Mary Gardella Photography » Empowering Women Through Portraiture

Tête-à-Tête Tuesday with Cassandra Vincent

I sat down with Cassandra Vincent a personal development coach and speaker here in Baltimore, MD. She works primarily with women who are committed to leading with purpose and living the life they desire, as well as mentor young women at Morgan State. Her signature VS Brunch (Vision and Strategy Brunch) is a meet up and speaker series she hosts regularly.

MG: Tell us what you’ve been up to to in the last in the last  six months?

Cassandra VincentCV: I have been engulfed in my studies with positive psychology and taking this class where I’ll be certified as an executive leadership coach. That’s through the Positive Psychology Institute with Valerie Burton. I love that group of women and group of people who are exploring not only ways to support other people in their development of leadership, but their leadership skills around resiliency and helping others.

 In addition to planning for the Vision and Strategy (VS) Branch that I host here in Baltimore, I’ve been complementing my studies to make sure that I know how to support this community of women who in some cases are looking to hone their leadership skills as well as excel personally and professionally. 

You know lot of times we’re doing a lot of outside work – doing and creating and producing relationships. As busy as we are we cannot forget about the inside work, that whole balance that we need to continually seek.  I want to be healthy – mentally, emotionally healthy. I’m on this journey to better understand and learn how to be intentional in real relationships with people.

MG: Do you keep a journal? What do you do to keep yourself steady and emotionally balanced? Do you have motivators?

CV:  Journaling is something that I really enjoy doing. I’m a big lover of words. Those give me life. I love books and I love to make sure that I am connecting with those words.  But, journaling is very key for me because I can be a very huge over-thinker.

As a visionary I could stay in my head all day, so it’s important for me to write it down. Also, something that I recently started to do is go to the local park on the walks with my dog. There’s this one little sweet little oasis and just sitting helps me a lot. To not think is my zen place.

MG: What one word do you carry around with you every day?

CV: I go back and fourth with “vision” and “purpose.” So a lot of times people are discovering purpose and I’m a huge proponent of “we are purpose” it’s the very sense of how we are created. Being here, you are purpose in living form.

“Vision”, because again my imagination and ideas are so massive that vision is extremely important to me because it’s what drives me.

Cassandra Vincent

MG:  You don’t say you have purpose, you say you are purpose: “ When you realize that you are purpose, greatness and love in living form.”

CV:  It’s a realization, because sometimes we’re so busy.  It’s not to have a purpose but you are purpose. I’m learning to really live by this. I’m not a mistake. Nobody’s a mistake. We don’t have to stress ourselves out about trying to become something. Because, you are what you are. There are artists, there are creators, there are people who are inclined to be able to speak words.  But at your core, you’re literally purpose in action.

MG: You think you’re born that way?

CV: I do. We are born with our purpose and we spend our journey searching for it, bring it to realization..

MG: When did you start your Vision and Strategy Brunch?

CV:  I actually started it right after a breakup. The VS brunch started in 2016 when I gathered a group of girlfriends together. It started in the Spring. There’s something about all this blooming and renewal in the Spring. I’ve always been that person even in college – I always brought women together. I’ve always gotten so much life and love from not only gathering but being a part of community, especially when we’re honest & transparent. I launched it publicly in 2017. 

MG: What is your brand philosophy?

CV: I would say, one of the biggest philosophies of my brand, whether it is hosting a brunch leadership series or it’s writing a book and wanting to continue to write, is “live your vision one chapter at a time.”

I believe that living your vision is important. Understanding that it’s not necessarily a destination. It’s a journey. Whether I’m speaking on a stage or having a coffee get together with women or even mentoring sessions of young women at Morgan State. And be okay with being bold about it. Be okay with discovering it. 

One of the things when working a 9 to 5 that I did not like was this limited mindset around growth and discovery and learning and experiencing things.

I do, however, think we’re making headway with the way that art and creativity and innovation is moving us.  Even in business you can see that there’s a lot of changes but I think we’re making headway into understanding this narrative that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

It should absolutely be a quality, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to the point that you’re not going to produce it or that you’re not going to execute it.

MG: What does your brand say visually?

CV:  It’s a constant work in progress, but I’m know that it speaks joyfulness and Community around women’s empowerment or women’s leadership.

MG: So do you think the next generation are more willing to take chances?

CV: Actually, I think that they are taking more chances. I have a mentee who launched a shop. I found myself actually calling her, and asking her for some advice. So she’s being bold, she did this on her own.

MG: What’s your hope for the next generation?

CV:  First off they are all wildly, wildly creative and innovative and I believe that they’re insanely smart – they’re so brilliant.

We were taught that perfection is the only narrative for us.  It wasn’t what you looked like . But, you had to do it perfectly or you’re a failure. My hope for this upcoming generation is that their perfection is not based on the way that we as a culture curate our brands and our businesses online.

Sometimes, I’m concerned that the upcoming generation isn’t making sure that that human connection is there. That they aren’t putting this intense pressure on themselves that “I’m a failure because I don’t look good every day” or because “I don’t have this perfect timeline” or “I don’t have these experiences” or just living through social media.

MG: You and I grew up, just being in the moment, without tools.  By living in the moment. But this generation, they experience it with their phone up to their eyes, they communicate electronically.  It’s a different life experience.

CV: I feel like it’s important to cheerlead them. We have a wide number of adults in our generation who are also , in many ways , experiencing the same thing that we’re concerned about for young people. Feeling like you have to show and tell your life or that you’re missing something, you’re not producing because you don’t have 2,600 friends or 226k, that you’re not up to par because every post isn’t about “I just got this client” or “hey just had this meeting”.

MG: Did anyone ever tell you you’ll never be “blank”? (fill in the blank)

CV: I never had that. In 2nd grade my teachers Mrs. Smith and Ms. Moody, they both told my mom you have a writer on your hands, she has an amazing imagination. I didn’t believe this for a long time. I have been blessed to have been affirmed from my parents and and even people around me.

MG: Do you ever have to deal with impostor syndrome?

CV: Instead of using the term imposter syndrome, I think I have experienced times where yes, absolutely, I’m questioning what I am. I’ve been in situations where I am questioning am “I really able to produce that?” I’ve found every time I find something that doesn’t quite fit me or quite fit what I’m feeling, I won’t think about it too much. I think to myself,  “does what is being planted go in order with my vision.”

The minute I hear impostor, I kind of pushed back because I’m on this journey of learning new skills. I think when you think about the different things that you’re learning- you have those times of “am I really that.” My attachment to growth doesn’t allow me to sit in those moments of feeling like I’m a major imposter. Why do we need to feel the need to feel like imposter syndrome?

MG: Tell me something no one knows about you?

CV: Most people don’t know that I used to play the tenor saxophone when I was in High School. I only played it because my brother played it .

MG: What accomplishment or experience are you most proud of?

CV: I really like that question. There’s this point right in women’s lives right before you turn 40.  There’s this place, and maybe some people reach it earlier than others, where you are settling into self worth, self awareness on another level.

My greatest accomplishment has been learning to grow and leaning into that place.

The book that I recently self-published, The Smart Women’s Bounce Back Guide After a Break-Up, that would be one of my greatest accomplishments. I wrote it last year in October 2017. I think even from the time of my 2nd grade teacher saying she’s going to be a writer, I have felt the pull to write. This is the first one that I actually completed. There have been several books that I actually started that are probably in Google drive in pieces.

The book is about the art of  self love that goes into bouncing back after a heartbreak. Heartbreak can be anything that’s disappointing.

One of the things I really want to share in that book was the ways that we can really take the time to cry and then get into the work of healing.

MG: What has made you so intent on seizing the day?

CV: It goes back to this pursuit of being alive and really experiencing it. It’s about this thing of – I don’t want to get to the end of life and think “I could have or should have.” I’m aware, very aware, of my purpose and who I am as purpose, and my awareness of what others bring. It’s about living.

Cassandra Vincent

Thank you so much Cassandra for sharing a little piece of yourself.

xo