We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandi Day and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandi, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
To keep going and not count myself out. There have been many of times where I haven’t felt qualified enough or positioned to fulfill the the huge role that I hold as the Founder of my organization but once I started giving myself the grace to know that many have and are walking in the same shoes that I am and the realization that we are thriving and doing good work and making an impact!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My road to where I am today WAS NOT easy!
I am the first generation college graduate in my family and was raised by a single mother whom had her own share of trials. Through my journey I was taught hard lessons that has essentially led me to my successes, including being denied admissions into Washington State University. Because of this I have a strong sense of adaptability, innate ability to quickly build enduring relationships at all levels of organizations and being a team player who brings energy and optimism to any environment.
I do what I do because of my own personal journey.
The road over the course of these 5 years hasn’t been easy. Entrepreneurship takes a lot of guts, smiles, tears and consistency. Some of my major challenges have been:
1. Funding (Sponsorships, Grants, Donations)
2. Learning and navigating the field of running a non-profit
3. Partnerships (the good, the bad and the ugly)
4. Staying on top of being an effective leader and mentor
I’ve been able to overcome the challenges by remaining faithful, relying on my strong support system and cheer squad, consistently pushing forward because I know youth are counting on me. As hard as it may get I have to often have self-talk moments that fuel me to elevate and aspire me to do more and strive for excellence. I must walk the walk and talk the talk. People are always watching!
Professionally, I have more than 10 years experience in Human Resources with knowledge and experience, as well as passions around targeting strategic HR roles that focuses specifically on being proactive in improving the way HR does business.
Since transitioning from a corporate career to now running my own non-profit iD.A.Y.dream for youth.
I started iD.A.Ydream in July 2016 shortly after returning from maternity leave. I realized that I wasn’t operating in my passion and purpose. Working in a face paced corporate environment with no work life balance, I felt like I couldn’t turn work “off”. My brain juices began to flow and my husband has always spoken highly of my gift in working with children and often telling me that I should become a teacher. He encouraged me to write down what made me feel full filled, what makes me happy and what makes me smile. My eldest son and I were having many conversations about going to college and what he wanted to be when he grew up and after many sheets of paper and more signs of confirmations – iD.A.Y.dream was formed. I recognized the strong need in my community to be more involved in the lives of youth, mainly in schools. Providing youth with resources and a community of support is what truly holds a special place in my heart. Living out this dream to inspire youth to pursue excellence is THE most rewarding.
iD.A.Y.dream, is a youth-based, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves low to middle income young men and women, ages 12-18. iD.A.Y.dream provides diverse programming that will attract and retain youth, with a wide variety of interests and needs. The needs and interest of iD.A.Y.dream youth are met through encouraging youth to participate and vocalize areas of demand.
I’ve had the opportunity to roll out an immense amount of programs that have been life changing for dreamers and their families. They have focused on setting goals, career exploration, financial literacy, health and wellness, and civic responsibility to name a few.
I was able to quickly pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic and navigate post-secondary planning through hosting webinars. I redesigned and restructured programs to create distance learning support to help youth who were struggling with remote learning.
Now that I have relocated to Los Angeles, my role in advancing these programs here will help address the needs of youth and guide them toward making positive choices through education, inspiring and, empowering programs.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA is a whole vibe and having to narrow down what to do is extremely hard!
I believe LA is the city of opportunity and exposure. The visit will go a little something like this!
– City Hikes – Runyon Canyon, Hollywood sign, Culver City stairs (the views are endless), Griffith Park.
– Beverly Hills – Rodeo Drive is a MUST! If you need a bit of inspiration, exposure to success, this is the place to be. The people, the energy, the endless blocks people watching is amazing!
– Eateries – Javiers in Century City, Ocean Prime in Beverly Hills, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, Honey’s Kettle, Eddie V’s, The Stinking Rose and CATCH LA!!!
– Coffee Shops – Sip and Sonder!!!! Definitely a daily coffee morning stop!
– Beaches – You honestly can’t go wrong with any of the beaches! Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Hermosa, Newport, Long Beach.
– Unleashing our Inner Kid – Disneyland, Universal Studios (and City Walk), Knott’s Berry Farm (and Soak City), Santa Monica Pier, the Zoo and Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach (One of THE best aquariums)
– Night out on the town – Laker/Clipper game, Dodger game, Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd.
– Shopping – Fashion District, Beverly Center, Fox Hills
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
YES! My whole thought process and the way I lead is attributed to Shonda Rhimes book: The Year of YES!
This book changed the game for me. I am and have always been an internal over thinker, internal visionary, internal almost everything. But once I started saying YES, betting on myself and acknowledging my gifts. I haven’t turned around since!
And most importantly….My 3 children and husband are my inspiration and having a strong passion for kids, has opened my eyes to provide them with more than what I had as a child growing up and encouraging them to chase all of their dreams. Starting a nonprofit working with youth wasn’t a dream I would’ve ever seen in my line of sight but when your gift is upon you, there are no limits to what you can do.
Photographer: Isaiah Bouie – www.six21pix.com