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2020 Reflections

"No one knows what God told you, but you. Follow the call." - Unknown

I was not going to do a 2020 year-end review. But, I was inspired to do a reflections blog post by a friend I met this year, Racquel Coral. You can read her "Dear 2020" post here; she's awesome.

My grandmother passed away on December 9. I'm still grieving. This is a good place to begin as my year started with Death. January 1, 2020, alone in my comfy Brooklyn apartment, I had just completed writing my January goals in my journal and then I get a DM: "Call me ASAP". My friend of 20-years, a man I deeply admire, passed away in his sleep (RIP, PLS). A Rutgers bond that would never be broken. Nothing made sense. I did what I knew best - I focused on myself and fearlessly pursued my goals for the year.

Then February came. I started the month on a plane to San Francisco and then to Napa Valley. It was an amazing trip with colleagues that I respect and admire. I was working a comfy 6-figure job in the Big Data space as an Account Manager. My first time in Napa and I won the FY'20 Customer Success Manager of the Year award. I felt and knew I was deserving of the accolades. I enjoyed dinner at a winery, grateful for the experience, and thankful for the opportunity.

Then March came. I continued working while focusing on building my startup, LESOYA LLC. This year I was determined to launch the MVP of my HRTech App, CandShout. I networked at Tech conferences, made new connections, outgrew connections, and continued working on my business. Life was good, despite the challenges triggered by Covid-19. I continued to grieve. I continued to work. I started dancing. I continued to Love.

Then April came and so did Death. "For Life and Death are one, even as the river and sea are one." - Khalil Gibran. My God-brother, Charles Burke, passed away. Both Charles and Paul passed away before the age of 40. I continued grieving. I continued working. I continued dancing. I continued Loving.

May to July seemed like a blur. I launched the new design of the LESOYA website and launched my personal website. This year amplified and illuminated all of the ism's and ill's in our Country. I will never forget the feeling of collective exhaustion; we became bonded by our trauma. Like many Black people living in America, I have been struggling with the trauma and anxiety of surviving a global pandemic (Covid-19) while navigating Black suffering. The perpetual wounds seem to be inescapable; many of us have accepted that this is a by-product of 400 years of inequality and Racism in America.

Then August came. I celebrated my 36th Solar Return. I quit my 6-figure job and enrolled in a startup accelerator program. I created a Medium account. I reflected on the Anniversary death of Mike Brown and many other Black Americans who senselessly lost their lives to Police Brutality. You can read "My Last Protest" on Medium. I'm grateful for all of our heroes fighting for the rights of every person in our community, specifically the rights of Black Lives, as we do Matter.

Then September, October, November came. Still trying to survive a Pandemic. Still working. Still dancing and loving. I stepped out on Faith - the one thing that anchors my life and decisions - living without fear, doing it scared, and maintaining my Faith. I created a Customer Service Roadmap ebook for brands, entrepreneurs, and SMBs. I graduated from my Accelerator program and launched the CandShout podcast. I soft-launched the CandShout platform and MVP in the App store. None of this was possible without the relationships I built over the years and the new connections I made this year.

Then December came. I learned to celebrate myself fully. LESOYA turned 3 and the CandShout platform is slowly growing. I am at Peace. I learned to let go of what no longer serves me. My discernment grew stronger. I got closer to God and my family. I learned to not let people's projections become my truth. I continued working. I continued dancing. Most importantly, I continued loving. RIP to all the lives we lost in 2020. Thank you, 2020.

With Love,

Latoya Leslie

Founder & CEO at LESOYA

#thankful #2020review #yearend #reflections #resiliency #love #gratitude #relationships #covid19

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