A passion in life for me starts from the heart. As a little girl growing up, I enjoyed learning new things and teaching others what I knew. This is where I dreamed of being a teacher and educator. In the 90’s, there were not many options for college students who wanted to pursue certain careers. The way students pursued careers was either by getting a scholarship academically or through sports. I did not play sports or do well academically; not that I was a failing student, I got A’s, B’s and C’s and my parents were very proud of that. When I graduated in June 1996 from Cleveland Heights High School, I knew that if I wanted to go to college and teach I had to take out student loans; which was not feasible given the retail work wage at the time.
I spent the next 25 years doing Retail and Sales and managed to make lots of money and help raise a family. I have 3 grown children and a supportive husband now after 25 years and have decided to let the second half of my life be for me. About 5 years, I worked for PepsiCo as one of the leading women on my level. I got the opportunity to teach others how to excel at their jobs and move up the ladder with my job title as a trainer. As it so happens, I trained others and was able to see them move to better positions and that made me feel good. This is why my passion for teaching is so strong. This job also allowed me to go to school at 35 years old and receive my Associates Degree in Business which was no easy task. Working 60-70 hours a week and attending online classes while raising the family was truly difficult. Even though I did not get the opportunity to move up in my career after 6 years as I hoped, it didn’t stop me from wanting to teach and expand my horizons.
The last couple of years, I was able to take a break and re-evaluate my life and now at 44, I can see the picture clearly. Last year, I self-published 2 books on Amazon and am proud to say that I am an author. Currently, I am working on my first children's book starring my youngest son who is on the Autism Spectrum. I am looking forward to adding to the collection of Diversity and Inclusion books that are being created. I have always wanted to publish books but as I said earlier, things were different for everything you tried to do before technology. Don’t get me wrong, I am “All About Simplicity” and missed the days of face to face interactions and talking to people on the phone with voice. The technology age has not been difficult to adjust to for me because my dad is a technology professional; so I learned everything from him. I sometimes get the opportunity to help my fellow baby boomers like my mother in law when she is having trouble with her computer and phone. I love seeing that my skills are helping others.
Getting back to teaching, I recently in 2021, wanted to go back to school for teaching but found out that there were so many different avenues for teaching that I could expand myself further. I am currently a motivational speaker, so when I decided to get my Bachelors in Science in Communications, it was a no brainer for me. The doors that open up to teach others how to live their best life and be transformed is so amazing. My focus now is being a full time student and working on getting my story out there and teaching others how to start over again as I did later in life.
Sharing my story with women who need inspiration is my passion. As a woman, it is so important to have a positive role model that you can look up to and encourage you and let you know how valuable you are. The last five years were not easy for me as far as finding myself and separating myself from what I was used to. Sometimes, you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to help others in their time of need. As the oldest of 5, I set a good example for role modeling for my siblings, especially my sisters so that they can feel good about themselves and know that they can achieve a lot as I did. Giving up has never been an option for me, but I have had my moments of disappointment. I am currently mentoring young girls who are looking for encouragement and someone to say “Great Job”. This is so important in teaching. Making an impact with everyone you come in contact with, is all a part of the reason why I want to speak all over the world.
My children are adults now but I still love to continue to teach them the fundamentals of life. The satisfaction of having 3 successful children achieve so much, makes us such proud parents. Any opportunity I have to educate is an opportunity not taken for granted. This past year, I have made several appearances on podcasts, live shows and blogs and have loved every minute. Opening yourself up to fear and “Doing it Afraid” is what I live by. Comfort zones for teaching don't get in my way. I am proud to be able to touch so many lives through my messages and influence. It is never too late to pursue anything in life. As long as you want it, it can be achieved.
Looking for a speaker for your next event? Connect with me on social media via the links below.
LaFrieda Smith was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and resides in sunny Florida. Mom of 3 adult children and is a devoted wife and life partner to her husband of over 25 years.
She has a strong social media presence as an influencer and speaker who motivates young women to be the best version of themselves while inspiring those looking for encouragement to start over in midlife.
As a woman who has had to begin her life again through various trauma and circumstances, she has been able to overcome and cope with many obstacles and limited resources.
She is the author of 2 books published in 2021. Buying and Selling and Beautiful Flowers. She is in the process of working on her first children’s book starring her son who is on the Autism Spectrum.