What does Black History Month mean to YOU?
Kelsey: It's something of a celebration but also a remembrance. For how lucky I am to be where I am and the people who came before me to achieve it.
Joi: To me, Black History Month means celebration. It means recognition, reverence, and respect. It also serves as an opportunity for America as a whole to be educated on the contributions Black Americans made in American history— something that often is erased in 99% of the education we all receive. Lastly, it means that we have to take a good look at why we have one in the first place.
Dani: Black History Month. 28 days to shine an even brighter light highlighting the culture and ever-astonishing legacy of Black people. 28 days to remind myself that Black history is made every day. 28 days devoted to being inspired that I too can make history.
Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get started with your current career path/business journey?
Kelsey: I started with Luminary directly after college and have been able to grow with them. I love being a part of the Luminary community and am grateful for the ways it has helped me grow both professionally and personally.
Joi:I started by business in Georgia (where I’m from) because I couldn’t find any other business that existed there that did what I wanted to do at the time. PRESENCE Creative Consulting, LLC has morphed into its current business model after 12 years of trial & error.
Dani: During my college summers, I traveled around the nation with Chick-fil-A family foundation as a camp counselor. Through CFA’s leadership development, I was promoted to Camp Director. This birthed a passion for nonprofit management. I received my Master of Public Administration from NYU and Columbia and was introduced to an expanded world of social justice work. For four years, I supervised a federally-funded education nonprofit. I am currently the Director of Operations at Thrivance Group, a Black woman-owned planning and consulting firm rooted in racial and social justice.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
Kelsey: I would say my outgoing personality and adaptability have been some of my greatest assets. This is due to both of them helping me achieve my goals and then also move and grow with them as they change.
Joi: Can I give two? Curiosity & Boldness.
Dani: I don’t see failure as an option. If I’ve lost, the game isn’t over yet. This leads me to try, try, try again and find, find, find a solution. Problems are opportunities.
What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
Kelsey: I am currently working on continuing my education! I hope to soon return to grad school and obtain my masters and doctorate degree.
Joi:There are several, but since I snuck in an extra answer before I’ll follow the rules this time—Networking.
Dani: Organizational development through strategic partnership.
In what ways are you taking care of your personal well being and what are your #selfcare tips?
Kelsey: I'm taking time to focus on myself and try and find a proper balance. (Also a facemask and wine night never hurts!)
Joi: Just by giving myself permission to be unproductive every now and again. There’s ALWAYS something you could be doing when you’re building or maintaining a business. Sometimes removing the guilt from watching and episode “RuPaul’s Drag Race” or “90 Day Fiancee” ends up being the reset you need.
Dani: Last year I committed to a true balance of work, play, and rest. I make sure that I experience all 7 forms of rest: physical, mental, emotional, social, creative, sensory, and spiritual.
What does Luminary mean to you?
Kelsey: Luminary to me means community. It's our amazing members who have had so much to teach me and help me grow within the network.
Joi: Luminary is pretty dope. I say this because I’ve never worked at a place where I was ENCOURAGED to bring all of me to my job. Cate literally told me to promote my business to the Luminary community— Who does that?! She literally encouraged me to soar (even if its to her detriment). That’s when I knew this place was different. But the actual Luminary community is a vibe. Not corporate and stuffy, but like professional and warm. If you’re trying to bloom, it’s definitely fertile ground.
Dani: A luminary is a thought leader and a thought partner. They boldly pioneer new thoughts. They invade dark spaces with light and imagination. They are the quintessential --role models of revolutionary thinkers that everyone wants to dream and build with. And they glow while doing it.
Kelsey Gonsalves is a graduate of Seton Hall University where she studied Communication and the Arts. Kelsey decided to study Communications because she believes that it is something that can help us greatly in today's society. Kelsey is hoping to get into graduate school to continue her education and broaden her horizons. She is excited to be at Luminary where she is able to focus on her passion for equality while making amazing connections with the women in the space.
Dani De Boulay calls herself a “creative committed to public service.” Her professional background is in positive youth development, community outreach, and nonprofit management. Currently, she is the Director of Operations for an all-women strategy consulting firm for urban planning and racial equity projects. In 2020, she launched her side hustle as a freelance Creative Director for influencers and musicians - she's also a singer herself. She's the most extroverted introvert you’ll meet and she is looking forward to meeting you.
Joi Branch is a long-time observer of human behavior, so marketing is a natural fit. Combining her creative and strategic talents, Joi has been quite happy exploring and expanding her marketing skills in her consulting work. Taking her digital & social media marketing consulting business full-time in 2015, PRESENCE Creative Consulting has had the pleasure of working with Paralympian Bonnie St. John, pharmaceutical company Otsuka, and many small businesses of varied industries.