Tanya Hayles is an award-winning writer and storyteller who uses different platforms to encourage thought, create dialogue, and be an agent for change. She is the founder of Black Moms Connection, a global platform and non-profit that provides resources, support, and education for Black women and their families. In addition to being a writer and founder, Tanya’s work ranges from event planning to anti-Black racism advocacy and public speaking.
I chose my career path because...it chose me. It started because I liked that when I went to work, it had a bigger purpose than just a paycheque. While I eventually left the non-profit sector to pursue a career in event planning, the sector never left me.
I started the Black Moms Connection because…I wanted a space to ask culturally relevant questions and get culturally relevant answers. I wanted it to be a safe place to do so without the sexist and racist vitriol lobbed our way as Black women (sometimes from women themselves).
The thing I love most about what I do is… it is always rooted in the service of others. If I cannot answer how this benefits the moms and their families, I don’t do it.
My best advice for anyone that cares about a cause and wants to contribute to it would be… to look at who is doing the work. Ask questions about where the money is going. See how you can help an organization grow and be sustainable. It isn’t always money they need. Don’t make them fit your mandate, build a relationship to see how you can both mutually benefit.
“Why are you doing what you are doing? Is it solely for money? If yes, then you are destined to lose your way.”
Black Moms Connection partnering with BMO for the Rent Bank Grant Program was important because… it showed the value of building authentic and reciprocal relationships. We didn’t ask BMO for money, we asked for amplification. They gave us both and added validation.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… authenticity. I am the same person chatting with CEOs and banks that I am on social media (with a few slight filters of course). I don’t promote anything unless I love it. I don’t align with brands unless I can do so enthusiastically without compensation. People can trust what I’m going to do and who I am because I choose my words very carefully and intentionally.
One tangible way you can build your legacy is… constantly circling back to your why. Why are you doing what you are doing? Is it solely for money? If yes, then you are destined to lose your way. Who is it serving? What problem are you trying to solve? Why are YOU the one to do it?
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know that… I am obsessed with planners, notebooks, and stickers. Yes, stickers. It’s part of my self-care and brings out my inner 8-year old!
I stay inspired by… being connected to the community. I read the posts from our members, the emails from donors, and on the days when it becomes too much, I am reminded that the universe chose me to be here.
The future excites me because… I have big lofty dreams that do not scare me. I also love that Gen Z is highly impatient to fix the issues that previous generations have been working for decades to solve.