We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonya McKenzie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tonya, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
The most important thing that I have done as a parent is to raise my children with my husband in a happy, healthy, and safe home. This is such a big deal because that was not my experience. My childhood was plagued with violence, substance abuse, and a high level of generational dysfunction. I am a gun violence survivor, sexual assault survivor, and lived much of my youth watching my mother battle depression and violence in my family. There was also an exceedingly high rate of divorce and single parents in my family, so much so, that it was the norm. Before my husband and I started our family, we discussed what kind of life we wanted for our children. We talked about the things that were missing in our own childhoods and what we would do to ensure that it was not the same for our kids. We also discussed putting our relationship as partners before the kids knowing that we are stronger together. We would never allow the kids to play one of us against the other as kids can do when they see the opportunity. We also established traditional roles in our family knowing that if we both had fast pace, demanding careers, the kids would miss out. That just was not an option. My husband and I had a plan. We executed. Our kids are the beneficiaries of a functional family structure crafted by two people that knew what they wanted and did not want. I have 4 kids. The oldest plays basketball at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, an 11-year-old son, and a set of 9-year-old boy/girl twins. My children have never witnessed domestic violence, substance abuse, or any level of insecurity or fear in their home. To make that happen, we had to cut out toxic relationships, establish boundaries, and most importantly, be consistent. The McKenzie kids have witnessed hard work and display extreme happiness, and carefree joy… a joy that I wish I had when I was a kid. It is effortless, innocent, and without boundaries. It is so fun to watch that I am almost jealous.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I founded Sand & Shores out of the need to provide amazing civic organizations, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs with the ability to tell their story to their target market to gain and maintain more positive public relations coverage. I am the “good news guru”. I love celebrating people, storytelling, and connecting people through common experiences. Advertising and marketing do not always get that job done. Public relations is the most cost-effective way to increase brand awareness and display your expertise and leadership in your field. I love it! Marketing and advertising if you telling people how amazing you are. Public relations are others telling others how amazing you are. Not only do I practice PR, I teach people to step into their leadership and learn to do it for themselves. Empowerment is the key. We are better together.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
When my friends and family come to visit me here in Redondo Beach, Califonia, I make sure that they at least want to come back and at most, think about moving here. We are close enough to the action in Downtown Los Angeles but far enough away that you can indulge in quiet and solitude when desired. We have great food in the South Bay. We would certainly take the time to go to Uncle Bills for breakfast. We would make time to go to Ortega 120 with the best margaritas and Kalaveras with the best Mezcal drinks and for amazing Mexican food at both. We would go to Ws Bistro for amazing Chinese cuisine. One of those days, we would have to visit Blue Salt Fish Grill for lunch. On our way to eat authentic cajun food at Ragin Cajun Cafe, we will stop at The Redondo Beach Police Station to meet the amazing women and men that serve and protect our community. Between meals, we will lay on the beach. We have one of the best beaches in America and you can never get too much serenity and scenery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The opportunity to publish A CHILD’S MEMORIES OF CARTOONS AND MURDER https://www.amazon.com/Childs-Memories-Cartoons-Murder/dp/1939986192 gave me time to really reflect on this life journey and accomplishments. I dedicate this shout out to my husband, life partner, and business advisor, Ray McKenzie.