Supplier in the Spotlight: Kuumba Health

| By James Gleason

Holistic stress management is a must for any person who keeps a full schedule, particularly entrepreneurs, who often manage every facet of their fledgling business. Sacred Walker of LGBTBE Kuumba Health has dedicated her life to providing resources to manage and minimize stress and with her focus on LGBT people and people of color, she is uniquely positioned to provide solutions and healing for these groups.

Kuumba Health in the Spotlight:

1. What is Kuumba Health?

Kuumba Health LLC is an LGBTBE and NYC/NYS certified minority- and woman-owned small business offering exclusive retreat-style counseling, courses, and training experiences in support of thriving and inspired professionals. Through the lens of stress resilience, we optimally approach personal and professional development counseling and training that fosters cultures of health and well-being. We turn your pain to power to promote measurable result-driven success. Our Masterclass helps inspired leaders do the following:

  1. You will learn how to resiliently overcome the ravages of chronic stress and renew your body, mind, and spirit.
  2. You will learn tools to apply across your life and turn pain into power.
  3. You will build emotional intelligence that honors your health & higher vision of excellence

As a result, you will see and step into your vision clearly, free yourself from the daily stressful grind and a world in crisis, and become a healthier and more self-confident leader that effectively communicates in stressful situations.

2. What were you doing before you founded your business?

After being accepted into Union Theological Seminary, a Columbia University affiliate, I began to study Holistic Psychology and pursue drama therapy. While in the Seminary, I traveled to India to study Ayurveda, Yoga, and Psychology at the Ayurvedic Medical College. While serving orphaned children in Kerala, India and deepening mind-body medicine training, I also studied gender-based violence in my home country of Jamaica. In my final year at the Seminary, I was accepted into a post-graduate residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital Inpatient Women’s Unit, and I was asked by the Head Psychiatrist to facilitate a group to address the hopelessness experienced by everyday working professionals who felt stuck. Today as a national motivational speaker and trainer, I speak at symposiums, conferences, and webinars on preventing stress-related illnesses.

3. How did you get the concept or idea for your business?

Raised in Crown Heights Brooklyn as a first-generation Jamaican immigrant, I lived through the Crown Heights riots and am a survivor of gender-based violence. I witnessed the effects of how discrimination impacted my community and how experiences of discrimination impacted our Caribbean community members’ quality of life. I also saw the effects of mental health issues in families and the positive, lasting impacts that holistic approaches of care had as a complement to mental health and career development in ensuring that those family members found agency and felt held and supported. I began to understand that emotional hurt can have lasting effects on the physical body, impacting personal life and one’s ability to show up fully as a working professional. Coming out deepened that vantage point.

I harnessed a model that specializes in supporting healthier ways of relating to oneself and others, healthy relationship building, and especially with those who have backgrounds of wounded intimacy and childhood sexual abuse, in support of being less harsh on yourself and workplaces that foster cultures of health that are harassment-free. We offer high-quality wraparound wellness services from the comfort of your home a click away or convenience of your workplace on site, by trained Masters and Doctoral Level Professionals.

4. What makes your business stand out when compared to other businesses in your field?

For over 10 years, I have been a holistic mental health practitioner, development trainer, and compassion-led company leader of mind, body, and spirit health specializing in serving couples, adolescents, LGBTQ people, people of African descent, women all along the gender spectrum, immigrants, family units, university students, and organizational & religious leaders of various faiths.

I was a distinguished Fulani Fellow ’16, working alongside Dr. Lenora Fulani on applied research methods of radical leadership and multi-sensory approaches to human growth and development. As a leading holistic mental health clinician & transformative development trainer, I earned my Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) from Union Theological Seminary’s Psychiatry and Religion Program, with a specialization in Holistic Psychology. Additionally, I have advanced drama therapy, sexual ethics, and interfaith chaplaincy training and experience. In parallel, I studied yoga, Ayurveda, and holistic psychology at the Ayurvedic Medical College in Kerala, India. I graduated from numerous business management programs including Small Business Services – FastTrack New Venture, Women’s Initiative, and Workshops in Business Opportunities- Institute for Entrepreneurial Leaders.

Our presence has been acknowledged by numerous prestigious organizations such as Psychology Today, National Black Justice Coalition, The Association of Black Psychologists, Time Inc. TV, National Black Lesbian Conference, The Conscious Consultant, Essence Magazine, NAPW, Many Voices – A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice, & many more.

5. What are your goals for your business? Where do you hope to see your business in one, five, ten years?

My long-term goal is to open a holistic medical center that works to prevent stress-related illnesses and trains diverse groups of rising caring professionals on the benefits of compassionate patient-centered care alongside self-care.

In the shorter term, I aim to bridge the gap for inspired leaders of diverse backgrounds facing a world in crisis, while reducing the impact on stressed LGBT community members and people of color leaders by offering three times more high-quality stress-reducing support services from the comfort of your home or workplace. 

Over the next year, I hope to take my mental health counseling course online so it is only a click away from today's inspired leaders worldwide when those moments of stress arise.

6. How has being a member of the LGBT community impacted your business, if at all?

Being a member of both the LGBT community and Afro Caribbean communities as well as and the caretaker of an aging parent has given me the insight and strength to be an innovative business owner. The strength that I have gained by staying resilient through stressful moments has allowed me to weather the storms that entrepreneurs face and help Kuumba Health survive and thrive for over a decade. My position as an LGBT health advocate and business leader gives me deeper insights into resiliently facing stress and I'm honored to teach others how they can do it too.

Our company's core principles are grounded in the reduction of inner and outer harm and in my experience, leaders that respect diversity and run businesses committed to preventing harassment and bias are more prone to foster thriving workforces than companies that do not. In this way, as a minority and women-owned business enterprise and LGBT-owned business enterprise, I am able to create unique methodologies that bridge the gaps between diversity and healthcare leadership through a unique lens.

7. How has being a Certified LGBTBE through NGLCC impacted your business?

Being certified as both an LGBTBE and as a city and state Minority Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) has given me the opportunity to add value to a broader base of leaders’ lives, particularly those who find our services and my approach refreshing. 

8. What advice would you give to an LGBT person starting a business?

Focus on your core genius. Maximize your stress resilience and free up your time. As your own CEO, COO, CMO, etc., your time will feel spread too thin. See which of these 2 of 4 roles at which you are uniquely excellent and focus on these. Find support or build trusting strategic partnerships over time that support your weakness, so you can maximize your core genius and scale. We discuss this and more business management skills in our masterclass.

Connect with Sacred and Kuumba Health here or learn more about Kuumba Health's courses here.

Interested in having your LGBTBE in the spotlight? Email [email protected].