We had the good fortune of connecting with La-Donia Alford-Jefferies and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi La-Donia, how does your business help the community?
My business Homecoming pride is centered around the HBCU Homecoming Book for children. I wrote this children’s book to encourage parents, teachers, and guardians to share the HBCU Homecoming experience with children. I wanted children to see themselves in a book and to know that black and brown children can be the main characters and that girls and women can be leaders. During one of my Author events, I had a parent tell me that daughter read the Homecoming Book for one hour. The book is 20 pages with illustrations, in other words, it wouldn’t take an hour to read. This young girl read the book over and over and over again. Then after that hour was over said, “Mommy, I want to go to college, I want to go to an HBCU.” I have had teachers of all backgrounds share with me that their kindergarten students became interested in college after reading my book. That’s the impact I was hoping for when I wrote this book. Whether you went to college or not, this book helps you introduce the concept through Homecoming..
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Homecoming pride is about bringing children into the HBCU Homecoming fun. In addition to the book I have a Homecoming Pride pageant to celebrate children’s talent and help build their confidence. I didn’t just want to write books, I wanted to create an experience for children that they could look forward to every year. When I started my business I had a lot of pressure to work through a publishing company and I decided against it. I self published my book and did all the marketing while working a full time job. It was extremely challenging. I felt like I didn’t have time to take care of myself and be there for my family. I made sacrifices. I had to overcome self doubt and anxiety about my vision for my book and business. Believing in myself and not taking no for an answer paid off. I learned how to put myself out there and fail. I learned that mentorship is important. My business journey tested my faith. God gave me this gift and vision and I knew I had to see it through.
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.
First I would give you a tour of the greatest HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC. Greensboro, NC is a great city for young professionals and family friendly. We would have brunch at Sage Mule, a downtown restaurant with the best home town biscuits. We could take a walk on the wild side and check out the Greensboro Science Center and. Visit Battleground park that has beautiful walking paths and parks. We would visit the International Civil Rights museum and learn how college students sparked the sit in movement. At the end of the week we would catch a broadway show at the Steven Tanger Center for Performing Arts downtown Greensboro.
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?
Thank you you my parents Eli Alford And Dr. Sylvia Bembry for introducing me to HBCUs at age 3.
Thank you to my husband Michael Jefferies, my inspirations, my daughters Eleanor and Emerson Jefferies. Thank you to The Read podcast for featuring me. Thank you to made in Greensboro. Thank you to North Carolina A& T State University for cultivating me. Aggie Pride.
Kendra knight photography