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Building Our Own Table: Erin Corine Johnson
Meet the founder of the #ReparationsRace by Hola Magnolia Identityworks
Hello friends, a couple years ago, I somehow connected with Erin Corine Johnson on LinkedIn. It was mid-pandemic, and after some comments which mutually resonated, we decided to have a call. It was great, and went on far longer than either of us had planned. We found many points of connection, and that’s continued to this day. Last year, Erin launched the Reparations Race, and I wanted to offer a space for her to share her wider vision as this year’s Reparations Race kicks off. Please meet Erin…
Erin, tell me briefly about your background prior to founding Hola Magnolia Identityworks
I am an identity & belonging and creative professional development coach with a background as a performing artist, retail customer care specialist and international community organizer. Hola Magnolia Identityworks is a legacy project that is the culmination of 11 years of intensive music studies, the losing and finding of my sense of self in my Blackness as an immigrant to Europe, and a passion for helping others find their footing as they synthesize the pieces of their identity that define the bigger “why” behind their life’s work, their greatest joy and their greatest desires.
Give me the elevator pitch for Hola Magnolia Identityworks
Hola Magnolia Identityworks is a transnational a social impact company designing coaching, mentorship and cultural exchange opportunities for leaders, creatives and impact innovators.
And in more detail?
Through equity-forward initiatives like The Reparations Race to benefit the global Black Community and funded opportunities for need-based coaching and mentorship like The Seedlings Fund, Hola Magnolia hopes to bridge the coaching and mentorship gap for Black people and other marginalized communities while creating spaces on and offline across the globe that foment a sense of belonging and empowerment.
Hola Magnolia’s mission is focused on cultivating lasting relationships and vast networks from which to draw collaborative partnerships and investment for future multicultural community-centered projects.
What inequity were you trying to redress/address, and why is this important?
I believe wholeheartedly in first and foremost being the teacher, mentor, sister and friend that I needed throughout my teenage years and young adulthood as a growing woman forced into predominantly white spaces. For this reason, I prioritize Black women in my business, and then the diverse Black and Brown communities that we come from.
From there, I structure my initiatives on an equity-centered model that leverages cashflow from high-ticket offers to our multi-cultural client base and donations from seasonal grassroots funding campaigns to provide coaching, mentorship and cultural exchange opportunities to clients from underserved and underrepresented marginalized communities.
How’s it going? What has the response been?
One one hand, the social media growth has been unexpectedly consistent. It's really incredible what can be done when you step out on faith with a commitment to community and collaboration over competition! I'm so fortunate to have a growing network on LinkedIn and beyond that is coming to know what Hola Magnolia as a fledgling business represents.
I'm looking forward to getting over my resistance to leverage my background in sales and customer care to develop even more engaging content, make a solid name for the coaching framework that I offer, and consolidate the Seedlings Reparations Initiative as an reputable fund providing economic support to Black professionals and other Black-led organizations.
Anything interesting happening in the near future? Any goals you're hoping to achieve?
There are a few "semi-secret" projects on deck for the second half of 2023... Which is why I am so focused on building out this network of colleagues and partners that understand the being-based values behind Hola Magnolia's mission of nurturing diverse leaders and building inclusive communities in control of their own stories. We're building multiple streams and multiple outlets to support our clients, community members and partners. I can't wait to tell you all more!
Our main goal this year? INCORPORATION! Forming Hola Magnolia LLC as a multi-national corporation in the US and Spain would open up a wealth of new opportunities for funding, grants and mentorship in both of my home countries. It's a huge step, and we won't be able to do it without financial support. Visit holamagnolia.com/donate to support us in this process!
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
When it comes to anti-racism and social impact work, we have to recognize one important thing:
There is change we will SEE, and there is change we will SEED.
...And part of decolonization is recognizing that each of us, no matter what position we hold within a community, play an important role in our collective fight against systemic oppression.
Change we will SEE is a result of the conscientious, day-to-day acts to work to include, understand and empower those around us to retake control of their own narratives, taking time to embrace and welcome healing, however painful the process.
Change we will SEED is our legacy. It's the words and actions that will both outlive and outlast us. It's the things we may not live to see realize their fullest potential, no matter how pressing or important they may be to us.
Coexisting with abundant possibility and inevitable mortality is uncomfortable. I get it.
It is a deeply triggering and immensely sobering weight to carry as people determined to create a better world for our children and the children of our peers to live in than the one we were given.
But as agents of change beholden to this life of service to our communities in one way or another, this is lifelong internal and external work from which none of us are exempt.
This said, what I wish for those of us working in antiracism is abundance:
Abundance in safe spaces—places AND people—to support healing.
Abundance in resources—money AND access—to support not surviving, but thriving.
Abundance in discretion—inside and out—for navigating a world in which scarcity will tempt us to sacrifice ourselves in service to others.
But most importantly:
Abundance in wisdom—generational and acquired—that empowers us to lead with love in a world that would have us believe that we are not worthy.
Is there anything I haven't asked you that you'd like to add?
The Reparations Race is coming!
The next edition will take place June 19-30, 2023! This round, we're moving 10K IN 10 DAYS into the pockets of Black Founders, CEOs, Businesses and Creators with the theme #BUYBLACKJUNETEENTH!
The Hola Magnolia Seedlings Reparations Initiative will be matching 100% of all verified purchases, donations and funds raised by Black business owners, creatives, artists, published authors, thought leaders and organizers ANYWHERE in the world in the form of mentorship and coaching opportunities through Hola Magnolia Identityworks and our partners.
Guidelines go LIVE on Monday, June 5, 2023!
Visit holamagnolia.com/reparations to learn more and join our mailing list.
Looking to cut a 4 or 5-figure check to support our cause? We can't do this work without you! Let's talk sponsorship and partnership opportunities! Learn more by filling out a contact form at holamagnolia.com/join-us and we'll be in touch within 48 hours.
Let the countdown begin!
Let's BUY BLACK JUNETEENTH!
Thank you, Erin. The phrase “change we will SEE and change we will SEED” will stay with me for a long time. Folx, you can connect with Erin on her website, on LinkedIn, on TikTok, and be sure to check out the Reparations Race.
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© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.
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