How A Career Breakdown Led To Social Media Doctor Lauren Elise's Breakthrough

When you're the boss, the only one who can stop your hustle is you.


When you're standing at the edge of a cliff, staring down into a valley at the ground that will not so gracefully catch you if you fail, the last thing you may want to do is jump. But if you're someone who's been struggling to take a leap of faith, don't sweat it, sis. In fact, some of your biggest blessings can come from being unwillingly pushed into your power.

Meet Dr. Lauren Elise, an Atlanta-based entrepreneur who can bump Gucci Mane in the streets and code switch like a mug in a Monday morning boardroom meeting.

The Set-Up

Shot by @quturemedia

After earning her bachelor's from Middle Tennessee State University, her master's from Belmont, and her doctorate from Argosy Atlanta, Lauren is one social media doctor with credentials, and you should put some respect on all three of them. She told xoNecole, "No matter if I do have a doctorate degree, I still can rap Gucci Mane lyrics. I still stay true to myself and I think a lot of times people are drawn into authenticity and that they're also drawn into a little bit of transparency."

In the past, Lauren says that she never really had an entrepreneur's mindset, but today she spends most of her time putting other budding CEOs on game with her consulting business, The Social Media Doctor, running her non-profit organization Adjust Your Crown Mentoring, and getting flewed out to a number of paid speaking engagements around the country. So far, she's secured partnerships with Micheal Kors, and given away a number of scholarships to women in need, and according to Lauren, she's just getting started.

While this 32-year-old CEO may be killing the entrepreneurial game now, things weren't always this way. In 2016, less than four years after moving to Atlanta to forge a new career path, Lauren was hit with a major bombshell that would permanently alter the trajectory of her future. In a shocking announcement from her employer of four years, she learned that she would now be forced to look for a new place of work.

The Breakdown

The news sent the multimedia maven's life into a tailspin and although the company had given her a hefty severance package upon her dismissal, Lauren was still left without the security and stability that was previously offered by her 9 to 5.

Along with dealing with the emotional weight of being hundreds of miles away from home, Lauren also had to consider the residual effect that her latest career transition would have on her financial obligations. She explained, "I have a whole mortgage. I bought a house in 2014, so I was just like whoa. That was a big shocker, to go from having a job for four years to them saying, 'Oh, here are the options to get severance.' And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up."

Feeling alone in a new city and lost without her former professional title, Lauren felt as though her sky was falling and there was nothing that she could do to stop it. "I was so distraught, like, oh my goodness, what am I gonna do? I didn't even want to leave the house."

Soon after, Lauren found work at a significantly smaller company where she continued to polish her skills in social media management, but still didn't quite feel fulfilled. In 2018, the one-day entrepreneur caught a serious case of deja vu when, for a second time, she was let go from her job and tasked with starting a new career journey from scratch. But two years later, hearing that news hit different for the would-be entrepreneur because this time around, she had a secret weapon: insight.

The Breakthrough

Shot by @quturemedia

Throughout her experience, the business owner said that there is one quote that has proven to be law: "'Sometimes God gives you the same test because you didn't pass the first time.' I saw it on my timeline three times and it was like, that's my sign. I literally didn't pass the first time, here's another opportunity. That time around honey, I didn't stress."

Even though her severance package was non-existent and her plan was even more unplanned than the first time she was let go, Lauren said that since she had already started her own business a year prior, her vision was clearer than ever before. "In my mind, I was already ready to go because it wasn't what it was in the beginning. It changed. It wasn't fun. It was stressful. It was hostile. So when that happened it was like, 'Oh, thank you.'"

It was then that Lauren decided to become the master of her destiny and took on the task of running The Social Media Doctor full-time because when you're the boss, the only one who can stop your hustle is you.

"It basically just changed my mindset on businesses and how they operate. Like they have the last say so. They can make whatever decision, and you just have to accept it. You can't get so bent out of shape because that was your time ending there."

Lessons Learned

Like any toxic relationship, failed career decisions don't always start out that way. When your part-time hustle that was meant to fund your dreams turns into a full-time burden that can only pay the bills, it's easy to forget that you deserve better.

Sometimes it takes God pushing us out of a situation to realize that we were never meant to be there in the first place, and in Lauren's mind, being laid off was one of the best things that could have happened to her because it was the first real step into the destiny she deserves.

"Some people are forced into some of their blessings because they probably didn't want to willingly do it. But if you don't, you'll eventually be forced. Inevitably, you're going to go willingly or you are going to be pushed."

There's nobody who can do you, like you, and Lauren is a testament of the glory that comes when you capitalize on your weakest moments instead of criticizing yourself for them.

Learn more about Lauren and her clever endeavors by following her on Instagram @dr.laurenelise and get your social media all the way together @TheSocialMediaDr!

Featured image by @lavishpixels.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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