I am Serena Rochell Gatlin, a Connecticut native and founder of HER ZONE, INC. A Black woman. Native American. A mother. A career-woman. Smart. Savvy. Advocate. Empowerment-champion. Entrepreneur. A believer in kindness. I was a teen mother and faced many trials but I proudly and successfully raised two Black-Kings who are my pride and joy. HER ZONE, INC. manifested from my personal and professional life journey combating negative experiences, challenges, and stereotypes in society as a woman-of-color. The scarcity of support was painfully obvious and opportunities to excel were minimal or lackluster.
In my early childhood, I was shuffled on-and-off throughout the Foster Care System, which played a significant role in my shattered confidence. I often doubted my self-worth, and capabilities. In fear of embarrassment, or judgment I tucked this part of my life away. Subconsciously I allowed my experiences to dictate my life-quest and buried what authentically would shape my passion and purpose. Every struggle and victory endured, was the authentic navigation of who I am today. Not realizing how my story would profoundly influence and uplift others, I begin to mentor young women in GOODWorks a nonprofit program designed to support young women in recovery and transitioning from the criminal justice system into society. I learned so much about myself through these young women. Their transparency gave me the confidence to authentically open up and appreciate the life lessons that shaped me. I need young women that are/were faced with the challenges I experienced to embrace the society-defined failure(s) as an opportunity to create positive opportunities for themselves and others. Most importantly I need young women to know, I AM HER. SHE IS ME. A GIFT. A TREASURE. UNIQUE. A SUCCESS.
It's vital for young women-of-color to know and understand with positive reinforcement, proper guidance, love, hard work, discipline, and integrity, she can prevail and achieve self-measured success. My mission is dedicated to helping young women recognize HER with a healthy, can-do attitude and to encourage women-of-color to remain AUTHENTIC, AWARE, and AMAZING. My love for advocacy and media is the perfect combination to educate young women to self-champion for their growth while providing the disadvantaged, hope, and the opportunity to obtain marketable skills, that will build courageous leaders and entrepreneurs.
To learn more about me, please continue to follow the passionate work of HER ZONE, INC. You can also sign up to join our diverse and inclusive newsletter HBCU (HER. BLACK. COMMUNITY. UNITED.) Our newsletter will celebrate and spotlight the GREATNESS of our culture and HER achievements.
Serena R. Gatlin, FOUNDHER
To honor and respect the Mission, Vision, Goal and sisterhood of HER ZONE, INC.
To EMPOWHER, to value her, and learn from her
To exude authenticity and confidence as your leader
To be inclusive, build honest friendships and relationships
To take positive risks that will expand and elevate HER personal and professional development
To respect the creative views and opinions of others.
Encourage HER to be the BEST versions of herself- strong, smart, resilient, honest and bold while supporting HER transition from a young woman of today into a future leader of tomorrow.
To have fun
“I believe in miracles. I believe in birthing hope within someone. It has been a pleasure and an honor to see growth in Serena over the years since meeting her in 2008, and to have been a witness to the development of her movement which is of such great importance to young women. Her philosophy, ‘Grow in your soul and not in your role’ is admirable and inspiring to so many, including myself. I have watched Serena transform into a beautiful, strong-willed, and determined young woman and I believe she works for a cause, not for applause.”
- Theresa Goode, Founder, GOODWorks goodworksct.org