Lateshia Pearson is the CEO and Founder of Women Brunch Mississippi, an organization for women entrepreneurs to mingle, encourage, empower, network, and support one another over brunch. A native of Pelahatchie, MS, Lateshia and I begin our conversation with her describing her fond memories of growing up in a single parent home with her mom and siblings.
HerStory: Tell us about your family and growing up in Pelahatchie, Mississippi.
Lateshia: It was awesome! My mother is amazing and that’s where most of my inspiration comes from. If there were any struggles she didn’t make it known. She provided a great life for us. It was a great loving family. We didn’t have everything we wanted but definitely, all of our needs were met. I have no complaints at all about being raised by a single mother. In fact, I think that most of my strength comes from that experience. My mom had me at a young age so I learned so much from watching her go through so many obstacles. She’s my go-to person and my confidant. She always gives me the honest truth because she wants what’s best for me.
HerStory: Who were you as a teenager?
Lateshia: I had to figure out things about me because I wasn’t happy with myself. I was a people pleaser. I wanted to make sure that everyone around me was happy but I was deteriorating because I didn’t understand how to love myself. I was seeking happiness in other people. It wasn’t until I woke up one day and said what about me? Why do I have to have a fake smile? I was giving and giving and I kept emptying my cup, that was my issue. So I learned to fill my cup and share my overflow— that’s the difference.
HerStory: What did you do after high school?
Lateshia: I graduated from Hinds Community College and from there enrolled in Belhaven University where I received a Paralegal Degree. My husband and I have dated since I was 17 years old and we were married when I was 23. After graduation, I got a job as a paralegal at a law firm and stayed there for 11 years.
HerStory: What were some of the biggest challenges for you and your husband being married at what some would consider a very young age?
Lateshia: My husband and I have been together for 20 years and married for 15. We were told by doctors that we couldn’t have a child. I was very discouraged because this is my husband, we’ve been together for a while, and of course, there are no kids by him. But after a lot of prayers, my husband and I decided to move forward and that we were going to be fine. So it was 2014, I was 33 and I had just become a Bankruptcy Paralegal at Trustmark. I’m watching my friends and I’m watching families having kids and I’m like ok God I think I’m ready to try this again. So we went to the doctors and they told us nothing had changed and I still wouldn’t be able to have a child. So we accepted it again, we decided what’s for us is for us. We started a company right after called Animated Blast. I decided that if I couldn’t personally have children that I would create a way for me to be with them and make them happy. I couldn’t allow this to take over me in my mind. A no for me is never a no, it’s sometimes a not right now or a go figure something else out. It just pushed me to find another avenue to get what I desired done. I went into prayer and I started asking God what is it that I can do to fill this void of not having my own children, how can I make sure I’m able to be around children and make them happy? I was not about to allow a man to determine how I felt, I knew I had to protect my energy and my spirit. So my husband and I started building our business by going out and purchasing about 50 or 60 animated characters. The characters became a hit and business was booming. In Feb 2014, I was at work feeling terrible, my husband was off working 28 days at a time so I was by myself. A very persistent lady at my job suggested that I may be pregnant and that I should go and grab a test. I knew better, but I did it anyway. I took the test and two lines popped up, shocked I went back over to Dollar Tree and I bought about 10 more and they were all positive. All I could say was thank you, God.
HerStory: Amazing! What lessons did you learn going through this experience?
Lateshia: Sometimes people get a no and become ungrateful because God isn’t moving on your time. No, I couldn’t have kids but I went out and made a way to still be able to be around kids and make them happy. I wanted to be around my friend’s kids and just celebrate and rejoice with them and be happy with them in their season. Just because it was not my season I shouldn’t be happy for them in theirs? When you start expressing gratitude for what you do have God will move. I may have not been able to have children, but he gave me a vision where I could create something to make kids happy and in my moment of obedience and gratitude God opened up my womb. I was grateful. I was thankful, and I praised him anyway. I expressed love anyway. Sometimes, we have to rejoice with others when they are experiencing joy even when it’s not our time, that’s how blessings flow. Blessings can’t flow when you are unhappy. Blessings can’t flow when you are feeling like God has left you. When you feel good you manifest good things.
HerStory: Everyone is not on a level to understand manifestation, what do you say to someone who says yes that happened to you but it would never happen to me?
Lateshia: What we first have to realize is that everybody is different, we’re all created differently, that means God has put different ways to handle things in us. The way you handle it won’t be the way I handle it, it is all about loving yourself and knowing that you can do anything. You also have to stop comparing and competing, those two things are thieves of joy. Start looking on the inside and saying I am uniquely and wonderfully made. I am created in the image of God. What God has for me is for me. I have control over my life. I have control over my thoughts. Everything I touch will win. I believe when you start speaking things into your life things begin to change, doors begin to open, and shackles begin to fall. They say watching someone else eat will cause your food to get cold you have to focus on what you are doing and understand you have a purpose.
HerStory: Give me your definition of happiness.
Lateshia: Happiness for people is different so for me happiness is peace. Family is happiness. Genuine love is happiness. Happiness is everything I can’t swipe my debit card for. I love who I am, I love my flaws. I’m at peace with my past and I’m at peace with my present. Loving yourself and focusing on your own lane, having a tunnel vision and spreading the love. That’s what happiness is to me.
HerStory: Have you ever received constructive criticism that has helped you to be better?
Lateshia: Yes, I remember having a conversation with my husband and I asked him if I was controlling. He said yes, you want to tell people what they should do but sometimes your delivery seems controlling. So if anything I have learned to listen more. I am so adamant about the underdog and inspiring business owners and my family to fulfill their dreams. I want to see people succeed so bad.
HerStory: Tell us all about Women Brunch Mississippi
Lateshia: I was always helping and assisting people. I started to notice that so many people would call and ask for my help on all types of things related to business. After attending a Business Brunch in Georgia and witnessing those women working together, sharing ideas, and collaborating, I was so inspired. I didn’t care what the stigmas were, I knew we needed this in Mississippi. I decided to do an event called Mingling over Mimosas Business Brunch. It was open to male and female entrepreneurs in the state. I had it in Pearl, Mississippi. We planned for only 80 people and we had over 100 to attend. I was so excited and felt so empowered. I knew then that people really needed this. After that things started happening and God gave me a vision and the name Women Brunch Mississippi.
HerStory: At the end of every interview, I always ask every woman to answer the same question. To help leave your impression on every reader, in hopes that they will be able to identify their purpose through yours, please answer the question Who Am I?
Lateshia: I am change. I am inspiration. I am hope. I’m a creator. I’m a visionary. I’m a work in progress.