Meet Yana Reynolds & Terrian Jones of Melanated Conversations & Levels to Launch
Yana: I would say that we were naturally called to this space. Personally though, podcasting came on my radar at a time when I was pushing through one of the lowest moments in my life. I had experienced a cancer scare and both of my parents were experiencing issues around their health. Podcasts played a vital role into my self-healing story. One of the ways I found myself navigating through was tuning into shows on my then drive to and from work. I became so connected and really fell in love with this form of media. What started out as a method of healing and avenue for personal care, manifested into a fulltime business and show.
From the start Terrian and I were both aligned with our vision and messaging around our show. We knew we wanted the content around our show to be centered around women, specifically sharing the stories of black women. We wanted something that provided a positive representation of us, allowing us to shift the narrative and view of the black woman perspective from our own voice. Ultimately, this served as the blueprint for the formulation of Melanated Conversations.
Terrian: We have always been very close (more like sisters), and our conversations would always vary on different topics. Oddly enough, both of us started feeling the push to start podcasting; we just hadn’t said it out loud to each other. So, about a year ago, Yana called me up and shared her interest in starting up a podcast. The timing was of the essence as I shared the same sentiment. Fast forward a week after our initial conversation, we made the decision to set this thing in motion. We officially launched in August 2019 and we’ve been going strong ever since.
Yana: This journey has been nothing short of amazing, but that’s not to say that it’s been a breeze. Like with every new undertaking, there are always challenges to overcome. Creating balance while learning an entirely new industry have certainly proved to be a challenge, particularly when you own every element of your show. Terrian and I collectively wear many hats in this industry. I’m so grateful that we have each other along this journey and that our passion for the cause and will to succeed both align. This is truly our main ingredient for success as we conquer, producing great content week after week. We had no prior experience moving into this space, but we had the grit to learn it.
Terrian: There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes that initially provided a major learning curve. It’s not just about getting behind the mic and talking (that’s the easy part). As Yana mentioned, we manage every phase of the production process. The post-production process has provided the greatest level of adjustment for me, particularly the editing and social media management. It has certainly been a learning curve, but we’ve been able to push past a lot of uncomfortable points and prove that we can learn to do the hard things and do them well.
Terrian: As it relates to our show – Melanated Conversations, we are a weekly podcast that celebrates the stories and success of black women around the globe. Our aim is to amplify the great works and contributions we provide to society while sharing our lessons of transformation and triumph along the way. It’s your weekly dose of empowerment and inspiration, sprinkled with lots of laughter.
Yana: We are your mac and cheese – your place of comfort and joy. When you tune in with us, we want your experience to feel as if you are in the room with your closest girlfriends gathered around the dining table. We are proud of the reach that we have. It’s still mind-blowing to us when we think of all the different countries around the world where people are tuning in and listening to us have these conversations with women. Meeting other black women and getting to hear and share their stories with the rest of the world is so rewarding.
Starting on this journey as a podcaster has opened so many new lanes. When you pursue your path, things will align for you as you move. This was certainly the case for my podcast launching brand Levels to Launch, which was birthed from the seeds of our podcast – Melanated Conversations. This experience has allowed me to go deeper into learning about myself while finding and using my VOICE. As a result of this, I created the V.O.I.C.E. model which is a 5-Step Framework with the goal in mind to encourage you to push past the resistance in operating in your calling – so that you could powerfully share your message with the world. What I didn’t realize while crafting this framework, is that this would be the foundation for my podcast launching service, which equips individuals with the tools to launch their own show and leverage podcasting to powerfully share their unique gift and message with the world.
What sets me apart from other podcast launching services is the foundational principle I have created around VOICE. Sure, I want you to produce a high-quality show and have a successful launch, but beyond that my goal is to get you to hone-in to the core of your WHY. I want you to obey that calling in your life to pursue the gift that innately resides in you. It brings me immense joy to see my clients vocalize their power.
Terrian: Having a goal #1 is important because you can’t be successful or even attempt to reach some form of success without a guided goal you want to work toward. Once you have the goal, your success is contingent on the effort behind the work. So, having a willing attitude to execute is key.
Yana: I’ve found one of the best definitions for success to be “peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made an effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – (John Wooden)
We learned early on in this journey that when you intentionally lead with a servant mindset, it illuminates the path for your success. At the end of the day, if we are using every ounce of ourselves and collectively doing the things (even the minute things) to serve and further our core mission/vision – we are successful. If our podcast reaches and touches one person, we are successful. I think having the courage and will to boldly move the needle in the thing that is meaningful to you is within itself a success.