It's an honor to be recognized by Women Leading Baltimore (WLB) and be featured in their Black History Month Campaign. This campaign reminds us that we are the heroes we are searching for. Everyday we are making history individually and collectively changing the world.

It was a humbling and fun experience to answer WLB's interview questions! I hope my responses inspire someone else to follow their dreams despite the challenges that may currently face! The world needs your talents, skills, energy, and gifts! What's your contribution to the evolution of our society? You have everything you need inside!

Dr. Stephanie Akoumany pictured in her hometown Baltimore, Maryland.

Women Leading Baltimore's Founder Ashley Day Interview's Dr. Stephanie Akoumany, Founder & CEO of Bloom  

1. Define yourself using one word.

Resilient.

2. How have you impacted Black History?

Through my company Bloom @justbloom.io, I have helped over 1000 leaders at schools, universities, nonprofits, and businesses rediscover who they are and who they want to be. I love sharing tools and roadmaps for people and organizations to bloom into their best selves. My podcast @thebloomingisahabitpodcast , and diversity, equity, & inclusion and yoga and mindfulness workshops help leaders reflect on their past and present and design the future they dream of. I help them cultivate habits to create empathetic, equitable, and inclusive communities that are committed to wellness.  I encourage them to ride their own wave and get grounded by taking strategic risks, being disciplined, but also free flowing.

3. What advice would you give to your teenage self?

I would tell my teenage self to believe in herself and to block out anyone who doesn’t support her dreams. To only invest in friendships that are caring, honest, and nurturing. To pursue classes, internships, jobs, careers, mentors, and create businesses that are related to your calling, your purpose, the thing that you love doing and would do even if you didn’t get paid for it. Realize you can and should get paid for it! Don’t count yourself out! Your gifts will help you evolve, change your community, and the world!

4. What advice would you give to female professionals?

Female professionals should acknowledge their worth, negotiate to be paid what they deserve, and reflect on their skills and contributions to their company or organization. They should make genuine connections with other women in their industry on LinkedIn and Instagram and collaborate on projects when possible. Team work makes the dream work.

5. What does sisterhood mean to you?

Sisterhood is helping your friends turn their magic all the way on through uplifting and encouraging words and consistent action. Sisters are accountability and thought partners who push you to believe in yourself, follow your dreams, work hard, but also celebrate and rest.

I am in the business of helping individuals and organizations create roadmaps for holistic success! My workshops are interactive, healing, and fun. I push intergenerational participants to engage in life changing conversations and activities that will inspire them to make mental health a priority and holistic wellness a lifestyle.

This month I will be a certified yoga instructor and that's so exciting! Many of my personal and professional development wellness coaching talks include: lecture, group discussion, visualization, habit tracking, a Work-Life SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), journaling, brainstorming, activities, games, story exchange, yoga (asanas & meditation). Participants will build new neural connections, mindsets, habits, and relationships to evolve into their best personal and professional selves.

My mantra is Learn. Heal. Play. Connect. Evolve. I am truly excited to offer practical insights and engaging scientific evidence from the wellness and tech industry and the fields of public health, psychology, neuroscience, that will help youth and adult leaders make mindfulness, play, productivity, resilience, empathy, and inclusivity an integral part of their everyday lives.

Ashley Day, Founder of Women Leading Baltimore (featured center)

So much thanks to Women Leading Baltimore's fierce Founder, Ashley Day for featuring my work. The organization's mission is to create space and opportunities for high school girls to embrace their power and authority through sisterhood, nurturing mentorship and access to meaningful experiences. Their expectations for the girls in our program are to support each other, respect each other, and that there is space for everyone.

For More Inspiration Read: 8 Ways Black Teens & Adults Can Bet On Themselves & Change The World According To Beyonce

In 2009, Dr. Stephanie Akoumany (then Ms. Stephanie Stevenson) interned in the U.S. House of Representatives with Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-11 CA) and introduced President Barack Obama at a televised White House press conference advocating for increased Pell Grants for college students from low to middle socio-economic statuses.

Connect with Dr. Stephanie Akoumany online:

Email: stephanie.akoumany@justbloom.io