For this edition of She Hustles Talks, we have marriage and relationship expert, author, national speaker, and so much more. The true queen of hustle, and now our very own She Hustles cover woman!
We were so excited to be able to speak with this powerhouse woman entrepreneur and bring you just a little bit about her journey. I am sure you will be as intriqued as I was, and can’t wait to read her books, and talk to her more!
I am a native of Philadelphia born and raised. My parents met while in H.S. I was the firstborn daughter to my parents and grandparents and was the only girl for seven years before my mom’s youngest sister had her first child, a little girl. I was raised with a strong Christian background. My great-grandmother was the matriarch of the family and a well-respected woman in her church and community. My grandfather is a bishop and at age 90 is still preaching the Gospel and doing well. Granddad is the Patriarch of our family, he is well revered in our family, the church, and the community.
I received my Doctorate in Business Administration and Business & Leadership Coach Certification from TIUA 2022. Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarian 2019. I am currently attending Grand Canyon University to complete a degree in Psychology which has always been my dream. I am a Certified Counselor and Life Coach in Relationship & Marriage Crisis. Certified Suicide prevention specialist. I have been a Licensed and Ordained Evangelist since 2005. I graduated summa cum laude in high school and spoke the graduating commencement speech which is something I will always be proud of.
I have been married to my best friend Dr. Richard Serrano whom I met in my senior year of High School and married two years later. We are a blended family and have one daughter Brande Serrano. However, we have contributed to raising a family of three girls and one boy. We recently celebrated 33 years in marriage and 35 years together in Hawaii where we renewed our vows. It was the most beautiful ceremony in Kona on the biggest island of Hawaii. We reaffirmed our marriage covenant to one another and the journey forever continues.
I along with my husband recently was appointed United Nations Ambassadors for Peace in DUBAI UAE and received the LIFETIME Achievement Award Gold recipient from current President Joe Biden 2021 & 2022 for our 30-years service to couples and families in crisis.
I love mentoring and have served with Big Brothers Big Sisters and mentored 3 young ladies over several years who I keep in touch with and are graduates and serving their communities. I was an adviser mentor for K.I.S.H Home, Inc an organization that helps women who aged out of foster care. I am big on networking and collaborating with other women and organizations to support families. I am the go-to in my family and circles for many things such as event planning, advice, prayer, etc. I love to cook and I love people. My greatest and most precious title is that of a servant.
I followed my dreams. My life’s work of serving my family first, church, and community. It gives me joy. I worked very hard and with discipline, planning, and many sacrifices I have achieved all the above. I have a huge love for people. Many years ago I realized I had a gift for seeing others reach their full potential. I’ve always been good at writing and speaking and I find that people really enjoy listening to me whether I am speaking at a conference, ministering the word of God in church, giving advice, conversation in the ladies’ room, or sharing a personal story. People seemed inspired and uplifted and wanted to take action. Then I knew these abilities needed nurturing and I didn’t want to be a jack of all trades and master of none so, I decided to continue my education. It was necessary to perfect some of those gifts thereby allowing me to make a bigger impact when helping others and speaking. I took all the necessary classes and courses to achieve most of the above; some came from life’s experiences and honor.
What makes you hustle?
Our children are our future. How I show up now matters not only for me now but for then later. Tomorrow’s not promised and I believe in making the best use of the time I have today. It is important to live in the present. My husband and his confidence in me and my abilities, and my family motivate me along with my desire to live out my God-given potential and purpose and leave a legacy that will serve far beyond my years and without regrets. I want to leave this world empty, knowing I served well according to the plans God set for me, knowing I gave everything I was supposed to and lived every moment to its fullest.
What does it mean to be the U.S. National Ambassador Queen 2021-2022 at Woman of Achievement?
It means I get to represent my passion for marriages and families in crisis while traveling and sharing this wonderful woman entrepreneur-focused organization. Woman of Achievement is about living beyond age, body type, and limits and showing up, representing what you love and your passion. WOA is under the leadership of an amazing woman and visionary Dr. Marlena Martin. Through this pageant, I have gained wonderful friends and a sisterhood that will last a lifetime. It is an honor to know I am serving such an organization.
What is the mission behind your “brand”?
To be the one, to encourage, uplift, and inspire others to be more and show up for themselves first then others. Remember that nothing is beyond reach. To show women they can RISE UP above the ashes, from trials to triumphs, to encourage couples to live beyond the ups and downs of marriage and know that they are better together, and to inspire our youth to live their dreams and never give up. In that mission, I purpose all I do to be pleasing to the God who created me and give honor to my savior Jesus Christ.
To support couples to achieve balance and stability in life and business through biblical principles and to build more effective communication in their marriage and relationship.
To model the way for the next generation of young women teaching them no matter how hard you fall you must RISE UP and move forward, declaring defeat is not an option.
To build a 72-hour overnight care facility for a couple or family in crisis. A place where couples can receive the necessary urgent care to heal, be restored, find peace, and be provided with the tools needed to rebuild and continue the journey forever. Our Motto is, “Save a Marriage, Save a Community.”
What is Covenant Marriage and Covenant Rescue 911?
Covenant Marriages, Inc. is an organization whereby we conduct counseling, coaching, seminars, conferences, and workshops both virtual and onsite.
Covenant Rescue 911 is the emergency response subsidiary of Covenant Marriages Inc. which I co-founded with my husband, Dr. Richard Serrano. It is a 24 crisis response call center where couples in crises can seek help to find support and balance in their marriage.
Who are some of the strong women that have inspired you?
The women who have inspired me are many. I will start with my mother, Elder Emma Jean Brant who was a superwoman and one of the strongest women I have ever met. My Grandmother the late Emma Lee Jones Montgomery, my aunties, especially my Aunt Louise, a remarkably strong woman who invested in me, my church family mother Winifred Morris, and Lady Dr. Priscilla Felton, my H.S. English teacher Ms. Adelle Bonaparte who also made my prom gown, my grade school teacher Mrs. Hightower, my dance instructor Faye at FLC, my sister’s January Brant and Rose Irby some of the strongest women I know, my late stepmother Patricia Davis, and of course, former first lady Michelle Obama has made an impression on me and many other great women leaders who have helped shape my life whether they know it or not. I was watching them just like I know there are young girls watching you and me. Currently, these three ladies are inspiring me to do more and be my very best. HRH Princess Moradeun Ogunlana, Kearn Crockett Cherry, and Robbie Motter. I am forever grateful to God for planting them in my path.
What do you feel is the key to women empowering other women?
Being Authentic and relatable. Collaborate instead of competing because people truly need people and that is a fact.
What do you feel makes you a women’s empowerment expert?
Life’s journey of trials and triumphs certainly has helped qualify me and being a forever learner and study of biblical principles has taught me that defeat is not an option. RISING UP from the ashes and keep moving forward. I am able to support women and I have a niche for inspiring and equipping women to look beyond their downfalls. It is a gift from God that when I speak women listen so I make sure I am providing them with tools to sustain them and not mere words.
What is one place you have visited that has changed your life and why?
I must say DUBAI this year. I was a guest of Princess Moradeun and I met some of the most amazing women of purpose with kind hearts and warm spirits not coming to be served but will to serve as well. The atmosphere was that of health, wealth, and prosperity. A people that understood people need people and God is to be lifted and though we may have different religious beliefs it was their reverence of God and the love shown one toward another. Their willingness to share with one another and those they had just met. I have not seen that kind of love amongst women to that degree.
What have you found to be the most successful and influential method of promotion for your business?
The study of people and behaviors changing as the needs change and being willing to meet and help people where they are. Outsourcing what’s not within my expertise to ensure each client receives the specialized care needed.
Tell us about some of your goals and dreams for you personally and as a female entrepreneur.
My goals are simply to live this life fully and intentionally as God has laid out for me so that I miss out on nothing that I was purposed to do. To show up and make an impact and be sure I exercise my voice when it’s time to speak. To be the DREAM walking on the earth and leave empty. My goal is to continue to fight for couples and families beyond the closed doors, to walk alongside them and guide them at times they feel all hope is gone and need support.
As a female speaker and entrepreneur, I want to continue to travel and speak around the world to uplift, encourage, inspire and transform lives. Especially speaking to women and letting them know, “you are not alone” and no matter what you encounter along life’s journey, how hard and difficult it may seem or how tragic it was or is, you can make it!
Finally to build Oasis care facilities to support couples and families in crisis. I owe it to myself and the generations that will come behind me to leave this earth empty having fulfilled my life’s purpose and destiny.
You speak on love, confidence, and empowerment. What has proven successful in speaking to other women to motivate them to do the same?
Women are motivated when you are relatable. Sharing my story and my truth lets the next woman know she’s not alone or lets a young lady know she can make it because I was able to rise up and move forward. These are the truths that move people to have hope and motivate them to keep living.
Share one quote that you feel defines you and your vision?
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
How can women navigate power structures in this day and age?
Be willing to be true to yourself and do not be pressured by what others say or the traditions passed down to you or in life that tells us it is for a woman. Be the change you desire unapologetically. Be strong, walk with courage, be confident in who you are, and are willing to do it alone when necessary.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
I search through the pages of the Bible for the best inspiration and it’s always on time and true. My husband is one of my biggest inspirations and my best friend. My pastors have been a huge inspiration in my life and still are. My counselor, who is also my mentor, inspires me tremendously. Watching my mother still working, helping others, and going after her dreams with four earned degrees and now pursuing her Doctorate well that’s inspiring. Lastly, I have a health coach, a career coach, a financial coach, and a speaker mentor. I would not want to be without any of these people in my life.
What is your message to the world?
Know that you are worth it and God loves us more than enough. You are more than a conquer. Never stop believing you can and remember that the struggles are real but all that you need to overcome them you already possess inside. You can make it, defeat is not an option because you were born to WIN.
If you could do one thing you have never done, what would it be and why?
Travel to the four corners of the earth and speak life to those who have given up. It’s a big world and it was meant for us to see it and explore it.
What makes you truly happy?
Knowing I have given my best and seeing others happy.
What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten and would want to pass along to the younger female leaders?
The only limitations are the ones we place there. Believe you can and you will.
What are the most important attributes of successful leaders, men or women today?
Those that fell down but got back up. Knowing that words have power and speaking what you say matters. Good leaders are willing to share their downfalls and uprising to help someone else. Leaders who stop to listen to God because he’s always speaking but we sometimes are too busy moving that we never hear what the instructions are. Those who are patient and anxious for nothing.
What’s the most important risk you took and why?
Leaving a job I was secure in, to go after another company I had always wanted to work with when the opportunity came. I felt it was the right time and although I was let go later I do not regret the experiences I gained which were to lead me to my next.
How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Applying the knowledge you’ve learned, moving forward, never give up.
Where will we see Dr. Serrano next?
One never knows, wherever God leads me and the journey takes me. That could be on a stage, on the radio, in another country, neighborhood, city, or state. That might be on a cruise ship or a college campus, on a hill, by the ocean, on television, in a theatre, at a Gala, or TEDx talk. I really don’t know but I am ready to walk through the doors laid out for me. I rise up from the ashes from trials to triumph. I am a woman who leads building a Legacy and I am destined to win!