The Story Exchange, Clara Freeman, Authentic Woman NetworksYour Name: Clara Freeman

Business Name: Authentic Woman Networks, an online motivational resource for women

Type of Business: Women Empowerment

Business Location: Oak Lawn, Illinois, United States

Twitter   @c50something

Reason for starting
From the time I was an 11 year-old young southern girl, growing up in the flatlands of Mississippi, I knew that there had to be a better life for people of color. I also knew it would take my voice to blend with the voice of others like mine to make a difference and invoke change…4 decades later, I’m still here, using my voice.

How do you define success?
Success comes when the work you do, helps other people recognize who they are and whose they are. It’s when you see your work make a difference in another person, who in finding themselves, will sow seeds by using their gifts to help another… Success is validation for the work you do.

Biggest Success
Having a response from a young woman thanking me for helping her find her words. It was receiving a thank you card from Gwendolyn Brooks, telling me of the positives she saw in my work and for me to “Keep-a-going! It was bringing a smile to the face of an elder woman after reading my work…she said “it reminded me of my youth.”

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My biggest opposition that has remained my constant companion, is procrastination! It is something that I battle on a daily basis and remains a work in progress.

Who is your most important role model?
I don’t question why, but, it has always been poets, activists and advocates for change. My mom and dad taught me morals and values; how to stay true to my word, once given, it’s Angela Davis who started the ‘fight for human rights’ fire in me when I was 17 years old.