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Dr. LaDonna Boyd, president and CEO of R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, shares her story about keeping alive her family history while leading the way for other young women to do the same.
With the emergence of new technologies and social media platforms, it has become easier today to not only tell your own story, but also share it all around the world.
Philanthropist, speaker, and investor, Dr. LaDonna Boyd wears many hats, but the one she wears most proudly is legacy builder. As the great-great-granddaughter of Reverend Dr. Richard Henry Boyd, the company’s founder, she knows a thing or two about telling a story that lasts for generations.
In this episode, Emmanuel LeGrair, R.H. Boyd’s Community Engagement and Development Coordinator, sits down with Dr. Boyd to discuss the importance of understanding your family story, what it takes to be a woman of color in leadership, and how to harness the power of your own story.
In 1896, Reverend Dr. Richard Henry Boyd left his home in Texas and moved to Nashville, Tennessee to start R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation. Five generations later, the business has proven resilient through political, economic, societal, and technological changes—from the Reconstruction Era to the Great Depression to the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, in 2021 the company celebrated 125 years, a grand accomplishment, especially for a Black-owned business.
Dr. Boyd’s story is one of vision, persistence and passion, evidenced in the work done by the company today.
“We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams,” Boyd shared. “Everything that's gone on, we've been able to maintain our success and just follow the ebbs and flows, if you will, of everything that's been going on. So, we're definitely honored to still be here today and still providing a narrative and a voice for the Black experience.”
But carrying on the family legacy doesn’t end with the Boyd family. Part of the business’s mission is to encourage families to write down their own family tree. Through the “Tell the Story” initiative, Boyd hopes to spark conversations about understanding one’s ancestral legacy.
“I never want to take for granted the fact that I can go back in the history books and see my family history, see our story, be able to track our lineage, see pictures, see names. And there's so many black families that can't do that,” said Boyd.
Her hope with the initiative is to inspire families to create a legacy that future generations will appreciate and continue to build with each new year.
Stories are powerful, and if told right, they can be tools for change and inspiration. Because of incredible mediums such as podcasting and blogs, everyone has an opportunity to take control of their narratives.
Boyd’s best advice for taking control of your own narrative is to “just start.”
In her eyes, sharing your story is better than holding it in. And telling your story doesn’t need to be perfect. “There’s not one way to tell your story or to make a difference,” said Boyd.