Welcome to the Forty Over 40 blog. Every week we spotlight one of our honorees and their thoughts on reinvention, mentorship and momentum…plus a peek into what makes them tick. This week’s Q & A is with Kahshanna Evans, Founder, Kissing Lions Public Relations
1. What was a pivotal momentum of reinvention for you?
A pivotal moment of reinvention for me was transforming my anger into my first screenplay, Amani which is based on real life experiences. Stories don’t matter unless we make them matter by telling and sharing them.
2. Who has been a valuable mentor or sponsor?
Activist, mentor and woman extraordinaire…Marcia Dyson is an invaluable role model to me. She stands for beliefs that celebrate and champion women to be all they can be and advocates for the upliftment of women including equal pay. She is consistently being the measure, which is a value that absolutely drives my success and humanity.
3. What is your biggest goal right now?
My biggest goal right now is to support philanthropic and social good initiatives a mission-based client is shaping for women, performers and the arts community.
4. How did you get your first job? How did you jump to your second job?
My first job in my current line of work was working for Yvonne Maisonette. She encouraged me to give her the help that she needed running her family business and pushed me to take myself seriously. As 2008 hit everyone pretty hard financially, I shifted from bi-coastal living to rooting myself, once again, in NYC. The second job, which was really a springboard, was for two male-centric clients in tech. They dissolved the business, refusing to pay their employees for monies outstanding. Talk about motivation to return to my own brand and stick to it.
5. What time do you typically wake up? What do you do every morning?
On a good day when my schedule is reasonable, I like to head to morning yoga. More often than not, however, I wake up, nibble and get to work organizing, writing and shaping proposals and programs for projects I’m working on for my clients.
6. What’s the best networking contact you’ve made? How did you make it?
The best networking contact I made is Robert McEwen of Consumer Reports (formerly of McEwen McMahon), or Bob, as I’ve been invited to call him. Bob has followed my milestones and even taken an interest in grabbing a quick coffee to follow the progress of Kissing Lions Public Relations. His advice as a thirty year veteran in the publicity industry has been sound.
7. What challenge / achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being an associate-producer for While Lies, Black Sheep, a feature length indie film which received accolades. It was an incredible challenge working on “no-budget”, which meant I worked on four hours sleep per night in exchange for my best contributions on-set and behind the scenes in a male-centric setting. Ultimately, the biggest challenge was being appropriately credited which took me years to resolve as the boys club left little room for fairness or equality due to male politics.
8. What cause do you most want to advance?
It’s really hard to choose one. Arts programs for kids and transformational mentorship for women are at the top of my list, however, if I stumbled upon unlimited wealth I would love to create a Made in Harlem sewing start-up so women can make a living with the skills they learn.
9. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Somewhat of a bird with broken wings, I found myself in Robbi Reed’s office years ago. It’s not that she gave me advice to pray, it’s that she was a woman enough, and a leader enough to take my hands and pray for me. I cried. It was generous and I was beyond words. Prayer is a universal statement referencing the power of intention, goals and the relationship we make with that which is greater than ourselves in getting where we are going in life.
10.What is your “keep me going” quote?
At the tail end of my intention, one wonderful Spiritual mentor, Anne Angelheart, taught me to tack on, ‘for my highest and best good’. This has carried me through the years.
11. What is your secret indulgence?
I absolutely adore stationery and print making.
12. Who on the list of prior Honorees would you like to meet?
Diane Hessan of Startup Institute.
Checkout Kahshanna’s full #40over40 profile here: