Virtual Book Event: Author Shavonne Reed Presents Her Debut Novel ‘Ugly Duckling’


 ( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Shavonne Reed Unveils Her Captivating Debut Fiction Book

ENSPIRE Contributor: Dena Hajelsaf 

Shavonne Reed is a highly accomplished author, known for her book “Ugly Duckling: What you see is not what you get.” Holding an M.B.A. in marketing from Georgia Southern’s Parker College of Business and graduating with honors in B.A. communications from the University of West Georgia, Reed brings a unique perspective to inspire and empower African American girls.

As the founder of the OPUA agency, Shavonne Reed is deeply committed to the ENSPIRE Magazine mission. Her goal is to inspire confidence and foster harmony in the lives of one million African American girls, ensuring their future health. Reed’s dedication to promoting change and raising awareness is further demonstrated through her philanthropic efforts, notably the Future Health NOW Foundation and the engaging Future Health NOW Podcast.

ENSPIRE spoke with Shavonne Reed about her new book and how she encourages others with her work. 

What made you decide to study communication?

After having explored my interests during high school, I decided I wanted to study an area that would give me the most flexibility in case I decided I wanted to pursue other careers. Communications fulfilled this need. I also encountered a few newscasters during my high school days, and they gave me a bit of insight into the world of broadcasting was like. I was a bit of a social butterfly and thought it might be something that I would enjoy. However, most of all, I loved to write. I started journaling in middle school and believed if you were a good writer and communicator, you could go anywhere you wanted in your career.

What was the process to becoming the founder of OPUA agency?

I have an extensive background in marketing, communications, media, and advertising. After having spent time in the corporate space for over 20 years, I decided I’d like to focus on the projects that I’m most passionate about. After losing my mom, I really found purpose in promoting health. I worked for the CDC in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Since I had experienced the loss of many loved ones from diseases that were preventable, I wanted to do my part to ensure the next generation is informed with proper education and awareness of how to achieve future health now.

What made you decide to name the book “Ugly Duckling: What you see is not what you get.” ?

I named the book Ugly Duckling: What you see is not what you get because it makes you think. The main character goes through somewhat of an “ugly duckling” stage, and although she might not fit the traditional profile of a leader, she has the smarts to be a leader. Since she isn’t given an opportunity, she breaks out of the mold in search of her capability. If those around her had given her more of a chance, then she would have been able to deliver amazing results.

In what ways will you inspire African American girls?

Providing representation as a leader in Business for African American girls has always been a goal of mine. Growing up, there were very few that looked like me that could show power and a commanding presence. Although we have evolved a lot, I believe there is still a great opportunity for us to not only provide role models but also to sponsor them in helping them to navigate the world as leaders and entrepreneurs.

How do you balance your personal and work life?

I look for ways to create harmony for overall well-being and happiness. This is an ongoing process that requires constant adjustments. Regularly reassess and change to maintain a healthy balance that works for you. What I try to do is prioritize each area of my life to ensure my attention and efforts align with my overall values. This poses challenges as circumstances evolve in your life, however, with intention, each area of your life can thrive simultaneously. When there are dips in the energy in any area, I pour a little more into it to reinvigorate that area. Some common actions I usually take to ensure harmony in my life are:

  • Prioritize and set boundaries: Clearly defining your priorities and establishing boundaries between your personal and work life can make all the difference in the world of feeling overwhelmed. Determine what matters most to you and allocate time accordingly. Learn to say no when necessary to avoid over-committing yourself.
  • Time management: Efficiently managing your time by planning and organizing your tasks. Creating a schedule that includes dedicated time for work, personal activities, and relaxation. It is extremely important to stick to the schedule as much as possible but also allows flexibility to accommodate unforeseen events.
  • Delegate and seek support: Learning to delegate tasks and responsibilities at work and in your personal life. Relying on others for support and assistance can help lighten your workload and create more time for yourself.
  • Practice self-care: Prioritizing self-care activities to nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Engage in activities you enjoy, such as exercising, hobbies, reading, or spending time with loved ones. Taking care of yourself will increase your overall productivity and happiness.
  • Disconnect from work: Establish boundaries with technology and learn to disconnect from work during your personal time. Avoiding the urge to check work emails or engage in work-related activities outside of designated work hours is helpful in maintaining focus when needed for deep-thinking work activities. Create a separation to fully engage in your personal life and recharge.
  • Open communication: Communicating your needs and limitations to your employer, colleagues, and loved ones. Expressing your desire for work-life balance and discussing potential adjustments or compromises can lead to more understanding and support from those around you.
  • Be present: Practice mindfulness and being fully present in the moment, whether at work or during personal activities. Avoiding the urge to multitask and focus on one task at a time is helpful in increasing your productivity and help you fully enjoy your personal time.

What made you decide to write a fiction book?

I wrote a fiction book because it gave me the creative license to draw from real-life experiences while also allowing me to embellish characters for more entertainment within my storyline. My audience tends not to like to read, they have the desire to, but to finish a book cover-to-cover, you must keep them really interested. My goal was to inspire them and to get them to learn from the many stories in the book to apply techniques and mindset learned from the main character. If this is accomplished, then I believe I have met my mission.

What was your process in developing your book?

This book has been in my heart for years. As I mentioned, I started journaling many years ago. After my mother became gravely ill, I believe there was a sense of urgency that sparked in me to pursue all my dreams while I still had the energy, mind, and health to do so. I took the various chapters and writings I had started from various attempts at getting her done and invested in a coach. I shared my ideas with her, and we discussed the mission I wanted to tackle. She held me accountable to complete the outline, and then I had to reflect on which story I wanted to tell…as there were so many. Given the rise in popularity of the “quiet quitting” phenomenon, I decided I’d like to give some alternate context to this idea and carved out the most compelling series of events that inspired my early career adventures and focused on a complete and entertaining storyline that would inspire my readers.

Reed’s process in developing her book was driven by a deep-seated passion and a sense of urgency. Years of journaling provided a foundation for her ideas, and after her mother fell ill, she felt compelled to pursue her dreams while she had the energy, clarity of mind, and health to do so. With the guidance of a coach, she completed the outline and carefully selected the most compelling series of events from her early career adventures to create a complete and entertaining storyline that would resonate with readers.

Through her book, Shavonne Reed offers readers a thought-provoking and entertaining narrative that draws from her own experiences, inspiring them to embrace their full potential and challenge conventional perceptions. Her dedication to promoting health and well-being, empowering African American girls, and achieving work-life harmony shines through in her words and actions.

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