We had the good fortune of connecting with Sonya Cole and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sonya, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
One of my favorite books is Woman Evolve by Sarah Jakes Roberts. I do not just like it, I actually love it! When I say I absolutely love this book…I absolutely love it!!! First, Sarah started the book off with a discussion about Eve from the bible. Well, several years ago when I was in college, I wrote a paper entitled, “The Fall” The paper was centered around Eve & her disobedience to the Lord. I would often say, “When I get to heaven Eve & I are going to have a little talk…LOL!” In the beginning of the book Sarah discussed all of us as women having a little Eve in us. That made my antennas stand straight up. At that point, I knew I was on to something & that the book was going to be dynamic!

This book impacted my life in so many ways. One, it forced me to look at Sonya’s life from the point of my first memory up to where I was mentally, physically & spiritually during the time I was reading it. Woman Evolve also pushed me to a place of identifying my fears and the things that were holding me back from understanding who God created me to be and operating in that space. Reading Woman Evolve taught me that being vulnerable does not have to be a dreadful thing and that there is power in being vulnerable. For example, I do not like to ask for help or better yet, I did not like to ask for help. I viewed asking for help as taking a risk. It made me feel like I would be putting myself at the mercy of others and I did not want to do that or be seen as someone who could not get things done on my own. However, Sarah’s writing made me look at vulnerability completely through a new set of lenses. She suggested that one should be willing to allow someone into the parts of your life that are not developed to promote increase. I was beyond excited about this new mindset and ready to take the suggestion on as a challenge.

Honestly speaking, Emboldened A Better You was birthed during the process of reading Woman Evolve. This by far is the largest impact the book has had on my life.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a Learning & Development Consultant by day. I am also the owner of Emboldened a Better You which is a Life Coaching Business where I coach women to Become! What sets me apart from others is the level of insight & God-given wisdom I have & love to share with others. I am also one that was born with the ability to encourage those who need encouragement. How did I get where I am today professionally? This is a great question that I can talk about all day. I got where I am today by having faith in Christ and through hard work and dedication to myself and my family. Navigating the corporate world as a Black woman without a college degree, but with an idea or an opinion was never easy for me. There was always going to be pushback or someone thinking that you did not deserve a seat at the table. However, even though that was often the case, I had a plan in place. That plan was to always stay close to God and true to myself. Those two things were the key to my success. I remember in 2006 or ‘2007, being told by my manager that no matter how hard I worked, I would never become a leader or receive a promotion because I did not have a college degree at the time. While the statement crushed me for a moment, it also lit a fire under me and gave me the motivation to complete my degree no matter how much adversary I encountered. At that moment, I made up my mind that I would never be overlooked for a promotion due to NOT having a college degree. If there were to be a reason that certainly would not, be it. Aside from that, it was important to me that my children saw me complete a major goal that I had set. Lessons learned…WOW, there are so many. However, there are three main lessons that I can say I’ve learned along the way a.) is to be observant, b.) form a team of allies, and c.) use your voice. There are two things that I want the world to know about me. As a business owner, Black female entrepreneur, and corporate employee you will never have to guess who I am because I am always going to be my authentic self in which I am extremely proud of. The next thing is that I am always going to be the loudest voice in my head saying, “Yes, I can!”

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend were to visit the area the first place that I would take her would be Sim’s Barbecue on Broadway. Sim’s is a Black family-owned restaurant that serves up the best barbecue in Little Rock. They have been around for as long as I can remember. Sim’s is one of those restaurants that you MUST visit if you come to Little Rock. It is a part of the culture. Our next stop would more than likely be the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. We would visit here because it provides visitors with a lesson on Black History in Arkansas. I remember my parents consistently talking about the Black businesses & shops that were on 9th Street, where Mosaic Templars currently stands, in the ‘50’s & ‘60’s. Mosaic Templars really help bring life to those stories and provides a glimpse into the life & legacy of Black Arkansans. Next on our list would be the Pyramid Art Gallery. Pyramid Art Gallery is another place to visit that is rich in Black Culture. There is so much to see, and a plethora of books written by Black authors. All right, so for the culture, our next stop would be none other than Central High School. Most people have heard the story of the Little Rock Nine. If not, let me sum it up for you, it is the story of nine Black students who integrated Central High School in 1957. It is a story of hope, triumph, and the courage to stand.

The Rivermarket District is a wonderful place to visit. It consists of various businesses, eateries, distilleries, clubs for nightlife, along with specialty food & clothing shops. One of the attractions is the METRO Streetcar (our trolley system). The trolley connects Little Rock & North Little Rock, which allows for a view of the Arkansas River, the Rivermarket as well as the Argenta district which is considered historic. The Rivermarket is also home to the Clinton Presidential Park, it encompasses the Clinton Library which is a must see!

For a good workout I would take my friend to one of the coolest fitness spots ever. That would be Straightright Boxing & Fitness. We would get in a hardcore total body fitness class coupled with boxing. After that, we would take a nice, scenic walk at Two Rivers Park. Do you wonder why it is called Two River’s Park? Well, here is where the Arkansas River & Little Maumelle Rivers join. I enjoy Two Rivers because it is a nature walk and a place where you can engage in mindless conversation and simply enjoy being outdoors.

Little Rock has so many hidden gems. It is an amazing place to visit. It is scenic, with an abundance of restaurants, places to have fun and be entertained. For the record, here are a few other places that I would take a visiting friend:

• Robinson Auditorium (Concert or Play)
• SOMA District (Unique Shopping & Farmer’s Market)
• Pinnacle Mountain State Park
• Walker’s Restaurant (Soul Food Meal)
• Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh yes, for sure! I must thank my hubby first, for his love, support, patience & encouragement. I remember sharing my vision with him and his response was, “Go for it…you got it & you will do GREAT things!” Next on my list would be my children, Keenan (my voice of reason-he always sees the glass half full), Kiara (my revisor-she’s always going to tell me how I should do this or that, she’s a tough cookie) & Jaelyn (my mindset manager-she challenges me to breathe, extend myself grace and protect my peace). They are my heartbeats. They never let me forget how great a mom they think I am…LOL!! Consistently challenging me to chase my dreams. Oh & I dare not leave out Coach Jae (J. Nicole Solutions) The DOPEST Brand Coach! Whew, there is so much that I could say about Coach Jae. Coach Jae has been an amazingly talented prayer partner, mentor/coach, friend, sister, and so much more to me throughout this journey. When she speaks over your life you better get ready for an upward shift to happen. 2019 was the year she spoke my business into existence.

Website: https://www.emboldenedabetteryou.com/

Instagram: @coachsonyalynn

Linkedin: Sonya Cole, MS Leadership

Facebook: Coach Sonya Lynn

Linktr.ee: https://linktr.ee/coachsonyalynn

Image Credits
Cori Created Media-Dacori Mcgee-Murphy

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.