It’s not often you come across someone who works as hard as Lauren Bealore, we are excited to have crossed paths with this political powerhouse. Lauren has made huge leaps in her career overcoming gender confines in a male dominated industry. It’s no surprise that her life goals include breaking down barriers. Her has passion has placed her on a national platform reaching the homes of thousands to discuss issues she strongly believes in. Read on to learn more about Lauren’s inspiring journey.
Name: Lauren Bealore
Current Job Title: Political Consultant, Commissioner and First Vice Chair of the City of Southfield Total Living Commission
Education: Michigan State University (Bachelor of Arts), The New England College (Masters in Public Policy)
Hometown: Southfield, MI
Undergraduate Major: Social Relations & Policy
Why did you choose the college you went to?
I chose the college I attended mainly due to my undergraduate residential program James Madison but I gained so much more from my alma mater. I gained a continuous sense of community and a foundation for both my leadership and career advancement.
If you went to a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), why didn’t you attend a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) and vice versa?
I attended a PWI due to my undergraduate program James Madison College. James Madison is a highly selective program where you typically have to be asked to participate in the program as your major. Additionally, many minorities do not receive as much opportunity to not only be apart of James Madison but also graduate from the program and it is mostly due to exposure. I knew that this would be the first step to being apart of the program for me because my life goals always consist of breaking down barriers for others and debunking stereotypes. Lastly, the program is one of the top programs in the nation for those interested in law and government. Its alumni base consists of attorneys, legislators, legislative staffers, campaign directors, non-profit directors, and AmeriCorps members just to name a few. This is also an alumni network that I desired to be apart of and I am glad that I made the decision that led to being amongst this dynamic group of alum.
How did you pay for college?
Specific scholarships or grants? My parents paid for my undergraduate experience but for my Masters program, I fortunately had the benefit of VA assistance through the GI Bill under President Obama’s administration.
What organizations did you join while in college?
Were any influential to your current career? I participated in the Case Black Caucus as President, the African American Celebratory as Chair, the Zonta Golden Z Club as Treasurer, and the University Activities Board as the Multicultural Director. I feel that all of these organizations were influential to my career because they further helped to instill a sense of responsibility as a campus leader, which I have used in my career in politics when working with constituents and voters. Choosing to be apart of an organization is choosing to be apart of a community in order to benefit a certain cause, which I feel could be useful in any career endeavor.
Most influential college professor and/or course?
The most influential course I took in my undergraduate experience is my Sexual Politics course. I feel that this course expanded my education on gender and sexuality politics and policy from the birth control movement led by Margaret Sanger to sex education programming in high schools across America. These movements definitely played a role in my career working with Planned Parenthood alongside female candidates and legislators to support their initiatives.
Was interning helpful to landing your current position? What internships did you have?
Internships as well as fellowships were definitely helpful to landing my current position because they gave me the experience. In my field, experience is a necessity for career leverage. Interning for the Michigan Democratic Party while in college and obtaining a fellowship with the Michigan Suburbs Alliance (now known as Metro Matters) gave me the exposure needed to enter the realm of politics. Most importantly, they gave opportunities to network for myself, which I highly encourage to any college student or even high school student looking to propel their ambitions.
What was your first job out of college?
My first job out of college was actually as a Legal Assistant for a permanently blind attorney at Wienner & Gould P.C. working on warranty litigation. Since my attorney was vision-impaired, my experience was much more hands-on. I prepared the depositions for each case, filed motions to the court, examined the vehicles during inspection, attended motion hearings at all 3 county courts of Michigan, and organized case files. At the time, I planned to go into the legal field in Intellectual Property Law so this was definitely a good starter experience that I will never forget.
What’s your favorite college memory?
Attending Michigan State will give you many college memories that could possibly be your favorite but I would have to say my college graduation from my major. Just knowing that all of the hard work paid off and that you completed the purpose that you came to serve at the time is nostalgia that is forever engrained in my memory bank. Additionally, with only 10 African Americans out of 350 being graduates from James Madison, being amongst that group of individuals, some that I am still close friends with to this day, is a beautiful thing. We supported each other. We encouraged each other. Then we celebrated each other.
What is a typical workday like for you?
A typical workday for me consists of answering e-mails upon e-mails upon e-mails! But also to, recently I have been working on a ballot initiative project where we seek the thoughts of voters in several different districts and precincts in order to predict the upcoming 2016 election. The ballot initiative consists of both parties’ current candidates, Senatorial candidates, University Board Trustees, and 16 potential proposals for the State of Michigan including the distribution of marijuana and stem cell research. These projects are conducted because legislators and other government entities pay firms to look into these ballot ideals to get inside the mind-set of voters. This saves money during campaign season so that campaign teams, both locally and nationally, do not target areas or voters that are non-responsive. These projects are typically a 4-week ongoing project. Additionally, weekly I do a radio show called Black Bottom Radio where I host a segment entitled “Lauren’s Law”. Each week I choose a different topic that blends together popular culture and politics to engage the audience, especially Millennials, more into the world of politics and policy. These topics have ranged from student loan forgiveness to the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Does your college degree relate to the work you do?
Yes, both my college degree and Masters degree correlate to the work I do. I definitely feel that I have used my coursework from both undergrad and grad school, especially working in the state legislature.
Has being Black affected your career?
If so, how? For me, being black has affected my career both positively and negatively. The negative is not having the privilege to be as exposed to job opportunities in my field so I had to work even harder to find those opportunities. Also with their being a small percentage of Blacks in politics, the statistics show that many are not hired; consequently, the credentials have to be higher to even retrieve the position. The positive is that once I broke through that barrier, being the only Black woman as a Fellow working with local government or being the only Black woman in Finance for campaigns in the entire Midwest helped to leverage my career because there was more of a demand to place me in the position to expand the diversity factor.
What substantial moment marked your greatest career highlight?
This moment took place this past February. I was asked to do my first live television experience on the news regarding a Black History Month segment. It was my first political correspondence opportunity and definitely goes down as one of the best moments of my life. To sit and discuss Selma and how it relates to voting rights today while having a tagline at the bottom of the screen read: “Proud to be African American” reaching tons of viewers in their home showed me that anything truly is possible.
What advice would you give your undergraduate self?
To my undergraduate self, I would say: “Stop worrying. Everything truly takes place in due time. Continue to push forward because you can either work hard now and play hard later or play hard now and work hard later. Either way, you have to work hard at some point.”
How do you escape on the weekends?
I absolutely love starting my weekends with a little tea and watching Golden Girls. You can never go wrong with Golden Girls. In addition, I enjoy attending art exhibits, sporting events, church on Sundays, brunch, and of course a little shopping. Due to the fact that my weeks are so busy, I truly cherish my weekends.
Coffee or Tea?
Definitely tea. I actually attend tea tastings regularly!
Favorite nail color?
Any Essie or Butter London Fall color! Fall nail colors always look so chic against the skin.
#TeamNatural or #TeamRelaxed?
#TeamNatural. I love my curly tresses!
Best advice you’ve ever received?
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be?
It would definitely be Michelle Obama. She comes across so personable and it seems like we would have a dynamic discussion based upon our career interests.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cupcakes are so my guilty pleasure, especially the Betty Crocker made cupcakes. It brings back so many memories of helping my parents back for their annual Usher Board Bake Sale. I still eat the leftover cake batter out of the bowl!
Favorite Quote (or lyric)?
“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ~Shirley Chisholm
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