Spotlight: Denise Shanté Brown
DENISE SHANTE BROWN is the Creator + Cultivator of Design for the Wellbeing of Black Women. She is a a holistic design strategist, mental health advocate, and creative healer whose work explores co-designing transformative possibilities for health, healing + creative abundance. Denise took Concepts & Conception in the spring of 2019. We checked back in with in late summer to hear how Feminist Business School impacted her business within just a few months.
How did Feminist Business School change your business in a significant way?
Learning to embody the 12 Principles for Prototyping a Feminist Business shifted how I see myself as a vision holder, designer and healer. I came into FBS intuitively knowing that I wanted to move away from the idea of solo-entrepreneurship and move towards a more collaborative, nurturing approach. Because of this, the principle “A business can be a healing for yourself & others” was (and still is) a key remembrance for me. Integrating healing into the essence of my business reminds me that I have permission to slow down, rest, practice pleasure and allow this process of healing unfolding within me radiate within patriarchal perceptions of how business should be. Being in Feminist Business School really shined an audacious light on what’s possible for me and my wellbeing as a Black womxn navigating this world of entrepreneurship and made me a more self-compassionate, resourceful and embodied leader. I’m showing up in spaces with other creators and healers collaborating with me on this journey knowing that I don’t have to do this alone and the healing work we co-design for others always begins with the healing work we do for ourselves.
What were your favorite parts of the course?
I loved, loved, loved all of the readings and reflections throughout the course and found them to be incredibly relevant and connected to what we were uncovering as a cohort. My favorite readings were by dRWorks on unlearning characteristics of white supremacy culture, Understanding Patriarchy by bell hooks, and Poetry is Not a Luxury by Audre Lorde. It was through the deep reflection of these specific works that inspired what became “A Living Manifesto for Life & Work” that I created during our guided weeks together. Having the space to boldly declare my vision and values while trusting that I could allow what wanted to flow through my body and onto paper was a gift that continues to bring me back to my power. I now have something that can both hold me accountable and be used as a guide for the work and people I want to have a transformative relationship with.
Who would you recommend Feminist Business School for?
I would wholeheartedly recommend Feminist Business School to womxn who are feeling that intuitive pull within their bodies and spirit to do business collaboratively, boldly and with their whole, feminine selves. The course holds the possibility of challenging and transforming what you think you know about feminism and opening up the abundance consciousness that is so beautifully weaved throughout each week’s offerings. Since finishing FBS, I haven’t stopped talking about it with my friends and collaborators. I’m always referencing some insight or meaningful process that led me to make a decision that I could trust. This course is a gem for those who are truly ready to embrace a new self-loving standard for conceiving a business that they want to share with the world.
What's going on with your business now? What exciting things are happening for you in late 2019 and heading into 2020?
Beautiful things are unfolding right now. I’ve recently finished a four month collective building process with a group of brilliant Black womxn in Baltimore visioning and strategizing ways to ground, define and grow the work. A lot of this happened during my time in FBS, supporting me and preparing me to create and lead my own team of collaborators for the first time. I made some mistakes and our time together emphasized the value of gradual development and creating space for a more organic emergence. I’m thinking about ways to begin sharing the collective more publicly—with integrity, not urgency—and possible money flowing opportunities. Lots of prototyping, manifesting, financial wellbeing and abundance work happening!
I’m also in the light of preparing for a work presentation and panel at this year’s Black in Design Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on Black Futurism! I am super excited about this because it’s a dream experience of mine since attending their conference in 2017 after I finished my social design thesis. Being invited to share what I’ve been cultivating for three years now is a dope honor and something that I need right now in order to continue affirming what’s possible at the intersection of design justice and healing with Black womxn.
There’s so much here, so much ahead. I am continuing to get my writings published, share monthly healing-inspired notes, experiment with ideas, consult and take care of myself while being in caring, loving community with others.