Ava Brown is an author and mother of two children, 16-year-old Chardonae Elizabeth and 3-year-old Mikhel Kai. As well as her focus on the writing, she also works tirelessly as a speaker, coach, and trainer.
The Jamaican born author’s book ‘Bamboo & Fern’, recounts her story of growing up in one of the poorest areas of Jamaica, going from a ‘country girl to a corporate queen’ from selling mangoes to an MBA and finding global success.
Bamboo & Fern is now sold in 30 countries since being published in August 2014 and Ava is currently working on part two of her autobiography titled ‘Indomitable Spirit’ as well as a collection of very personal blogs- ‘Dialogue with Ava Brown’, both out this year.
Describe a typical day for you?
Ever since I started seriously editing my book after being featured in The Financial Times in March, life has taken on a new norm. My days differ hugely.
I am the last one to get into bed and the first one to be up buzzing around each morning. I work best when it’s quiet and being a mother of two children of different ages (one almost 17 and the other 3), it can be difficult meeting their individual needs coupled with my schedule.
Life has gotten a bit more hectic than normal recently and so I am trying to recall what normal felt like.
No two days are the same, so it depends on what is on my agenda i.e. if I am working from home I am sometimes up as early as 5am (I get so much more done when my 3 year old is sleeping). I also believe the saying ‘the early bird catches the worm’. My creative side is at its optimum at that time. What I accomplish in two hours early in the morning, would be much harder after 9am.
The day generally stars with dropping my son off at nursery for 8am and then I dash off to a meeting, a speaking engagement or settle back into my home office.
Here, I could do anything from a meeting on Skype, catch up on my much needed writing for any of my two books that I’m currently writing, or developing products for my coaching , planning a workshop or speaking engagements.
I don’t like the hassle of the city especially in peak times so I do try to have most of my meetings via Skype as its saves my energy and I get more out of my day that way.
I do most of the cooking at home and try my best to always opt for balanced meals except for the regular Jamaican treats like fried plantain, curries, or fried dumplings with Ackee and Salt fish.
We always try to eat as a family as mealtime is when we all catch up. Here I get the real scoop of what’s going on in my teenager’s life at college, friends etc., my toddler shares his antics from nursery and we all just relax and share the love of how much we’ve missed each other during the day.
I would love to be in bed by 11 pm but this is rarely achieved, evenings are when I answer my fan mail and yes I actually do, catch up on social media , my emails, and plan, that’s if I don’t have a webinar, meeting or caching session.
My toddler is in bed by 8pm, my teenager is a bit more like most and it’s a struggle to get her off her iPad or snap chat, but there is a rule of no TV’s in the bedrooms at the moment.
…I find listening to Afrobeat music very calming so it’s my new therapy at the moment and winter evening walks with my son , he loves going for late evening walks.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Since the launch of my book, I have had quite a few, from being featured on Jamaicans most watched and prestigious TV show ‘Profile’ to the Financial Times, however, I have three great achievements that truly mean the world to me namely: being a mom, graduating with an MBA (considering my background), but also finishing my book and actually seeing it in people’s hands, on the shelves and thankfully, the reviews which have been priceless.
From the list, being mom and my book are my proudest achievements. My kids mean everything to me. They are the reason I work so hard, I want them to have a better life than I had growing up.
What’s in your handbag?
I always carry large handbags, except on the occasions when I need an evening bag. As a mother there is always wipes, my diary, my tablet, my book of course, sunshades, business cards and a pencil case. There will be mints, and my purse always has a cheque I have written to myself for £600,000 that I hope to cash in one day soon.
Something I’ve practiced ever since I read The Secret.
What are your ambitions in life?
Finding the right balance is a struggle. I am continuously searching for a better balance. I love my children unconditionally and strive to leave a better legacy for them than I had-sometimes finding a middle point is challenging though.
I’ve had a number of jobs, some I liked better than others, but I am totally fired up and excited about working for Ava Brown, all my passion is there.
Ideally, I want everyone who comes into contact with my work be it my books, talks or workshops to be inspired and motivated to make their lives better.
Understanding that the only person that can stand in their way is them. I also intend to have my own TV programme one day as I think I have a message that needs to be communicated to a wider audience.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
With a successful business and being a household name, my daughter just finishing university and hopefully doing something she enjoys and my son in his last few years of primary education.
I would love to have built, with the help of donators, a safe home in Jamaica, for children who suffer sexual and other forms of abuse, like I did.
What advice would you give your pre-baby self that you now know having had a child?
I have been an overprotective mum until recently, most of that derived from my own experiences, so I wanted to protect my kids all the day every hour. It’s been a jolt , but I’ve realised that kids are more resilient than we give them credit for- just let them know how much you love them and be there to support and care for them at each stage of their journey. No two children’s journeys are the same.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field?
Start writing, get your ideas on paper regardless of how silly you may think it sounds, there is a story in all of us and you are the best person to tell it.
There is an audience waiting to hear from you, but if it’s not written, how will they hear your voice and understand your message?
Don’t be deflated if no one believes in your dream, the only supporter you need is you and don’t be afraid of criticism and rejection, just keep going, the right link will be made at the correct time to believe, support and elevate you.
Finally, what is happiness…not having to worry about the bills, being content and able to spend much more time with my kids, family and close friends. A home in Ireland on a farm with a brook too, where I can just write.
Ava is currently working on a new book ‘Dialogue With Ava Brown’ out in 2015, a combination of her blog posts and quotes from Bamboo & Fern as well as the second part of her autobiography ‘Indomitable Spirit’ which is due out autumn 2015.
Ava has also launched her coaching and mentoring programme is partaking in more speaking engagements. Her book is on the WHSmith and Waterstones’ websites in Europe as well as Amazon, North America Barnes & Nobles and autographed copies are available on www.avabrow.org where her other services are outlined.