How do you start your day?
I begin each day now with a brief meditation and a (very brief) moment of reflection. It’s a mental note of what really matters in this day and a conscious effort to not focus on what mattered yesterday or what matters tomorrow. The goal is to stay in the day/moment and address what truly does matter this day. This is a new strategy for me and I am interested in seeing what comes of it.
Who inspires you?
I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly inspirational people within my family. My parents inspire me. My mother has been very involved in education and women in STEAM careers before it was “trendy” and a priority on the national agenda. She was responsible for sending me to space camps, math camps, and science camps before there was a push to move young girls into those areas. She has always had a very keen pulse on what educational initiatives would benefit the global society specifically as it relates to women, girls, and children in underserved communities.
As a PhD, she taught statistics for years, but was always very concerned with the idea that we never treat people as statistics. My father was heavily involved in politics and political strategy for much of my childhood and was instrumental in the integration that transpired in an area of Georgia called Forsyth County. Integration did not take place in that community until the 90’s. Today, Forsyth is integrated, thriving, and is a remarkable community reflecting a diverse constituency. His bravery worked to set that in motion and I am extremely proud of all that he has done in the spirit of civil and human rights. My grandmother was born in August of 1922, and she constantly inspires me—specifically as it relates to health and fitness.
She is 94 and still believes in working out every day. She goes to the pool and does water aerobics. She is an example of no excuses! I promise not to name every family member, but my husband serves as a great inspiration as well. He is an incredible businessman and has a mind for analyzing deals like no other. We aren’t interested in working together, but I often think it would be pretty phenomenal if we ever did. He’s a natural (and remarkable) negotiator.
What would you tell yourself as a teenager?
Whew. I had an incredible teenage/high school existence. I would honestly say “Enjoy it and take it all in…these are some special moments that you won’t truly appreciate until they are gone…twenty-four years later.”
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
My dad says “[a] long-shot is still a shot.” He’s right. In this life, sometimes you have to just do it!
What do you need to get you through each day?
I have to maintain an appreciation for God’s goodness to get through the day. I have been extraordinarily blessed and I refuse to take any of it for granted. I try and practice gratitude daily. Someone once said to me to imagine if whatever you weren’t grateful for is what you lost the next day. It reminded me how many things one can easily take for granted or assume will be there, but nothing in life is promised. I use that recognition to propel me forward. I also drink coffee–good coffee. I am a high-energy person naturally, but I am not one of those people who gets by with no caffeine. I fit a lot into 24 hours and I have to admit that I get it in there with a healthy dose of coffee.
What are you reading?
Ta Nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me, revisions and red-lines of contracts for clients at my firm, and scripts for my media company.
Briefly describe your business and inspiration for it.
The Cook Law Group, PLLC and Ca-Co Global Inc. work together to offer traditional law and business services to the corporate, tech, start-up and entertainment world while providing new, innovative, and currently non-traditional business strategy, management, and law services. The firm was inspired by my desire to address the problem that clients were having with “traditional” firms from both a billing and service perspective. It also addressed the issues that younger, but still seasoned attorneys were having with the legal market place in terms of capitalizing off of a “new” economy and addressing client needs in a much more innovative way. I had practiced law for several years as a corporate litigator and had also practiced within the intellectual property and entertainment realms. I knew the current legal model could be improved upon and so I worked to make those improvements—and I did.
It was through my success as an attorney and business woman that I met my friend and business partner, Iqram. He had successfully co-founded a payment application called Venmo and I had been behind cutting edge legal business strategy. We hit it off immediately. We both are creative with an eye for business and felt that there was a need in the media space for a platform that could accommodate the stories that we felt needed to be told and that were not being told or getting the proper support from a funding, development, or narrative space. Namaskar Media was created to change that. I also felt compelled to have stories that were led by women and in many cases directed by women. Our voices as women are strong and should be used to motivate and influence more dynamic women (and men) into action from business to social impact. I am creating the media that serves as the catalyst for that inspiration and I am proud to be the conduit by which these amazing stories are shared.
What has been the key to your success?
The key to my success has been to keep going and to be content with my own applause. Entrepreneurship is not for the meek and it is not easy, but it is definitely worth it. There are moments in the spotlight where you get the public kudos, but there are many more moments (the moments that often matter the most) where you are providing your own kudos.
You are swimming, and moving, and pushing and simultaneously you are on the proverbial edge pushing and cheering yourself along. You are screaming for your success the loudest and with the most fervor and with the belief that whatever it is you can do it. You keep going and you make yourself proud and you never get too comfortable so that you can maintain the will and the fight to continue. All of the winners in this game of life are not always “the best”…they are the ones that keep going with no excuses. The key is to keep going. This is a marathon not a sprint…and being the “best” well, that’s just the cherry on top.
Which books, articles, blogs have helped to shape your business and/or leadership style?
The book The 4 Hour Work Week is a must read for any person truly passionate about stepping fully into their role as an entrepreneur. For me, that book illustrates the mindset of “no Guts, no glory.” I also still believe that Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is a phenomenal book. My leadership style has been crafted over the years from thirteen years of being a leader in some way shape or form as an attorney. However, I have enjoyed everything from the websites “Above The Law” and “Her Agenda” to the podcast “Beyond The Business Suit” With Kailee Carr.”
What do you think the most important attribute a female entrepreneur/ business owner can possess?
My response is actually two answers, but the two most important attributes for a woman business owner are ability and confidence. They are two sides of the same coin. There is so much talk about self-doubt and imposter syndrome. If I am honest, I don’t traditionally go through those emotions. I don’t have the luxury. I know that I am up for any challenge and I’ll challenge anyone who tries to suggest otherwise. With that said, I know many brilliant, capable, dynamic women who do feel self-doubt and other debilitating emotions like imposter syndrome. Confidence and ability are the two tools that can shut down the voices that lead you to second -guess (whether they are internal voices or external voices from third-parties) and propel you forward. Confidence and ability are not about being perfect now. It’s about being confident in the truth that you will get ready and you will be ready when it matters.
What do you do outside the office to help you stay creative/productive?
I am now also a founder of a media company, so Namaskar Media is my creative outlet. I tend to read the trades and many of the deal newsletters to see what deals are happening and whether those deals are appropriate fits for my clients, my company, or my network of dynamic professional colleagues. I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats and so I keep an eye out not just for myself, but for a broad net of individuals as well.