This teen mom turned her side hustle into a six-figure business

When you become a mom, your priorities change to accommodate the new life you are now responsible for. This doesn’t mean your goals and aspirations don’t matter; it just means that from now on, everything you do has a tiny, human asterisk next to it.

Trudi Lebron had to put on her mom glasses at a very early age. At 16 years old, she gave birth to her second son, which altered her life and forced her to reevaluate her path. That isn’t to say it stopped her in her tracks, though: After homeschooling herself through high school, she enrolled in community college and balanced child care, work and school until she eventually entered the non-profit space with a Master’s degree in psychology and a determination to fix a broken system, one that does everything to keep a single, biracial mom living in the inner city of Connecticut from succeeding.

“Growing up biracial gave me a hyper-awareness about race, identity and belongingness,” Lebron explained to In The Know. “Then becoming a teem mom added an extra dimension of marginalization. I felt firsthand what it was like to be pushed aside, passed up for opportunities because of my identity [and] dealing with micro-aggressions constantly.”

At the start of her career, Lebron worked at non-profit organizations helping high-risk students and teens. Personal and economical factors motivated her to start a business on the side as a diversity education consultant, though — and by the end of 2016, it had become her full-time job.

“Once I started to see that I could add real value to companies as a consultant, it became really difficult to sit behind a desk all day,” she said. “There were also other things that motivated me to go out on my own, including the desire to homeschool my youngest [12-year-old] son [and] have more control over my schedule. I wanted to travel more and just have a different lifestyle.”

Today, Lebron is the founder of ScriptFlip!, a six-figure consulting firm that helps schools and youth-focused agencies develop programs that focus on diversity, inclusion and equity. She is also the CEO of Trudi Lebron Equity-Centered Coaching, which provides diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism training to leaders in both the non-profit and for-profit spaces.

Lebron’s business has been bringing in six figures for years, but last year, amid the mass social awakening in response to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the numerous Black people who have lost their lives to police brutality, diversity and inclusion became a top priority for big and small businesses alike. After five years of trying to convince entrepreneurs and business owners that inclusion and equity matters, Lebron saw for the first time in 2020 that leaders truly understood why her work mattered.

“In previous years we had to spend a lot of time explaining why this work was important, and it seems that we have to do way less of that kind of explaining these days,” she said. “Now, we’re looking at helping people move past the preliminary DEI awareness and help people really be DEI leaders and advocates in their workplaces and businesses.”

Before she became a mom, Lebron had dreams of becoming a hip hop artist. And though she isn’t topping the Billboard charts today, she still feels like those dreams are being lived out in many ways in her work as a DEI consultant.

“I had lots of opportunities to pursue music, especially with the internet and social media coming into play when I was a teenager, but my priorities shifted,” she explained. “I was more focused on being a good mom and providing so I focused on my education and career. What’s interesting is that the things that appealed to me most about being a musician are things that I actually have today. I have a thriving business, I am well-known and have professional respect in my industry (I call it mini-famous), I have a lot of flexibility and get to be creative. It all seems to have worked out somehow.”

“I can’t really say I made a decision to work in this space — it was more of a calling,” she added. “I just feel compelled to use my life experience (including my personal experiences and professional experiences) to make the world better.”

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