We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Wendy T. Talley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Wendy T., how do you think about risk?
Risk? When I think about the word risk, it evokes emotions and thoughts dating back to my childhood. My existence has always been a risk, growing up a black girl and developing into a black woman growing up in Los Angeles, California. My community was full of families, kids of all ages, double ditching, and street racing on foot. However, there was another side of a fairy tale, drug pushers and users, drive-by shoots, fights amongst rival gangs, and stray dogs who chased us home. Each day was a toss-up of whether you would have a “good day” because of cute guys or girls flirting or heart throbbing activity of being shot at or chased by older kids ready to beat you up. Either way, you knew by the time you laid your head down, there was a story to tell at school the next day.
My childhood was filled with risks; just be to live being black!
As I grew up and went off to college, the risks taken were different, especially in a diverse neighborhood. “Momma never told me there would be days like this!” Going to San Diego State University was an adventure in itself, but this time the gangs were replaced with young white males believing they could run campus and terrorize all the black students as the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan lived within a mile of the school. Yes, you read right; the Grand Wizard had an invisible presence on the campus. See, I grew up knowing how to handle gang members and dodge bullets as I walked home. However, dodging white supremacy was another skill I had not developed.
Risks in college were about getting through college with grades good enough to walk the stage and knowledge to get a job to pay back the loans acquired. However, in-between entrance and exit was the college experience. I was “fresh meat” to the upper-classmen on campus and awkward to the upper-class women as well. I never quite fit in until I dared to join a sorority for sisterhood and protection from the frat boys. The college opened my eyes to possibilities and people from all over the world. I was able to experience food and language other an English and Spanish from the neighborhood. The most significant risk I took was to see if my social worker from High School was wrong about me being too stupid for college. Yes, my social worker in high school stated to me I was not smart enough to go and finish college. I was only good enough to have babies and be a wife.
In 1991 I was accepted into San Diego State University and graduated in 1996 with my Bachelor in Arts in Psychology with a GPA of 2.8 cumulative. Well, it was better than the 2.0 GPA I got accepted with. I guess my social worker was wrong. Well, I think God was working on me, so a Master’s in Social Work appeared to be the next major step, or at least a college buddy at the time thought so. The University of Southern California is a private university located in the heart of South Central Los Angeles, a low economic challenged community.
What should our readers know about your business?
Thelese Consulting Group is an organization with a mission to ensure that each workplace has a thriving and diverse staff. We strive to provide that each employee and leader can work together with little to no barriers to shave their bottom line of productivity success. We pride ourselves in offering leadership training and development for every current and up-and-coming leader. In addition, we work with every employee to assist in developing positive and practical coping skills to manage workplace stress and unexpected challenges. What sets us apart from other mental health group practices is our target population, small and large corporations. Thelese Consulting Group has successfully implement evidence-based practice approaches by removing the stigma of mental illness in the workplace.
It has been able to scale in the mental health and business arena by collaborating with executive coaches and other Business Leaders in the field. I genuinely believe that each entrepreneur should have coaching in various business areas, especially if you are new to the field. Successful people who have business always have a mentor or a team they consult with to ensure sustainability. Mentors provide entrepreneurs access to open doors to people and places they usually would not have access. A good mentor will introduce you to the right people and accelerate career objectives and goals. I have been grateful to mentors to help me stay focused on my goals and hold me accountable for my vision for my company. As a new business owner, my internal confidence was not always the best. I would have thoughts of fear of failing, not generating clients, and being paid my worth. My mentors were able to help me build my confidence by achieving small goals every quarter and increasing my network of professionals I could call on. I must say, my mentors are the reason why I activate my creativity and execute my objectives.
Entrepreneurship is not accessible by any means. However, it can be gratifying if you stick with it and never give up. My road to entrepreneurship has been quite tough, to say the least. Furthermore, it has taught me how to sacrifice the small things with a big thing. For example, in developing my business I found that my time with my family ( husband and son) suffered because of many late nights reading leadership development books, compiling emails, and setting up meetings. In addition, I had to attend many conferences near my home and abroad just to obtain professional development and increase my network. Attending these conferences was a strain on my marriage and my relationship with my son. I found it many times my husband and I would have disagreements about the littlest things. My son and I would have constant disputes surrounding chores, homework, length of time watching television, and playing video games; you name it, we argued about it. I didn’t feel good about my relationship with my family because I was putting in all of my time and developing my business. However, I need to put in the work for everything to happen. Eric Thomas, the number one motivational speaker, said, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” I did just that, and the sacrifices I made position me to be successful in business Mental Health and leadership development.
What I have learned along the way has been having a supportive network of family and friends is highly critical to the mental well-being I’m an entrepreneur in life. It is also essential to have a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet routine to ensure mental well-being to achieve all your goals. I would want the world to know the journey in business ownership is about being intentional and non-negotiable in your goals and your dreams.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I genuinely believe that Los Angeles, California, is the most beautiful place in the nation. I know that is a significant and bold statement to make; however, California has many beautiful hidden treasures. As a native, I constantly discover new restaurants, boutique stores, hidden beaches, parks, and historical landmarks. One landmark I would show any visitor to the area would be the Crenshaw District area. The Crenshaw District area Was recently named after Ernias “Nipsey Hustle” Asqhedom after his unfortunate passing on March 31, 2019. Nipsey Hussle believes the community needed residences to buy, own property, and develop businesses. Persicaria is full of History, art, music, family, and creativity; all who visit will feel welcome.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Some so many people have impacted my personal life, business, and spiritual life. There is a group I want to personally thank for sticking with me as I grow my Group Practice, the clinicians of Thelese Consulting Group, LLC. I remember during the start of the pandemic, I did not know if I would pay my rent for my office. I cried and told everyone I would not be able to keep the office open. I prayed to God for a blessing to save my practice. I feared everything I worked day and night for will be wiped away because of a global pandemic. The clinicians at Thelese Consulting Group would not give up and began to market and campaign for affordable therapy services to save the business. Reducing price and adding more hours put a strain on everyone, but we keep the company and increase staff.
I must say, it was an emotional hard road, but it was worth it. We are still working hard to keep the doors open, but knowing I have a fantastic crew who is dedicated makes it all worth wild. The clinicians are such a wonderful group of people who genuinely believe in my vision of having a Group Practice that focuses on serving communities of color who lack resources to address mental illness in the community. In the entire 5.5 years in business, these exceptional clinicians had stuck by my side when I was just starting, and I could not pay anyone a wage to now being an entire agency with staff and the ability to provide jobs for people in the community.
Photographer James Media International