Introduce yourself and profession to our readers:
Gentamu (Jen Jen) McKinney (Pronounced: Gin-ta -moo)
Meaning: Gentle and sweet; one who brings life, joy, and laughter into the world
Being the daughter of the late Black Panther member and civil rights activist Gene Allen McKinney, I was born into politics and public service whether I liked it or not. Although I was shy and soft-spoken, I began to follow my father’s footsteps and I let my voice be heard to make a change in the community.
What inspired you to pursue this area of interest?
Due to the trials and tribulations of dealing with my mothers own mental illness, I found myself being a mental health advocate. In 2015, I founded Awareness After Dark, a nonprofit organization that focused on erasing the stigma associated with mental health in the African American community. I host a yearly mental health event in July called Let’s Get Mental in recognition of minority mental health month. I also directed and produced an award-winning documentary on the same subject – Let’s Get Mental, that was featured at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France.
The following year I combined my love for travel with giving back and created Work-N-Play Co. -- a social responsibility company that combines adventure with volunteerism. Within the past two years, I have taken groups to Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, and Bali giving the chance for my clients to see the world through a different lens. Our Motto is “Don’t Just See the World, Give Back to it,“ and we do just that whether it be in the local community or overseas.
What advice would you share with readers about entering entrepreneurship?
When it comes to entrepreneurship, just do it and do it scared! Always find ways that your company can give back to your local community or internationally.
What is next for you in 2019?
2019 WORK N PLAY is currently taking deposits for our Sept 1-8th Bali Trip. One day will be spent doing a playful volunteer project giving back to the children of Bali and a percentage of the proceeds will go to the local nonprofits in Bali. New Years EVE 2019 will be spent in Dubai & Abu Dhabi.
How can readers connect with you online?
FB: WORK N PLAY TRAVEL
: AWARENESS AFTER DARK
INSTAGRAM : WORKNPLAYCO
AWARENESS AFTER DARK