Jenica Leah is a multi-award-winning author and blogger as well as a specialist speaker on sickle cell anaemia and invisible illnesses. After the successful launch of her debut children’s book from her series on sickle cell entitled ‘My Friend Jen’, Jenica went on to win multiple awards for her books, and her blog ‘Me, Myself & Sickle Cell’. She is dedicated to educating, creating awareness and sharing great insights into her life with sickle cell. Her career rocketed to a great start and Jenica now helps writers like herself to bring their stories to life, through her publishing company JLG Publishing. Her enthusiasm to create more awareness of the sickle cell condition is profound and mixed with her passion for writing and reading, Jenica Leah will go on to inspire and influence many others to share their stories too.
Jenica’s #BEYOUROWN BOSS Story
I was born with sickle cell anaemia; a severe blood disorder that affects the quality of the red blood cells and their delivery of oxygen around the body. Sickle cell can cause a number of life-threatening complications to those living with the condition. I myself spent a lot of my childhood in and out of the hospital. Over the years, I have battled with complications such as a stroke and avascular necrosis which lead to me having a hip replacement at 25.
With no clear understanding of my condition, I grew up in isolation; unable to explain what I had or how it affected me and with a stigma that I was different from everyone else. It was this element of my childhood experience that I found the most difficult and so I was motivated to create my children’s book series ‘My Friend Jen’ so that children growing up with sickle cell today wouldn’t have to face the same struggles I did.
The worldwide success of my first children’s book about sickle cell ‘A little Different’, propelled me into the coaching world. I started to work with a number of talented writers, coaching them through the publishing process.
Soon it became apparent to me that there were so many amazing stories going untold and I instinctively wanted to do something to change this and help people to achieve success at the same time. I truly believe that one person’s story can change another person’s life and live up to that belief, I created JLG Publishing. Our main ethos is to create more young writers and inspire young readers. We achieve this through a range of different methods including creative writing workshops, step by step coaching, holding specific events and more. We also offer tailor-made publishing packages so that we can meet the needs of everyone we work with.
The journey to this stage in my life has been filled with ups and downs and unexpected turns. Going from an isolated child to an outspoken teenager, I have always had a mix of academic and creative talents. I studied accounting along-side being a high fashion model for brands such as Paul Smith and worked as an accounts administrator whilst being an international fashion show coordinator. These contrasts and experiences along my journey, I would have to say, have been some of my greatest challenges. I often felt like I didn’t have a set career path like many of my peers and feared that, my decision to not go to university would impact my ability to progress in my work life.
Nevertheless, I stayed true to my belief that everything happens for a reason and am thankful now for every decision I made as each of them has been a stepping stone to my success so far.
One thing I would like to see more of for millennial women in business today is the creation and nurturing of the relationships we have with each other. A well-known proverb from my Jamaican heritage is “One hand can’t clap.” – Put simply; there is power in numbers and we could achieve a lot more being effective together rather than always seeing each other as competition. Ladies, there is enough room in the 21st century for you all to #BEYOUROWN.
LinkedIn: Jenica Leah