Phind out Phriday: Choose life with Shenille Latrice of ichoose2live
Recently, well okay almost two months ago, but not too long ago, I had a birthday. And I had a great time celebrating it. One of the highlights of the celebrating was going to see a play, Popular, written by a local playwright. I thoroughly enjoyed the show but more that the show I enjoyed phinding out that the playwright, Shenille Latrice, was also an entrepreneur. After learning about the startling statistics of rates of HIV among women between the ages of 25 and 34 in one of her classes at Drexel University a few years ago, what was initially designed to be a class project, turned into a business, ichoose2live, which is dedicated to inspiring and motivating youth through education and outreach in Philadelphia.
Phreedum: Who are you in 5 words?
SL: God fearing, passionate, driven, compassionate, student
Phreedum: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned so far as an entrepreneur?
SL: If you have a dream, pursue it. Once you have an idea, write it, plan it, and go for it. It might not be easy, may require some sacrificing, but go for it. A dream is possible.
Phreedum: What have been some of the sacrifices you’ve had to make along the way?
SL: Well there have definitely been some sacrifices. Some of which have been money, time, and the lifestyle I was accustomed to. You are constantly making your own way, and you have to remain innovative with limited resources. You have to be 100% focused on creating the path to accomplish the goal and that means sacrifices like the ones I mentioned. And to be honest I can’t say I regret making those sacrifices. Being an entrepreneur there is no set path.
Phreedum: So as you are pursuing your goal and making sacrifices, what keeps you motivated?
SL: Reading the Word and my purpose. I know God has a plan for me and I didn’t always know that. I stay in my WORD.
Phreedum: Do you have a favorite scripture?
SL: Sure do. I have two actually. Prov. 24:10 (“If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.”) and Phil.4:13 ("I can do all this through him who gives me strength.").Between those two versus I can do whatever cause I get my strength from God so I know I won’t fail.
Phreedum: What has been your proudest moment so far?
SL: Well, recently I completed a documentary about HIV . To see that 4 years ago I took an idea and here I am being able to see that idea as something concrete, relevant, and something that gives a voice to such a huge issue is really great.
Phreedum: What does the documentary capture?
SL: It’s a ten minute documentary with a series of interviews and commentary from professionals in the field, a young person living with the virus, and talking to people on the street about the virus. Oh, and there is some comedic commentary.
Phreedum: That is definitely cool.
Phreedum: No problem. As you have been working on all of these projects, running ichoose2live, writing and directing popular, and the documentary, who would you say has been the most influential in allowing you to phreely pursue all of this?
SL: That’s a good question. I would have to say God.
Phreedum: Of course.
SL: And my older sister. When I worked for corporate America I told her how miserable I was and what it was I really wanted to do. She told me to follow my dreams. She has been very inspiring in that capacity, make me feel like I could be phree.
Phreedum: How does the work you do change the lives of others?
SL: I think it makes people think about the power they have to create change in themselves and in the community. Each person counts.
Phreedum: If you could go back in time and give the Shenille of 10 years ago advice, what would it be?
SL: Start exploring you options now. By that I mean, options beyond college and corporate America. And establish a relationship with Christ, a genuine relationship.
Phreedum: If ichoose2live was a sport, what sport would it be and why?
SL: Hmm. Let’s see. Okay, boxing. As a small company with limited resources you take a lot of blows, and it is a constant fight to not lose.
Phreedum: Okay, last question. Earlier you told us what you’d tell the you of ten years ago. But where do you want to see you 5 years from now?
SL: I want to be a household name. I want everybody knowing our mission and the power of choices. Everything in life is a choice even if the choices are not favorable.
To learn more about Shenille Latrice and ichoose2live visit www.ichoose2live.com