There are those who happen upon their purpose and there are those who walk in it; Raven Solomon is the latter. The Charlotte, NC native defied the odds, overcoming poverty, bullying, battles with anxiety and devastating loss to become Valedictorian of NC State University and later a corporate executive at Frito Lay. It’s in those moments of tragedy, triumph and loss that her character was shaped & her tenacity was fueled which ultimately led her to establish an inspirational platform as a speaker and corporate coach.
Following her parents divorce, Solomon, her mother and two siblings moved from the comfort of the home they once knew into a tiny house with her maternal grandmother. Spending much of her formative years in a drug infested and prostitute ridden part of Charlotte. Despite the surroundings, it was there Solomon received an immeasurable gift – a zest for learning. She recalls, “My grandmother was just so intentional about shielding us from the calamity around us. The only place she would allow me to have a social outlet was the library. She would take me to the library every single day.” There she was able to escape her reality and allow her curiosity to run free.
Academically, Solomon was thriving by the time she reached high school but socially she was an unfortunate victim of bullying after suffering from significant hair loss due to alopecia. According to Solomon, “I think it was the first time I knew I was overcoming something.” And it was in that moment that she made a decision, “I could allow it to defeat me or I could allow it to propel me and push me forward. I was determined that I was going to allow it to push me forward. It (bullying) matures you and you’ve now got this perseverance as a part of your character that money can’t buy and teachers can’t teach.” Armed with a determination to one day turn her antagonizers into her admirers, Solomon moved from victim to victor and into the halls of NC State University.
During her collegiate career, Solomon was exposed to a whole new world of opportunity whilst cognizant of the fact that “excellence was required” of her . She spent spring breaks and summers on service trips in places like Mexico and Ecuador becoming fluent in Spanish and developing a love for travel. For Solomon, those service trips did much more than allow her to travel the world, they gave there the confidence to know that she could actually change it.
Following graduation, the valedictorian entered a managerial program at Frito Lay. Upon graduation from the program she accepted a position as district manager. However, two years into her climb up the corporate ladder, Solomon would be hit with a devastating blow; the passing of both her mother and father within 30 days of one another. Just four short years later, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. It was that diagnosis that changed the trajectory of Solomon’s life and eventually led to her walking away from Corporate America and into life as an entreprenuer.
Although apprehensive at first due to a preconceived notion that she needed to be “a millionaire with an extreme come up story” to be a motivational speaker, Solomon soon realized that her life story and business acumen was all the currency she needed. Since April of this year, Solomon has been using her story of tragedy and triumph coupled with her experience as an executive in Corporate America to “inspire people and move people into greatness” as an inspirational speaker, leadership speaker and corporate millennial coach.
Solomon’s platform is trifold. As an inspirational speaker, she seeks to equip and empower people to overcome obstacles and thrive in life. As a leadership speaker and trainer, she is equipping young professionals, emerging leaders and students to overcome obstacle and thrive in leadership using effective leadership principles. And as a Corporate Millennial Coach, Solomon helps millennials understand and be understood in Corporate America while helping corporations understand how to recognize and leverage the talents of millennials.
Although its still a fairly new business, Solomon has been able to secure speaking engagements at a variety of venues. Her enthusiasm and passion is evident in every facet of her business from her engaging stage presence to her entertaining vlogs. Networking and a consistent online presence have been essential to growing her platform in her quest to inspire and nurture future leaders.
The road to this moment in her life hasn’t been easy to say the least, yet Solomon has managed to find a beacon of light in the darkest of times. Today, she’s using those experiences to live out her purpose.