Hey everyone, I have to be honest I’m not a huge fan of social media but I’m meeting some of the most coolest and inspirational people on Instagram. Since I’m not branching out into the world like I used to due to Covid my new networking tool is IG and I have to say, I’m meeting and interacting with more people than I did before being quarantined. With all the disturbing and unsettling events taking place in the world right now I wanted to share interviews with all of you that capture stories of people who are spreading positivity and trying to keep people motivated, encouraged and inspired to be the best version of themselves during these challenging times. So everyone, I would like to introduce our next Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman Dr. Sha-Lai Williams.
Dr. Sha-Lai Williams who also goes by the name Dr. S. Dr. Sha-Lai is an inspirational speaker, published author, entrepreneur, licensed therapist (LCSW) with nearly 25 years of clinical experience, associate professor, and a passionate and enthusiastic teacher of God’s Word. She is “dropping nuggets you didn’t know you needed” and always looking for new opportunities to inspire growth and welcome challenges. Dr. Sha-Lai has her own business called About Face Collaborative, LLC which we will learn more about in the interview below, she has an innovative prayer event called A SELAH EVENT, then there is ARISE her 52-week Devotional Journal and an apparel line called CShirts_Apparel. Dr. Sha-Lai has so much going on and more than likely we will need another interview to cover everything lol.
ASCSW: Hello Dr. Sha-Lai, I hope you’re doing well. Thank you so much for taking time out to chat with ASCSW. I wanted to request an interview with you to talk and learn more about you and your business About FACE Collaborative, LLC. Your videos on Instagram have so many positive, empowering, uplifting messages in them and you truly are spreading useful knowledge. I’m ready to jump into this interview to chat and let the readers get to know more about you. Ready to begin?
Dr. Sha-Lai: Of course, and thank you again for your invitation to participate in this interview.
ASCSW: I would like to start off our interview talking about you. Can you share with the readers where you are from? Also, how have you been doing during these unpredictable and challenging times?
Dr. Sha-Lai: I’m originally from North Carolina, but I’ve been in St. Louis for over 12 years. You know, these are indeed unpredictable and challenging times and I believe the only reason why I’ve been able to hold it together is due to my relationship with Jesus and His assurance that, at the end of the day, everything is going to be alright.
ASCSW: You have a very impressive background and just for a quick second I would like to talk about you being a licensed therapist with nearly 25 years of clinical experience. What inspired you to pursue a career in this particular field? What do you love most about it?
Dr. Sha-Lai: When I was in high school, I considered either becoming an attorney or a medical social worker. I’m not really sure why those careers stood out to me though (lol). I ended up pursuing social work in my undergraduate program and learned that I needed a Masters degree to eventually start my own private practice so I continued my education. I believe this field resonated with me because I appreciated being able to talk to people about things that bothered them, and helping them generate new ways to handle old problems.
ASCSW: Now, Dr. Sha-Lai I know you’re an entrepreneur and I love to give my fellow entrepreneurs/guests the opportunity to share some information about their business so with that being said, let everyone know about your business About Face Collaborative, LLC. Also, share with the readers what sparked your interest to create About Face Collaborative, LLC?
Dr. Sha-Lai: About FACE Collaborative LLC was born out of my desire to create one place to house my multiple ideas, products, and services. I’d originally started CShirts_Apparel, and later wrote ARISE Devotional Journal. I had Facebook pages and Instagram accounts for both and it became overwhelming to manage several social media platforms so I prayed about a name for an umbrella company and came up with About FACE Collaborative LLC. Many of your readers may be familiar with the term “about face” meaning to turn in the opposite direction, and all of my endeavors aim to help people move in the direction that will allow them to become their best self. In addition, About FACE stands for Faith, Advancement, Change, and Empowerment which are major components to anything I do. Lastly, About FACE now hosts A SELAH EVENT and SISTAH (Sharing Intimate Stories that Achieve Healing).
ASCSW: I visited your website, Instagram, blog and Youtube channel to check out some of the content you’re putting out into the world and it’s very motivational, inspiring and uplifting. I noticed some videos on your IG page called, New Nugget, Motivational Moment and Teaching Tuesday and I love them, your videos really made me think about things. My favorite video is the one where you’re talking about the persistent spider and the gentleman named Robert who was walking across the country. With your background as a licensed therapist could you share some tips on how to stay persistent or ways to improve our persistence?
Dr. Sha-Lai: Thank you for checking out the videos! I had to laugh when you mentioned the spider one… that’s one of my favorites as well. I think there are three ways that we can improve our persistence: (1) start with the things that you actually want to do because that makes it a little easier to stick-with-it, (2) make a list of those things that you don’t necessarily want to do (but need to) because it’s hard to argue with something you’ve written down, and (3) have an accountability partner so you can have someone to support you as well as hold you to the fire whether you’re working on #1 or #2.
ASCSW: Let’s talk about your innovative prayer event A SELAH EVENT. Could you share with the readers your mission and purpose behind this event? I noticed the most recent one was August 21st. Have you planned the next one yet? Also, is this available virtually as some people may want to attend but don’t live in the area?
Dr. Sha-Lai: One area that I know the Lord has called me to is prayer, and A SELAH EVENT was birthed out of a monthly prayer time that I initiated at my local church. I wanted to keep the concept small but was challenged by my leadership to make it an event and open it up to whomever was interested. In thinking about how the event would be set up, I knew it was important to have a dedicated time for fellowship, especially for busy women. It’s so easy to get distracted when you’re at home, you know? Also, I knew that I wanted there to be a unique aspect where, in addition to a time of teaching/preaching, there was a chance for immediate prayer. Many of us may have attended conferences where we learn something, maybe take lots of notes, but we don’t have an opportunity to actually practice what we learned. A SELAH EVENT builds in time to pray on the spot after the speaker shares. Yes, we’ve had three in-person events and I hope we’ll be able to have more in the near future. Until then, I’ve started hosting a monthly time of prayer on the third Tuesday at 7pm CST, on Facebook and Instagram.
ASCSW: I know you’re a published author and you have a 52-week devotional and journal combination called ARISE Devotional Journal which can be found and purchased on your website. What inspired you to create such an inspirational and motivational masterpiece? What is the mission you want to accomplish with your devotional journal?
Dr. Sha-Lai: Oh wow, a masterpiece, thank you for that compliment! Honestly, ARISE was my way of figuring out how to stay consistent with my devotion time. For me, sometimes daily reading was overwhelming, and then I’d feel bad if I missed a day. With ARISE, you have a full week to meditate over the scripture and because the journal pages are included, you don’t have to search for a separate place to write down your thoughts. It’s my hope that using this devotional journal will allow people to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ through consistent and thoughtful time with Him.
ASCSW: Writing and putting together a book can be challenging for some including myself but seeing the finished product is so rewarding. How long did it take you to complete your devotional journal Arise? Did you encounter any challenges along the way? If so, what were some of the challenges and how did you overcome them?
Dr. Sha-Lai: So funny story: I actually printed about 20 copies of ARISE in booklet form nearly 12 or so years ago. Since then it had been sitting in my computer files until about two years ago when I realized that I had to make use of what the Lord had given me. The biggest challenge for me was laziness, complacency, and just not pushing myself but once I got an accountability partner like I mentioned earlier, it was a much smoother process. A friend of mine had self published, so she knew the ropes and her willingness to share her knowledge was invaluable.
ASCSW: Let’s talk about S.I.S.T.A.H.: Sharing Intimate Stories That Achieve Healing. This is powerful and can be therapeutic. Could you share with the readers a little bit about why S.I.S.T.A.H was created and how women can be a part of it?
Dr. Sha-Lai: SISTAH has been a passion of mine for nearly 20 years. When the Lord first gave me this idea, it was before the internet was the thing it is now. I had some random blog-ish type site, and I’d send emails out to women who had expressed interest and they’d respond back on various topics. The purpose then, and now, is to give women the opportunity to share their story(ies) for their own personal healing as well as for other women to be able to read and know that they are not alone when it comes to dealing with the numerous issues/experiences that we have been a part of our lives. Any woman can participate by simply visiting www.aboutfacecollaborative.com and click on the SISTAH tab. There are a variety of topics that she can share about and I’m looking forward to the day when it can be a compiled work.
ASCSW: From your own experience and reading some of the submissions through S.I.S.T.A.H.: Sharing Intimate Stories That Achieve Healing, what do you think are some of the hardest things about being a woman and why?
Dr. Sha-Lai: You know, it’s difficult to say what might be the hardest thing because everyone’s story is so different. If I had to summarize, I think just being a woman, particularly a black woman, and especially a single black woman with children can be challenging. A lot of us have dealt with trauma in our childhood that hasn’t been properly addressed and it continues to show up in other areas of our lives. So whereas the actual issue that presents itself is hard to deal with, it’s further complicated by the untreated trauma from our past.
ASCSW: In life challenges and obstacles arise in our lives, we can easily lose sight of our dreams which can cause us to begin to give up because at times situations seem too much to bear and when this happens self motivation can be impossible to find. In your videos you speak about persistence and how the end is better than the beginning. What would you tell individuals about the importance of having self confidence and having the proper mindset to follow through with their goals/dreams?
Dr. Sha-Lai: Having self-confidence is vitally important to keeping yourself motivated to follow through with your goals/dreams. Sometimes, though, that self-confidence is waning and we struggle with battles in our mind about whether we’re good enough, whether we actually heard from God, whether it’s a good idea and the like. When that happens, I encourage all of us, including myself, to turn to the Word of God and read His promises and proclamations over our lives to restore our mindset and confidence.
ASCSW: Mental Health is such an important topic and it’s crucial for us to carve out time for selfcare. How do you prioritize your time between working, running your business, being a mother, blogging, doing speaking or prayer engagements and finding time for yourself? Do you have any self care rituals?
Dr. Sha-Lai: You know, I talk to my students all the time about the importance of self-care and weekly ask them about what they’ve done to take care of themselves. Usually I can prioritize pretty well because I live by my calendar (lol). I block out time for self-care just like I do for everything else I’m responsible for. My self-care typically includes getting massages, binge watching my favorite TV show, eating something good, or napping.
ASCSW: With everything you’re doing now from being a licensed therapist, inspirational speaker, published author, entrepreneur, motivator, associate professor and social media influencer. When everything is all said and done what do you want people to remember you for? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
Dr. Sha-Lai: Wow, that’s a good question! I’d love for people to remember me as a prayer warrior as well as someone they could talk to about anything. I’d love for my legacy to include a family lineage of salvation and for people that I never met to have been touched by some prayer that I prayed at some point in my life.
ASCSW: As we live and go through life, we encounter many challenges but it is important to know there are lessons to be learned during those difficult times. That being said, what has been the most impactful experience you have encountered so far during your journey of life that has helped you grow into the woman you are now both personally and professionally?
Dr. Sha-Lai: This is hard to narrow down to just one thing but as I think about it, I believe I’d have to say it was when the Lord called me into ministry in the early 2000s. I was already doing what I thought I wanted to do professionally and was pretty much coasting along personally, but when that experience happened, it ultimately changed the trajectory of my life, both personally and professionally.
ASCSW: When you were growing up was there a woman in your life that you felt represented A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman? If so, what are some of the characteristics they displayed that made them A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman?
Dr. Sha-Lai: I’d have to say my grandmother for many reasons. She grew up poor, in a very rural area, one of twelve children, and she went on to eventually get her Masters degree with two children in tow. She was educated, cultured, articulate, and church going. She was an elementary school reading teacher and whenever we went out, people recognized her and thanked her, and I remember thinking, my granny is a rock star lol. She definitely set the stage for her lineage when it came to academics.
ASCSW: Dr. Sha-Lai, you’re an encouraging, positive, respectful, enthusiastic entrepreneur and God fearing woman which are some elements that represent in my opinion A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman? Dr. Sha-Lai, what do you think makes you A Sassy Classy Sophisticated Woman?
Dr. Sha-Lai: I think what makes me a sassy classy sophisticated woman is the fact that I recognize I haven’t always been seen that way, that I haven’t always had it “all together”, and that a lot of times, I still get it wrong. I think demonstrating humility and love while acknowledging that it was and is only because of God’s grace epitomizes what it means to be sassy, classy and sophisticated.
ASCSW: Last question. What would you want the readers to take away after reading your interview/story on ASCSW?
Dr. Sha-Lai: I’d like for readers to take away this nugget: that we can’t look at social media or what people post and think, “wow they have it all together” or “I wish that was me”, because there is a whole story behind what you’re seeing at this time, and it probably isn’t pretty. I hope they’ll see that God is no respecter of persons and what He did/does for me, He can and will do for them. And lastly, I pray they will gain the motivation and confidence they need to make an about face change and aim to #BeYourBestYou.
ASCSW: Dr. Sha-Lai, thank you once again for taking the time to speak with ASCSW, I greatly appreciate you taking time out to talk. I wish you nothing but continued success but before we go is there anything else you like to share with the readers that we may not have touched on? Or would you like to drop any nuggets for the readers?
Dr. Sha-Lai: I think you’re done a great job of covering everything. Thank you again for this opportunity to share a little about myself and About FACE Collaborative LLC. I hope your readers feel comfortable to reach out to me if they have any questions.
Youtube: Dr ShaLai