It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
First and foremost I would like to thank you for this excellent opportunity. I am Latrea Russ. I am 42 years old, I am originally from Prince George’s County Maryland, and I am a Disabilities Empowerment coach, a motivational speaker, and a published author. I currently reside in Wilmington, North Carolina with my husband and seventeen-year-old daughter. Born with Pfeiffer Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes the bones in the skull and other parts of the body to not fuse properly.
I also have a vision and hearing impairment, and I have had to endure more than 30-45 operations to correct various health problems. Based upon my disability I have always had this desire to help, especially those like me, but I just did not know how I was going to do it. I went to college and got a degree in Psychology. which I would later use but in order to make the impact I really wanted to make I had to go a little further in 2014 I became a licensed Life Coach.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
I have had to overcome many challenges besides my disability – which has nothing to do with how my brain works or my intelligence. My disability is physical.
So, if you don’t look like everyone else then people will automatically assume that you must be dumb or stupid. I was always written off because of my looks. Yet, I’m very intelligent.
Another challenge I had to deal with was growing up in the foster care system. Both of my parents had drug problems so my sister and I were placed in the system. I was 12 and she was four. When I say those were the hardest years of my life, they truly were.
I never knew adults could be so mean to kids. In one of my foster homes, my sister and I had to sit in the car while our foster mother went shopping because she was embarrassed to be seen with me. I was only twelve years old and stuck in a hot car because I had a disability.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
As I stated previously I am a disability empowerment coach, and this role has gone through a number of changes since I started. I am happy to say I have found my niche. I work with parents of children with disabilities as well as young children with disabilities. I have been in the education field for about nineteen years. I have noticed teachers especially in younger grades like pre-K and kindergarten don’t quite understand how to engage a child with a disability in order to make them a part of the larger class society.
On the parent end, there are many parents who are stressed and confused as to what to do with their child who has a disability, and what ends up happening is that the parents don’t have the right resources and help the parent become frustrated and the child ends up hurt or taken away from the parent, I try to help the family before that happens. I feel as though I am better than my competition because not only have I been a child with a disability I am also a parent of a child with a disability. I bring forehand knowledge to the table, real advice that I know works not something I read but something I tried myself and I know works.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success?
My best piece of advice would be don’t be afraid of the process. So many times we don’t get to where we are supposed to be because we are too scared to go through the process. We don’t want to experience everything that is connected to the process, it might be painful or harder, hurtful, or just something we don’t want to do. Is the process supposed to feel good? No it is not or it would not be called a process. It is supposed to be painful and hard some days to make you want to cry and throw everything in the trash can, but that’s all part of the process. Once you come through it you will be much wiser, much stronger, more assured of yourself and your abilities
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
For me, success has nothing to do with material things or how much money you have. Are you living out your God-given purpose, the one that was created specifically for you when you were born? The word success means that I am fulfilling my purpose, I understand and accept what I am called to do here on earth
What’s next for you?
Right now I am in the process of promoting my new book “It’s Not What I Look Like” The book can be purchased on my website. I am also getting ready to start a show on YouTube called “Everyday Life with ADHD.“
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
You can connect with me on all social media platforms: Instagram coachlatrea79
Tick Tok” coachlatea79.speakerlatrea
Facebook treaboo79. coachlatea79