ShaVonda Williams’ life changed in an instant on June 3, 2005, when her cousin died in an auto accident, leaving ShaVonda, who already had four children of her own, with custody of her cousin’s three children, instantly putting her in charge of seven children. She stayed strong for her family during her time of grief but found herself reaching out to groups to help heal and coming up short. She took matters into her own hands and created her own group that welcomed anyone who ever felt grief, mistreated or overlooked; she wanted another set of eyes and ears to help her “get out of her own head.” That group grew organically and, eventually, ShaVonda started a nonprofit group, Socialite Society, as a platform for this community of people she had joined together. As a yearly fundraiser, Socialite Society hosts a fashion show called Curves for a Cause, which includes women from all over Louisville as models. Her initial mission of “just loving on people” to help her own grief has translated into a community wide empowerment of people from all walks of life. Today, we’re thrilled to introduce her as our FACE of Louisville!
Your story is very inspiring. How did you start Socialite Society and why?
It started after suffering a tragic turn of events in my life. We lost our loved one — my cousin — who had three daughters and merged our family from four children to seven. We then lost our home, our savings and family business. Only after this is when I decided to release the strife of pity, self-punishment of disappointment and the fear of failure. I wanted to enjoy the present moment of life and no longer wallow in the regrets of the past and the uncertainty of the future. It became a burning desire to make it a priority to be at peace and happy and to help people do the same. From that awakening, Socialite Society was born. We are here to break social disconnection and promote peaceful unity in our communities in any social gathering.
Who can be involved in Socialite Society?
It’s a community effort to stand against social disconnection and it takes all of us to do so. We are better together than we are apart and when we connect in a positive and productive way, amazing things happen. Anyone interested in being involved in any Socialite Society activity is more than welcome to do so. Our goal is to teach our children to become productive, healthy citizens in our community and to help each other to stay engaged and encouraged.
Tell us about Curves for a Cause.
Curves for a Cause was a mere idea I had to simply bring the everyday women from the community and dress them in the latest fashions from local vendors, mainly plus size. Once my vision came to life, it became more than that to me. It not only became a women empowerment movement but a powerful community involvement. It is our mission through Curves for a Cause to empower, uplift and celebrate women of all sizes, colors, backgrounds and ages, as well as promote community unity through the promotion of shopping local and collaboration of a variety of talents throughout the community. We feel it takes all of us to make a beautiful impact!
What are the biggest challenges with your job? The biggest achievements?
The biggest challenges with my job are juggling the responsibilities of working, raising a family and (finding) time for myself. It can be demanding at times but with a little planning and prioritizing it always seems to work out.
My biggest achievement is building a solid team that I can count on and share my vision and ideas with to bring to reality. My other achievement is raising a loving family with my high school sweetheart and winning a tough fight against depression and losing close to 100 pounds.
What is one piece of advice you can give young girls about their self-esteem and confidence?
Confidence and self-esteem is a state of mind. You are what you think you are. No one else’s opinion matters over your own.
The recipe of confidence and self-esteem starts in your mind. So in your mind, carry around a mental picture of yourself as the best person you desire to be. Never let go of that picture, appreciating everything about you and your uniqueness. Then act out those things — and that vision of the greatness will become reality!
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
My typical day is waking up at 5 a.m. to pray and meditate. There is something about the stillness in the morning that is calming, soothing and rejuvenating. After 20 minutes of prayer and meditation, I read something or listen to something inspirational, as this always helps to set a tone to the day. I get the family up, get dressed and start my day with work or appointments. I then stop my day at 5 p.m. (or 7 p.m. if I am teaching Zumba that day), go home to my family to have movie or game night, say my goodnights to my babies, spend some quiet time with my hubby — and end my day with prayer.
What advice do you treasure?
I can change my life by changing my perspective because how I see things becomes my reality. I have to learn to be my own rescuer because I am who I am and where I am because of my own thoughts, and how I see myself and the world around me. So I have to learn to respond to life with grace, creating peace within no matter the circumstance. I have to transfer my thoughts from fear to faith!
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my __________.
Mastermind notebook, my headphones and my smile!
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
I love Louisville, and I was born and raised here, so you will see me in almost every part of town! I mainly hang at the malls with my teenagers or (at) Barnes & Noble. I also love to walk the Hiking trail at Anchorage Park or take pictures at the Papa John’s Corporate Campus. I love my town and love doing things all around!
Are you a night owl or early bird? What do you do during that quiet time?
I am definitely an early bird. I love to wake up before everyone and sit still. I love to allow my mind to relax and release the previous day. I give all my gratitude for a new day and allow my creativity to come to life. I give myself the time to regroup, recharge and, most importantly, relax!
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Lightning round! Give us your:
- Candy or junk food splurge: Favorite candy is Swedish Fish and junk food splurge is Thornton’s lemonade freeze with Grippos chips
- Guilty pleasure song: My guilty pleasure songs are “You Give Good Love” by Whitney Houston, “Part II On The Run” by Jay Z featuring Beyoncé, and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Tank
- Tearjerker movie pick: The Pursuit of Happyness, Beaches, Steel Magnolias and The Notebook
- Standby nail polish color: OPI color called Espresso Your Style. It’s a very deep and rich brown.
- Favorite cocktail: I don’t drink much but when I do have a cocktail (or two) I love Planter’s Punch, which is a rum-based cocktail.
- Cartoon alter-ego: SpongeBob. He takes life on with a smile and cheery attitude!
What are three of your favorite things right now besides faith, family and friends?
Besides God first, my family and my team, I would have to say my most favorite things are meditation, my nonprofit and my journal.
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