursue my dreams and make progress. I show reverence for the ethnic legacy my family has bestowed upon me each day.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
It has been a privilege for me to come in contact with individuals who had the tools and capabilities that allowed me to build my business model. Owing to my hands-on approach, I devoted effort to researching, reading, and taking my “baby steps” to plan my author business model.
A difficulty I encountered was attempting to begin by executing everything that was on my list without understanding the fundamentals that were necessary to construct the subsequent task. While participating in a two-phase diyMFA program, I encountered someone who shared the same fundamental values. We embarked upon the writing process and other training and exchanged resources and information regularly. We remain in contact up to the present day.
I also grasped the significance of an author platform, michellebleuleau.com. I had difficulty understanding some concepts at first, but eventually I designed my website and created my brand. Next, I collected all of my thoughts concerning domestic violence that I deemed of importance and worked with someone for a year who evaluated my ideas and objectives. When I built my other website listeningear.co I consulted a professional web designer when I had a business plan created and what I wanted each section of the website to look like. I encountered a fantastic woman, and we spent a considerable amount of time developing the look of my logos and essential images.
I have strived to make a distinction and show honest connections between my role, objectives, and interests that reflect me. My views and convictions do not represent the stances of all women of color, but rather illustrate the legacy of those who came before me.
As a coping mechanism, I use my daily nature walks with my ancestors. They provide me with the time to reflect, plan, and appreciate the peace of thinking. Upon my return home, I resume my prayer time and nourishment for my physical and spiritual being before I organize my day.
In my workspace, I document conversations and ideas in separate notebooks. I still use the Franklin Covey system from my corporate days to identify two to three goals I must complete every day.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
When I realized my former employer was going to keep me boxed into a position that was not my strength, we mutually parted company. I remember reading The Path Made Clear, Discovering Your Life’s Directions and Purpose earlier that year. I had made marks on every page of that book; notes and drawings I had scribbled in the margins. I opened the book and began to map out the journey I had envisioned.
I opted to leave the organization that did not recognize my worth. My talents went unrecognized, resulting in me feeling left out, then my mother tragically passed away because of COVID. This prompted me to reflect upon my legacy, and what I wanted to leave behind.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
Aside from completing my MBA, I would add another achievement was when I wanted to be considered for an MFA program. One requirement for consideration was successful completion of a two semesters writer’s workshop. When I signed up for the initial semester writing workshop in haste, I had to understand how it operated. I was writing my novel, and we were required to write short stories and narrative essays. I passed the first semester. However, my second semester professor was extremely critical of my story in a public setting, and then informed me I did not possess the talents to be a writer.
The thought came to me that this man was unacquainted with me, so I scheduled a meeting with him to go over my story. Other students made me aware that he was an overt racist and had released a book regarding his opinion. Bearing in mind my prior unsatisfactory encounter with the professor, I predicted the meeting would not lead me nearer to acceptance. At the end of our discussion, I accepted his stance of racism as the crux of our association, and he realized I was an educated corporate professional.
He recognized the premise of my novel was of immense value, and he proposed I could think about collaborating with a ghostwriter.
Fortunately, I did not gain admission to the program. However, in these last two years, I have authored and published eight short stories without the aid of a ghostwriter. Trust in your capabilities to attain the ambitions you have set for yourself.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity
I hope that female entrepreneurs of the future will trust the power in their own abilities and gut feelings. To put it succinctly, do not imitate what you have seen us do, but learn from our missteps and have faith in your own approach. This will be an aid to your progression on your journey. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out how I did it, consider how you can build on what I have done. I believe that mindset assists us female entrepreneurs to grow.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
My unwavering faith has been a cornerstone of my personal and professional life. Each day, I take some time to practice my faith through prayer, feeling a sense of peace and comfort. When I need encouragement or inspiration, I take a break from my day to go for a walk or seek an atmosphere of tranquility in nature to recharge. By looking at my daily plan, you can see I have earmarked time for myself to reconnect and concentrate on my task. These measures have enabled me to confront the difficulties and surmount any roadblocks that could impede or obstruct my progress.
This has given me the courage to move onward regardless of what others may say or believe. I understand my mission at a particular point in time or place is meaningful and part of my path. Like a gardener nurturing a seed, I tend to my goals and watch them come to life.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid.
I recall when I was in graduate school and my professor required us to research what had contributed to a CEO’s success. The room was filled with males, except for another woman. I was the only one of color in the class and at that moment, I made a conscious decision to select a female CEO that had an immense influence on everyone’s life. I profiled Mary Barra who was the first woman to be appointed as the CEO of a major automotive manufacturer in January 2014.
Ms. Barra’s selection to a higher level of management was unexpected in an industry that has scarcely seen females reach executive positions. An examination of history shows that women have had a much more significant involvement in the automotive industry, typically having to confront systemic obstructions. Sadly, their accomplishments were often overlooked or purposely suppressed. These facts served as the foundation for my presentation.
Supporting my research paper, I presented a PowerPoint and handouts. I have memories of being in the room while my peers presented, jotting down what I could do to improve my own presentation, and then using those notions to refine it. Even though I can now see the humor in it, I remember feeling very uneasy at the time because I had returned to the program with a permanent injury from abuse.
I presented my CEO, and it amazed me that many of my schoolmates were not even cognizant that there was a female CEO in the automobile industry.
My reason for sharing this is to show the reader the expansion of female CEOs of color in the Fortune 500; in 2014, there were 24, and by 2020, that number had risen to 41. In my estimation, women have more chances to have an impact and become exceptional leaders in all industries. It is important to inspire, aid, and cultivate this generation of women to overcome those boundaries and thrive.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
When faced with adversity, stay resilient and use its power to soar to greater heights. I’m so impressed with the special energy that each of you brings, and I am delighted to see you all become successful entrepreneurs and respected figures in the business world. A deep sense of humility, accompanied by admiration and respect, fills me. I’m excited to be awed by what you’ll accomplish in your lifetime.