Meet the Panelist: Elona Washington

STMS: What do you do for a living?

Elona: I graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s in African American Studies and got my first job out of college as a marketing coordinator. Not only did I love it, but I also had a knack for it. I stayed in corporate marketing on and off for almost 20 years. A few years ago, I returned to school to receive a Master’s in marketing management. Today, I am a marketing communications specialist for a manufacturing company.

STMS: Why were you inspired to write your first book?

Elona: I always wanted to be a writer but like most people, I put it off thinking success and fortune came from working in corporate America. But as I began to heal from childhood emotional and sexual abuse, I got a newfound courage. Not only did I want to tell my side of the story, but I wanted other adult survivors to realize it wasn’t their fault and urge them to begin the healing process.

I continued to procrastinate. After my divorce, I started writing but did so sparingly. I focused more on my job thinking I could speak and write whenever I felt. I was wakened from that thinking when I was laid off and struggling to make ends meet. It motivated me to finish and publish my first book, From Ivy League To Stripper Life, and even though it became an Amazon best seller, it was still an afterthought. I wanted that good job so I could speak on special occasions only. After a year of unemployment, I fell in love with writing again and dedicated myself to it. Shortly thereafter, I got an interview for the job I currently have. But now instead of putting the corporate job first, writing and calling are now my priority.

STMS: What struggles have you overcome in life?

Elona: My entire life has been a struggle. I lost my virginity at age 5 to a much older cousin. He spent years sexually abusing me and shaming me for it. When I finally left my grandmothers house to live with my mom, I was raped by the boys in my new neighborhood. They too made me feel like it was my fault and when the adults heard what they were doing to me, they subsequently labeled me a freak and a ho. I carried that title with me through my youth and teen years. My parents heard and of my behavior and I got in trouble quite a bit. But they victim blamed me as well. Growing up with no self worth, I made choices in my life from a place of pain, increasing the struggles in my life.

STMS: What organizations or companies do you volunteer with?

Elona: Volunteer: I have volunteered as a speaker for a number of organizations. I am a member of RAINN’s speakers bureau. They are the premier non profit battling for policies and training for the prevention and protection for all sexual assault victims.

STMS: What current projects or events should people be watching for from you?

Elona: I’m currently ghostwriting a book for a client who was my mentor during my days as an exotic dancer. She’s also producing a reality tv show so watch out for both projects.I just completed an anthology titled “How Divorce Became My Deliverance” and will be following it up with a discussion panel on black love and divorce to be held spring 2018.I will write another book sometime next year and host a series of memoir writing workshops for men and women who are ready to own their shit and take back their lives. I will be offering a memoir writing workshop in the next few months.

STMS: How many books have you written, are you in the process of writing another?

Elona: : I’ve participated in 2 anthologies before publishing my memoir. I just published an anthology in September so that’s 4 books total. My fifth will be the one I’m currently ghostwriting.

Meet Elona and learn more about her story on December 9, 2017 at the Strength Over Adversity Panel Discussion. Grab your tickets today. Early bird tickets are only $20 until next week.

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