We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Trenace Richardson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Trenace, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have heard many people say that they started their business in order to serve others. And although my membership community, REAL Women Rock currently serves hundreds of women across the country and abroad, it started from a very selfish place. As a leader in ministry and the marketplace, I found myself needing a safe haven to simply be myself, without worrying about what people expected of me as a leader. I couldn’t find a safe space to just BE. So I created REAL Women Rock which just that. We create safe spaces for women to do personal development work on themselves through live and virtual sister circles. I knew that if I needed a non-judgmental, vulnerable place to connect with other women and get confident about who I was at my core, other women needed it too. Oftentimes, our purpose is birthed out of our pain. Such was the case with me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I wear many creative hats. In addition to being an international speaker, preacher, author, leadership mentor, yoga instructor, and founder of two membership communities, REAL Women Rock (https://realwomenrock.org) and Leading with Soul (https://www.leadingwithsoul.org), I am also a singer. I was featured on the Netflix special, Voices of Fire, produced by Pharell Williams. Overall, I am a creative and all of the work that I do, no matter the focal area, is done from an artistic, creative space.
What sets my work apart from others is that I fully acknowledge and embrace my calling to be a BRIDGE between the traditional mindsets that most Christian black women have historically embraced and the new levels of understanding and enlightenment available to us as we acknowledge our limitless and timeless place in this world. I am most excited about the fact that through my speaking, singing, mentoring, facilitating sister circles, and leading yoga classes, Christian women have found new meaning and freedom in areas they previously criticized (i.e., counseling, yoga, meditation, even “secular” music, and more).
It has not by any means been easy. As a recovering overachieving people-pleaser, it was my aim to ensure that I was everything everybody around me needed me to be. As a result, I never really explored who I really was and what I really felt called to in life. I became an educator and was licensed and ordained as a traditional Pentecostal preacher because that was expected of me and celebrated around me. I declined a musical career in “secular” music because I thought singing anything but Gospel music would at the very least, make my church and my family look bad and at the most, send me straight to hell. I used to work hard to hide my LIGHT from the world to make others feel more comfortable around me.
Through years of counseling and my work in REAL Women Rock, I have learned to accept that I am a BRIDGE for those who need more in their life than what they were raised to believe they need and I am a LIGHT for those who desire a safe space where they can be vulnerable and honest without judgment or fear.
Along the way, I have come to understand that no matter a woman’s status, fame, position, or economic level, every woman needs a safe space to grow. I have also learned that no matter how divided women sometimes feel, we need each other to connect and support one another authentically. We cannot do life on an island. In order for us to become our best selves, we have to learn to trust ourselves, discover our own personal sister circle, and invest time and energy in developing a relationship with both. Once we begin this work, we begin to recognize our own individual brilliance. Because of my personal journey and hardships, my ultimate goal is for every woman to know and fully embrace my life’s mantra for themselves, “I come from LIGHT, I am LIGHT, I won’t dim my LIGHT.”
In summary, whether I am speaking, singing, mentoring, facilitating sister circles or leading yoga, I create safe spaces that transform the lives of women from the inside out.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So I live in Waldorf, Maryland, which is a hop, skip, and a jump from Washington, DC. In fact, if someone is not familiar with the DC/MD/Northern VA area, most of us who live here would probably just tell them that we live in the DC area. But instead of taking the easy route of taking folks to the plethora of amazing tourist spots in DC, I will honor the city/county in which I have lived for over 20 years by restricting my “best time ever” to Charles County, MD.
I would have to take my best friend to do yoga and get vibrational sound therapy at Shabach Yoga, where I lead a yoga flow every week. We would hit all of my favorite black-owned eateries: Hen and Fin for soul food, Landon’s Homemade Ice Cream shop, NIPS Juice House for the juice bar and Mix ‘n Sweetz Bakury for cupcakes. Some of my other favorite restaurants we would visit would be Bonefish Grill for seafood, Sakura Japanese Steakhouse for sushi, and Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar for drinks and appetizers.
My best friend knows that I am a tree hugger, nature lover, so we would have to go to visit two of the County parks for nature walks and bike rides, Gilbert Run Park and Indian Head Trails. And post-COVID, we would go dance and listen to live music at The Social @ 228. We would also do some shopping at the local mall, St. Charles Town Center and go to the local movie theatre to see the latest movie out.
And lastly, depending on how adventurous or extra we were feeling, we would go to the gun range to get in some practice or go see a professional, independent league baseball game at our local stadium. Outside of that, we would wine and chill in the amazing basement my hubby just designed watching movies and connecting. Sometimes it’s not about where you go but who you are there with that matters most.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Any shoutout that I do will always begin with my mom (Gloria Johnson), my hubby (Gregory Richardson), and my kids (Nhi’ya and Nigel). They are my why.
Next, I believe every woman should gain support and insight from women who are her examples, women who are her peers, and women she pours into. I am dedicating this shoutout to the examples in my life who have been doing the type of work I do unapologetically for years, Rev. Dr. Vikki johnson, Rev. Dr. Anika Wilson Brown, and Candice Benbow. Shoutout to my sister peers who do amazing work and pour into me in incredible ways: Courtenay Smith Brown of Shabach Yoga; Shavon Carter of Purposed Publishing; Nephateria McBride of Warrior Princess Ministries; and Life and Recovery Coach, Ashley Gilbert. And a last but not least shoutout to the entire REAL Women Rock and Leading with Soul Membership Communities who allow me to pour into them on a regular basis.