Regal Lady Spotlight: Kourtnei Langely
Remember being a little girl, and always saying “When I grow up I want to be ____”. Imagine if today a young girl said “I want to be just like you when I grow up”. How would that make you feel? Pressured, indifferent, obligated, nonchalant? Well, luckily nowadays young women...more specifically young Black women are becoming entrepreneurs and role models in their communities. Meet Kourtnei Langely, CEO and founder of Ladies On the Verge of Excellence (L.O.V.E.). LOVE is an nonprofit organization that advocates for the advancement of female by encouraging and positively reinforcing physical, mental, and academic excellence through individual and group mentoring. From having discussions about “doing it for the ‘gram” to college readiness, L.O.V.E. is transforming the lives of young ladies throughout Baltimore. To learn more about this organization and life with "Tweens" continue reading... What is the goal and purpose of L.O.V.E.? LOVE is an organization I created for young women by young women. Currently we have a program called PEARLS which stands for: Placing Expectations Achieving Real Life Success. In PEARLS each mentee is paired with a mentor and also participates in biweekly workshops and community service projects. The overall goal for LOVE is to provide services to women of all ages (college readiness, assist with job placement, financial literacy...etc) that will help them excel. We want women to become more empowered, less dependent but realize many women lack resources needed. How did your childhood experiences motivate you to create L.O.V.E? It wasn't really any childhood experiences that motivated me to start LOVE is was mostly experiences during college. I will kind of highlight 3. 1. When I first started Howard I was a computer science major (then computer engineering, then back to computer science, then finally Computer Information Systems lol okay back to the point) which is a male dominated field (so is all the other majors I listed) but I somehow always managed to get the top internships. It was very difficult for me at first because I was ALWAYS the only female in my various internships and there were always few girls in whatever major I chose. I always felt like I couldn't compete with my male peers. Thankfully in all of my internships my managers were always women and they all shared stories and gave me advice on how to deal with problems (I was sooo self conscience one summer I kept the same hairstyle in all summer because I was too afraid of people judging the not only female but BLACK FEMALE intern, people who know me know I lovee to change my hair. It wasnt until a partner at Deloitte told me her story and how when she first started she went through the SAME EXACT THING that I started feeling more comfortable with my environment. These experiences really wanted me to lend helping hands to other college girls looking for internships,jobs so that I could see more people who look like me in the workplace and also to just offer them advice that I wish someone would have offered me when I first started my career. 2. I did a lot of community service during college and I noticed how the kids would open up more to college mentors than the adult mentors, which makes sense because why would a 13 year old want to tell a 40 year old their secrets. So I decided to really focus on pairing mentees with college woman so they could have someone they can relate more to. 3. In my personal experiences I realized how some women are content with being mediocre and that hurts my heart. But what hurts even more is that they don't know any better, it's like the blind leading the blind. I mean I have peers who really brag about being a side chick! Women who think stripping is a career! and girls who will do just about anything for a pair of red bottoms (not even because they really want the shoe but because of the validity they believe the shoe will bring them!) I truly want to break this cycle. A lot of girls don't have role models and go off of what they see. I want to expose young ladies to new things in order to change their mentalities. In today's society, young girls look up to "bad b****es" from music artists, to instagram models to reality stars. What has been your hardest challenge as a mentor to steer them away from mass media "role models" and into respectful young ladies? The hardest part has truly been choosing suitable mentors. When I interview people for mentoring positions I look for personality and originality because that is what our mentees feed off of (no one wants to talk to a robot!) Our mentees truly look up to their mentors (although I will say sometimes it starts out vain such as "my mentor pretty, my mentor drives this car"...etc) But once they get to develop that relationship it turns into "if i go to school and get good grades I can get a car like my mentor", "let me make sure I wash my face every night so my skin can be clear like my mentor"...etc) We also limit what they do on social media (if parents won't I will!) we have specific rules about what they can or cannot post and the mentors are always on the lookout. Honestly once you expose children to new things it totally changes their mindset I am very open and honest with them about my past wrongdoings on social media and how it affected me. I show them how everything on social media isn't real and it opens their eyes to life past IG, twitter, snap. During your time in college, you had to transfer out of Howard University and into a community college due to financial circumstances. What motivated you to earn the money and continue your studies? Honestly I had a goal (to graduate) the money was an obstacle I just got through it. Unenrolling was soo emotional for me (I literally cried from the registrar's office to my car snot running and all smh) but I always knew I was coming back. The next day I wiped my face went on indeed.com like okay time to get this shmoney! When I actually came back people were soo surprised to see me and I'm like did yall doubt me ummm okay lol. I also knew community college wasn't for me (I dropped out mid semester smh yes I dropped out of community college djm!) Thankfully I had my grandmother and my (cant believe Im about to say this ugh) ex boyfriend who both were sooo supportive. Are there any L.O.V.E special events/projects coming soon? How can we find out more information about L.O.V.E.? (For hopeful mentees and mentors) Yes we are actually having a pool party Sunday June 5 2-6 cherry Hill Aquatic Center all are welcome to join. Our website is www.lovementorinc.org and people can follow us on IG (yes we have an IG no bad bishes allowed LOL) lovementorinc. What makes you a Regal Lady? Im a Regal Lady because I live to uplift others not just my ladies in LOVE, but friends, families and even strangers (yes I get those random calls like Hi Kourtnei I met your auntie in the grocery store Im a senior in high school and I need your advice on blah blah lol)! I went to see ALL WOMEN doing well just not financially but spiritually also. I've gained confidence over the years and am no longer afraid of telling ppl to put some RESPECK on my name!