We had the good fortune of connecting with Nychol Lyna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nychol, how does your business help the community?
I am passionate about and dedicated to encouraging women, youth, and community empowerment through my business development attributes and creative works of art. Established in 2014, Dream North Entertainment’s mission is to promote the advancement of minority individuals and communities, while emphasizing the importance of bridging cultural gaps by way of collaboration and utilizing artistic expression as an alternative outlet.
We have offered support to various clients that promote the advancement of underprivileged demographics, such as Little Voices. We’ve contributed to the development of programs that have served more than 3,000 at-risk youth. Most importantly, we have created more than 100 job and internship opportunities for all those exposed to the judicial and foster care system.
But none of these achievements come close to the social impact we have established through the production of our new children’s book series. “Forgotten Baby” focuses on real-life experiences that young boys and girls face when entering the foster care system at a young age. My Co-Author, Arthur Romeo, and I hope that this book uplifts readers who face similar challenges within the foster care system, and inspires them to keep moving forward no matter how challenging life can get. We want them to know there is hope and it can get better. The primary goal is to shed light on the foster care system and the circumstances that our youth (and foster parents) endure, while also promoting literary efficacy. What our foster children experience is quite overwhelming: 15% of children who enter foster care are removed from their families due to neglect, 8% due to physical abuse, and 2% from sexual abuse. Girls in foster care are twice as likely to get pregnant by the age of 19, and 40% will have a second child by age 21; 47% of youth leaving foster care are unemployed, and 33% receive public assistance.
Publishing “Forgotten Baby” has been a major step forward for the Dream North Entertainment brand. I’m proud to announce established partnerships with entities such as, FAMLI Inc (our fiscal sponsor who currently proctors their program at Green Dot Public Schools in Los Angeles), the Los Angeles Police Museum, and various communities in the Bahamas. I believe, with the support of like-minded individuals and organizations like these friends of mine, this is only the beginning and we will cultivate a platform to touch lives on a global scale.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I grew up in Los Angeles and Inglewood, California, as an only child raised by my devoted single-parenting mother. Growing up as an only child, I often found myself alone. This allowed me to have the freedom to think creatively and entertain myself. Later, these experiences (including being exposed to gangs within my neighborhood, and racism and bullying outside of my community, while enrolled at various private schools) inspired me to put all my emotion into writing.
After working for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), HeadStart, and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, an MBA in Management, and a Master’s in International Business, I was fortunate to reside in Spain to begin working on a research study entitled, “Prostitution among Women & Minors: Global Assessment of Causes and Prevention”, geared towards gaining insight into the social science aspects of people in our society and to determine the factors that contribute to the exploitation and trafficking of women and minors, and the preventative measures taken to deter them from solicitation and prostitution overseas. The disheartening facts presented to me in my research, as well as the admiration ignited in my heart for the woman and children who persevered beyond their unfortunate circumstances, I was inspired and felt a sense of obligation to devote my journey to uplifting at-risk and minority youth and women across the globe. Thus, Dream North was established.
The concept of Dream North Entertainment came from the desire to encourage others to look to the North Star for strength to push forward and fulfill their dreams. Since entering the entertainment industry and pursuing my entrepreneurial endeavors in 2014, I’ve been tried and tested, enduring both treachery and triumphs. Now more than ever it was my time to approach the plate, tap into all of the knowledgeI had gained, and to lead!
Leadership is being able to take charge of a situation and run with it. Throughout my life, I have exemplified leadership qualities in all that I’ve set my mind to. As the Founder and CEO of Dream North Entertainment, I am responsible for leading a team, providing exemplary services to our clients on all projects, and working with them to execute the vision for their respective company. I take pride in having always been a diligent, resourceful and independent worker, and these are some of the greatest qualities any leader or entrepreneur can possess.
If I can leave anything with your readers who have goals of going into business for themselves, or perhaps they’re already in business and facing some roadblocks, it would be:
1. Put a 3-year goal timeline and budget together to minimize your mistakes and costs. When I first began Dream North Entertainment, my film projects were my first priority, specifically, “It’s All Happening” starring Auntie Fee. I did well with planning and was even able to secure sponsors and partners to help cover some costs, but when you’re new to the industry all types of circumstances arise swaying your plans and budget.
2. Secure a dedicated mentor. I had support from Singer Michel’le and Auntie Fee, but no one dedicated to helping guide me and be there when I needed direction. I was doing everything on my own, which is surely rewarding but can get quite discouraging when you face roadblocks. The worst experience was constantly being faced with romantic advances from my male colleagues; rather than just focusing on my intellect, I had to constantly be aware of my body language and appearance as not to welcome unwanted attention.
3. Incorporate healthy initiatives in your everyday life to maintain balance and inner peace. When you are an artist and entrepreneur, things can become discouraging, minimizing your self-esteem or will to go on. Maintaining a diet, exercising regimen, quiet time, and implementing motivational and serenity-invoking techniques, such as crystals and sage, yoga, visits to the beach, and daily affirmations are all important. All of these components make a difference but require self-discipline. I wish I had incorporated them into my life early on (I entered the entertainment industry at 28 years old).
4. Celebrate yourself and your accomplishments. No one is going to love and believe in yourself more than you. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I often find myself saying, “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished but I should be so much further; I need to help more people”. Now that I’m 34 years old, I feel that I’m behind but have to remind myself that I’ve already done so much good, and without any real support. And that’s something to be acknowledged and celebrated.
5. Determine what’s most important to you and focus on projects that best highlight those goals. For many years I simply felt creative and wanted to do it all… films, books, events, business consulting, managing non-profit organizations, and more. And I began to overextend myself rather than putting my energy into three specific projects that could take me to the next level.
My entire life has felt like a struggle, both through inner and outer experiences; many struggles being because of my own careless or selfish doing. We all aspire to be loved, recognized, and valued, all the while, losing our determination to be respected or supported. I’m not too proud to admit that my biggest issue, as I’ve transitioned into adulthood, has been choosing relationships that are not healthy, whether it be business or personal. I’ve learned it’s my responsibility to choose myself and set boundaries.
This world can be so difficult to navigate, but in order for me, or any of us, to fulfill our purpose, we must to learn to let go no matter the depth of the project or person. There’s so much work to do, and it’s up to us to acknowledge our calling, choose ourselves, and in turn maintain our personal and professional balance so we are able to cherish each day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If you know me, you know my thing is restaurant hopping. Give me an eclectic menu and a refreshing cocktail, and I have no complaints. Throw in a dope view, and I’m sold! Yelp. OpenTable. Diners TV. I’m the friend constantly receiving DM’s hearting my food pictures, asking where I’m dining, and saying “we need to link so you can take me out to eat somewhere good!”
Whether it’s Mexican, Indian, Cuban, Italian, Chinese, American, Japanese. Whether it’s an $8 meal or $80 per person. Whether it’s a buffet, drive thru, fine dining, or a food and wine festival. Restaurants are my passion and this will never change! My favorite activity, hobby, and pastime. Don’t ask me to go shopping. I dare you to invite me to the gym. Please! If you want to know who has the best lobster Mac n Cheese, I’m your girl!
If my mother read this she’d probably shake her head in disappointment, taking mental note of all the receipts I’ve racked up. But sorry Pooh, you taught me how to appreciate a great meal and good hospitality.
Food is not my only love. I enjoy checking out featured exhibitions hitting the city. Give me 15 minutes and I’ll find a great deal on Groupon or TripAdvisor. I enjoy new experiences. From booze cruising, to helicopter rides, to spas, to beach and pool missions. When you’re in Los Angeles every activity is at your disposal.
So tell me, what’s your heart’s desire…?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am dedicating my Shoutout to my mother, Keesha Cleveland, the Director of HeadStart. I’ve been so fortunate to have a strong woman exude such leadership and grace in my life. She’s my greatest friend, confidant, and mentor. What she has accomplished in her career, I can only hope to reach her level of success and respect. It’s because of women like her that us Black girls can become whoever we strive to be. I’m so proud of what she has accomplished for underprivileged communities and I dedicate all of my successes to her! I hope one day to be able to repay her for all the sacrifices and investments she’s so unconditionally made for me.
Nychol Lyna Green Dot Public School Students Zemirah Madison, Daughter and “Forgotten Baby” Youth Ambassador