Conversations with the Inspiring Keya McClain

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keya McClain.

So, before we jump into specific questions about what you do, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a poet, author, speaker, storyteller and self-publishing coach. I am also the founder of non-profit organization Empower2Be. I have a podcast called: The Healing Poetic Podcast as well (which is part of my three-part poetic series). I have lived in Dallas for three years now. I relocated from St. Louis seeking a new start, fresh faces and energy and opportunities that I believed existed here.

I relocated to Dallas initially 10 years previously and returned back to St. Louis due to family issues. When I decided to return to Dallas my son had been living in LA for three years by the time I made the decision.  I’ve been performing and showcasing as a spoken word poet and storyteller for over ten years. I have authored five books in total. Three of those books, I self-published and is part of a series entitled: The Healing Poetic Expression Series. The other two books I co-authored are #BossMoms and Poetry and Prose (a collective of poems from various poets in various areas). I began life coaching five years ago, however, I found that the bulk of my clients really wanted to self-publish so I got a coach to help me garner those skills further and be a more effective coach to cater to that specific niche.

I have worked in the legal field for 20 years in various positions from data entry clerk, legal secretary, assistant case manager with the District Court, paralegal and paralegal instructor. Those positions and my education has allowed me to be a very strong coach with unique and extensive experience in organization, quality and both substantive and creative writing skills. I earned an Associate in Applied Science for Paralegal Studies and Paralegal Certificate, Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies in Master of Arts in Legal Analysis. My son is 24 and very recently relocated to Dallas with me. It may be temporary or long term, either way, I am enjoying having my son near again.  I have an extremely loving, supportive and caring mother, great friends, family, supporters and an amazing man in my life. My journey has had its share of curves, dips and wide turns, however, it is the journey that led me to the amazing healing and loving stories I share in poetic form.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have been times where I felt I would not make it. From being a young girl in some rough areas of St. Louis and Los Angeles to being a mom of one son as I balanced work, life, college and then starting, maintaining and growing a business. I have had some financial, mental, emotional and physical challenges that left me feeling paralyzed and emotionally depleted.

My faith, belief and dedication to doing the work spiritually was essential to me continuing and staying committed to my purpose. I would suggest to other women who will likely face obstacles in any venture they are striving towards to maintain focus, relationship with a higher power and a tribe of others who are positive and supportive. Women are caretakers, empaths and givers and we must allow ourselves grace by saying no, setting boundaries and knowing our worth. Do the necessary inner work so you won’t wound others and ultimately yourself.  I’ve been married and divorced twice and know the downfalls and my contribution to the demise of those relationships.  The main lesson I’ve learned is accountability and taking full responsibility for my happiness.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I coach women primarily who want to self-publish their poetic story and/or book and turn that into a business. I speak to groups, colleges, organizations and/or corporate entities on how to live in your purpose whether working a job or as an entrepreneur. I write poetry for specific events for others as well as perform my own work. I host book readings and conferences to empower, uplift and inspire women and sometimes men.

I would say that I’m known for influencing others by sharing my own personal story through poetry or stories of inspiration. I am proud of my ability to be transparent and share things that once made me uncomfortable. As a result of my transparency, I have been able to inspire and encourage others to share their truth. I am not the average coach, poet or speaker because I realize this is my assignment in life and I take it very seriously. I don’t take my gifts for granted at all and would love to work with those who are passionate, eager and determined.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
I am often asked how to get a mentor. My advice in the past and to date is to form authentic, genuine and honest relationships. Do not make it about yourself and offer your assistance or willingness to assist. Networking is a lot of work. I’m often attending networking events and what I notice is people aren’t networking. It takes confidence, persistence and consistency to gain leverage with networking, but it is necessary.

Once you network and connect with others it does not stop in that room. Beyond that room, it takes work beyond LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram connection. You should meet up and discuss what you can offer and how the relationship can be mutually beneficial. I believe in old school relationship building. Meet, follow up, converse and build a connection genuinely to gain a mentor and to have effective networking experiences.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tee Shotz, Stacey Oluchi

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