We’re excited to introduce you to Marisa Renee Lee in our newest editorial series, Business is Booming. Marisa is a writer, speaker, mother, and entrepreneur. She is the CEO of the social impact consulting firm Beacon Advisors, co-founder of Supportal, and founder of The Pink Agenda. Oh, and as of a few hours ago, she's also a published author of Amazon's Editors' Pick, Grief is Love: Living With Loss.
Latest business venture?
The newest business venture is all things grief, resilience, and mental health. Today, we launched Grief Is Love. My hope long-term is to shift my strategy and consulting work and also my speaking and writing work into the grief space.
What was your first job?
My very, very first job, I started a babysitting business with my best friend when I was in fifth grade. The Baby-Sitters Club books series was a huge inspiration for lots of girls back then. [My friend and I] designed fliers and my dad drove us around and we put them in people's mailboxes and on their cars, and we actually got a decent amount of business for two fifth graders.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration from my mom. [Grief Is Love] is not a typical memoir, but it is very much inspired by her life and the things that I learned from her and what I've learned since her death about how to live with loss. I gained a lot of inspiration from my mom and also just from my amazing family members and friend. My husband spent over a year on the frontlines of the pandemic and is now a stay-at-home dad, which is super inspiring and important. I have other friends who are doing just phenomenal work all around the world-- entrepreneurs, lawyers, physicians, etc. So I am regularly inspired by the folks in my inner circle.
Who in your industry do you admire most?
One of the challenges with the grief space is that it's very white. I'm racking my brain trying to think of someone in the mental health/grief space who is a person of color, and I'm struggling, which says a lot. Vivian Nunez. She's someone who I find inspiring. She's a young LatinX woman who lost both her mother and her grandmother in pretty rapid succession when she was fairly young. She's been kind of navigating life on her own for a really long time and talks about it in a way that I think is really lovely, authentic, and honest. Alex Elle is also amazing.
How do you celebrate success?
I celebrate most things with copious amounts of food. All celebrations need to involve lots and lots of food.
Pump up song?
What career would you want in your next life?
When I was a kid, I really wanted to be an actress. I loved being up on stage and temporarily being someone else for a couple of hours.
What are you reading right now?
What makes you feel optimistic?
My son. And kids everywhere. I feel like young people right now, particularly some protest actions we're seeing young people take in Florida and Texas in response to all of the ridiculous and hateful and terrible transgender legislation...all of these kids, just give me a lot of hope.
What's the best life advice you've ever received?
The best recent life advice that I've ever received was, that someone told me when we adopted our son that I died and was now a new person, and at the time I thought it was really dramatic. But when you take on these identifying things like becoming a mother or frankly losing a parent, you are not the same on the other side. There is a transformation that happens to your identity. It was really helpful to have somebody say that so that when I have moments where I'm struggling, it's like, "Oh yeah, I'm struggling because this is all totally different and I am a different person trying to figure out how to navigate the situation." And also, my mother when I was a kid, over and over again, it was do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat people right and you will be OK. I continue to live by that.