We had the good fortune of connecting with Latoya Smith Farmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Latoya, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Wow! That’s a great question. I can honestly say that the most important factor behind my success is my love for children and my passion for helping others. My brand is built on my ability to turn social and emotional education into a fun and interactive experience that allows families to learn, grow and become whole together. All of that being said I believe that my brand wouldn’t be as successful if it didn’t mirror who I truly am at my core. I really am a big kid who loves to sing, dance and play games all while helping children learn about how amazing they are!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an Emotional Health Specialist, which means that I help children learn about their emotions and how to express them in positive ways. What I love about my career is that I get to do it in several different ways. I am a school counselor in a Metro Atlanta School System, I write emotional health books and I travel to professional development workshops for educators, youth conferences and parenting groups. I create games, stories and activities that focus on teaching step by step techniques to help children handle big emotions and build self-love. What set’s me apart from my counterparts is that my books are designed to represent to African Americans and other minority populations. As a counselor I discovered very early on that the kids that I worked with didn’t feel a connection to the children in the stories because they didn’t look like them. I needed them to understand that they have the same emotions and they can control how they express them the same ways as anyone else. The book that I am proudest of is Super Jacob! It is about a little boy who learned how to activate his self-control super power by using mindful activities. I love seeing kids tell their friends to “activate their power” or to “count like a rocket ship” As for the thing that I am most excited about, well that’s easy! I have a new book coming out this summer for parents. It’s all about teaching your child how to have healthy boundaries! This will be my first chapter book and believe me, it’s a long time coming. Was it easy? Of course not! I have come to realize that nothing is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the time and effort. One of my biggest challenges is monetary backing. People don’t realize that it takes money to make money. I have to pay for the illustrators and editors along with the printing and marketing for my books and that’s just one aspect of what I do. I have learned that it is important to plan and budget for your projects. I have found that this helps me to not get overwhelmed by the overall total which makes it easier to knock it out. The main thing I want people to know about me is that I understand how hard it can be to manage big emotions, which is why I do what I do. As a child I was bullied which lead to me struggling with low self-esteem, anxiety and depression as a teenager and young adult. I searched for someone who could help me and it wasn’t until I was in college did I find people who could equip me with what I needed to heal and grow as a person. It is my hope that my books and other products help children of all ages to not have to live with those painful feelings without having fun and simple ways to address them.
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.
I love playing tourist in my city! One of my favorite places is the High Museum of Arts. They have amazing exhibits and monthly activities. Another place I love to go is the Ponce City Market. It’s a really cool indoor outdoor mall with some great restaurants
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Where do I begin! I am so blessed to have amazing people around me who are extremely encouraging and supportive! I have an amazing husband, Anton, who is always so supportive of my dreams and an incredible family who has been with me every step of the way! They are truly my happy place. I am also blessed to also have the support of my spiritual family at Berean Christian Church Gwinnett. My pastor, Dr. Kevin Lee and my mentor Lady Karen has sown into my life in so many ways. The encouragement they give me along with my tribe of phenomenal women and my coach Paula Burch Jackson who holds me accountable for reaching my every goal really has helped me get to this place in my life. I am a firm believer that it doesn’t just take a village to raise a child, it simple takes a village period!
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