We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Winthrop and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
For the past 4 Years I worked in the Applied Behavior Analysis field (ABA Therapy). The position I held started as a operation manager and ending with a regional manager position. Families with children diagnosed with problem behavior and autism are families who week out our help. In 2020 my oldest daughter was diagnosed with autism. Something that has changed my life forever. It was the worst news to get 3 days before Christmas. From working in the field and seeing my therapist help our clients reach goals and show progress in skilled area they had been working on with our kiddos brought me nothing but joy. Giving that support to my families was my everyday goal. My daughter was on diagnosed and I Immediately knew where to start to get her the service and care she needed. So I immediately got in touch with the admission department with my job. I wasn’t given any special treat which was completely fine. I knew that there was a waitlist and personal I knew how the waitlist worked. So we waited 6 month before hearing back from the Center Director of the location closest to me. Once I heard back the process took about another month and a half to get started.
My position with the company allowed me to work from home for the state of Maryland while living in Virginia. So oh course my daughter would be getting services in Virginia and not at one of my center. At the time of admission I made sure to make the company aware that I work for them even though I should have had to or It should not have matter. When they required me to work from 1 of my 5 centers 2 days a week I was unable to due to having to make sure I was available to pick up my daughter. I was always up front and honest with my boss and anyone I came in contact with on the leadership team.
When the problem arose that I was unable to go in to my center, the HR department made it seem like I was unable to work for the company and receive service for my daughter in a completely different state. It came down to having to pick my daughter services and education over my full time job I loved.
They offered me time think about it and make a choice. I didn’t need any time because my Childs health and education will always come first. I was then given two weeks to work since I wanted to continue getting services for my daughter.
Now being a full time model balancing out my work life with my personal life has gotten much easier. before with full time job I was able to do things on the weekend and sometimes in the late evening if one of our 3 nanny are available. Challenges I faced with my nannies was if they canceled on me last min, it was pretty much a missed opportunity because reaching out to the other for same day service was not always successful due to them already having prior plans. this is still a challenge I face however I am able to move things around with just letting the director/photographer know my situation before booking and committing to opportunities.
This year may have started off rough for me to a person looking from the outside in. However to me ever since I starting working for myself as a full time model the balance has leveled it self out and I’m extremely grateful for that.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I love doing what I do because my creative side come into full effect. When doing Fashion shows and rocking other designs the looks chosen for me to wear always fit my personality and style. When boutique owner asked me to model their clothing for there website I feel honored. When I step out and attended networking event it easy for me to make friends and create business relationship simply because my mind is open to listening to other creative minds and most of the time I see the vision and want to be apart it and anything else they have planned. One lesson I learned is being myself is what got me to where I am today. Stepping out of my comfort zone and being my natural self has helped me accomplish all the things I set my mind to.
I am committed to be as natural as possible so I take care of myself well. I started in 2020 with embracing my natural hair. Having Sista Locs give me a natural look that not all African American females can offer. That is now my forever signature.
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.
Living in the DMV area, I have access to 3 amazing states. We haven’t labeled each other best friends, even tho we have known each other since high school but she is defiantly my my family. Bre has always been there for and vise versa. She has a little boy who touched my heart the first time I met him. They will be traveling to see me and my girls during his springs break. Knowing he wants to spend time with me and my girls makes this a family affair.
So when I she come with out kids I have plans on taking the first to selfieworld. Being a model and super photogenic I want to take them somewhere we can have fun and capture memories. Growing up in in central florida we have always had access to all the theme parks. in Williamsburg Va The Busch gardens doesn’t compare to our back home in Tampa, Florida with the animals and petting zoos area. So I defiantly want to take them to BG here to show them the difference.
My girl loves the African American Culture and I want to make sure my kids experiences the history displayed in the African American museum in DC. So of course we are going to be visit that as we tour DC streets along with the children’s museums. Its a must the kids take a picture in front of the White House so that was a no brainer.
Although our children are our proud and joy Mommies will be stepping out for a few nights leaving them with the nannies to go and have some fun. Some of my favorites spots at the Blossom and Felt located in the National harbor inside of the MGM Casino and Resort. I don’t gamble but I use the environment to meet new people and potential business owner to sponsor me in upcoming thing or possibly be apart of something they may having coming up.
Some of my favorite restaurant I want to take her too is Maggie Mc Flys. The menu is very large and the drinks and services are amazing. The national Harbor has an amazing water front with store and restaurants where a walk is a must . The Fairest Wheel sitting on the water is also something the kids will enjoy.
ALL the Hookah bars in DC are amazing so vibing listening to music and smoking hookah will defiantly go down.
Back at home growing up we went to Ybor City on the weekend to club and have fun. U street in DC reminds me alot of that. so I will take her there and club hop to show you my little spot I call a my home away from home.
To end our trip we will take out babies to the Hersheypark Amusement Park in PA. We love us some chocolate and I haven’t been so why not make that an adventure.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The most important person I must think is my partner. We have been together for 9 years. when first met Michael my model career had already started. I was currently doing pageant, every pageant I competed in he was my number one fan in the crowd. After having out 1st children I start doing more runway shows and print modeling he may not have been able to attended every shoot and opportunity I had but his was and still is always given during planning and after the event. Second I have to thank my all the amazing photographer I have met and worked with over the past year. My portfolio has never grown so fast. To name a few. Joe with House of Photography studio in Maryland, Ken-Won with the DC Creative Collection, where the networking event has always opened up opportunities to work with some amazing photographers. Forever in my top 3 thing Steve and Debbie with Senimagery Photographer located in Central Florida.
Last but not least, my mother and father who helped me start my career at a young age and my family and friend from my hometown Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Facebook: Kayla Ruby Lee / Kayla Ruby Lee Model&Acting
Deasia “Joe” W/ House of Photography Studio Anthony W/ Platinum Images Kent W/ The Piqtur Boy Steve W/ Senimagery Debbie W/ Lynndeez Lens