The Founder of Brilliant Girl and Black Girlz Productions, Shaneisha Dodson is no stranger to hard work as an award-winning playwright and entrepreneur. She’s earned a BA in psychology from Grambling State University, MA in counseling from Dallas Baptist University, an Ed.S in education from Walden University, and a certificate in women entrepreneurship from Cornell University. She has also completed the self-made entrepreneurship program.
In addition, her work has been presented at the Playwrights Playground at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Inkwell Theatre, Soundscape theater, HBMG Foundation, and Logan Theatre. Her children’s play Dog, Cat & The Red Bird and Humans Are Weird are published in Drama Notebook. Her play Tired is published in the 8:20 monologue collection for New World Theatre.
In 2017, her one-act play Vagina Rights opened off-Broadway at the Strawberry one-act Festival and won the best theatrical presentation.
In 2019, she curated a Love Letters to the Black Man event that received recognition from the Mayor of Houston, TX.
In 2021, Dodson found the Brilliant Girl. She created the first ever 18-inch black superhero doll, Sugamama.
Please enjoy our interview as we dive into the inspiration behind the brand, work-life balance, self-care, and more.
What was the inspiration behind your brand?
Shaneisha: The inspiration behind my brand is my niece who I nicknamed Sugamama. She has always loved a good bedtime story. Therefore, I wrote my first children’s book The Adventures of Sugamama and founded my company Brilliant Girl.
Congratulations on your films having received recognition from Senator Comrie of New York. What can you share with us about your film journey?
Shaneisha: In 2012, I took my love of the arts to the next level and founded Black Girlz Productions, LLC. The company’s motto is “Dream BIG or go Home!” My goal is to bring awareness to social issues through theatre.
What has been your goal since you founded Brilliant Girl in 2021?
Shaneisha: The goal of Brilliant Girlis to bring more representation into the toy industry. In 2022, I donated over 90 dolls to children in need. I plan to increase this number in 2023.
Do you believe in work-life balance? If so how do you maintain it?
Shaneisha: Yes, I believe in work-life balance. I maintain it by giving myself limits on how much time I will spend on certain tasks.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Shaneisha: I enjoy dancing and spending time with my loved ones.
How important is self-care for entrepreneurs?
Shaneisha: Self-care should be at the top of every entrepreneur’s list. Sometimes when you work for yourself, you can keep going and going until your body crashes. Without self-care, you can’t be your best self.
What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
Shaneisha: My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is being able to set my own boundaries and being able to chase my dreams without asking for permission.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Shaneisha: My advice is to do your due diligence by researching and praying before you work with anyone. This will save you time and money. Also, learn how to operate every aspect of your business.
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