Welcome to another edition of #SummerSearcherMade -- a blog series to lift up our Summer Search students and alumni who are business-owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and creatives!
KishaLynn Moore Elliott: Author, Healer, & Entre-Professional
KishaLynn Moore Elliott is an author, speaker, restorative trainer, certified life coach, as well as an activist for racial justice, LGBT equality, and education reform. She likes to think of herself as an entre-professional, a term that reflects her entrepreneurial endeavors, while maintaining full-time, professional roles.
And KishaLynn's pursuits are plentiful and impactful.
She has spoken at countless conferences and events, including several Summer Search Alumni Summits and most recently, our Beyond Limits career advice panel.
She is currently the VP of Operations and Evaluations at the Monarch School in San Diego, a school dedicated to nurturing resilience in unhoused youth and their families so they can thrive in school and in life.
Over the last year and a half, in response to the multiple pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, KishaLynn channeled the heartache and tragedy into action.
"I shifted my focus on healing and restorative practices. I'm a deep believer of being in community. As much as I need to activate, agitate, and disrupt oppressive systems, I also need to advocate to heal myself and others from ongoing trauma and pain."
She created #SayTheirNamesLive, a healing ritual and powerful protest for all of the Black people who have been victims of racism and police brutality.
She also co-founded the Black Leadership and Abundance Center (BLAAC), providing training, consulting, and empowering healing services to support the Black community and its allies.
"I have to pull out all stops for my people," KishaLynn explains. "Not just for Black people, but for all my people."
Igniting Her Entrepreneurial Spirit
"I was not an entrepreneur back in 1997-98," KishaLynn reflects, looking back on her days at Dorchester High School in Boston. "I was the only child of a single mom. We had moved all over. I was doing the best I could, making it work for myself."
When she joined Summer Search Boston, she was paired with Jay Jacobs as her first mentor. While unsure at first, KishaLynn's relationship with Jay became one of a few truly impactful mentoring relationships in her life.
"As a mentor his job was to help me access my potential to carve my own path in the world, and to hold me accountable for walking on it. Jay’s tender-tough love helped me mature that summer, and grow in ways that I needed. These days we joke about being 'frenemies,' but I take deep pride in claiming Jay as my Summer Search mentor."
In those early days at Summer Search, our programming didn't extend beyond high school. Over the years, thanks to input from our alumni community, we developed better ways of supporting and engaging with Summer Searchers in their post-secondary and professional lives.
"It feels like my real Summer Search journey started as an alum," KishaLynn says.
"My Summer Search experience was 20 years ago. There's not much about my trip that lingers, what lingers with me are the relationships, and what lingers with me is the vision that Summer Search has for creating change, starting with the people that maybe have lowered expectations because of their circumstances."
KishaLynn was part of the first Summer Search alumni survey, she and fellow alum Cazzie Palacios Brown co-founded our first SoCal Alumni Chapter in 2007, and spoke at our first Alumni Summit in 2008.
"That first Alumni Summit is where my entrepreneurial spirit was birthed. I was an aspiring author, I wanted to coach people, I wanted to help people. Jay suggested that I speak. So, Summer Search was my first stage... Three years after the Alumni Summit, I quit my day job, published my first book, and started my coaching business."
From that Alumni Summit stage in San Francisco, to Philadelphia, to San Diego, to a virtual webinar near you, KishaLynn uses her talents and entrepreneurial spirit to create safe spaces for healing, collaboration, and leadership within her community.
Thank you, KishaLynn for all that you do. We're grateful to be part of your orbit.
Stay tuned for more #SummerSearcherMade stories.