By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Shauntae E. Lewis heard the naysayers – loud and clear.
“I heard ‘you won’t amount to this’ and ‘you’re not good enough,’” Lewis, a certified grant writer who owns and operates Grant Life Consulting in Florida.
“My inspiration came from a sense of fear and those things that I had heard in my life – in the professional world,” Lewis recalled.
With her four children and her faith as inspiration, Lewis has done more than achieve. She has succeeded.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Lewis initially considered starting a nonprofit to help young girls and women – specifically those who have suffered the trauma from physical, mental, or sexual abuse or divorce.
Following careful research, Lewis decided grant writing would prove just as effective.
“I realized that grants and funding were needed and my researched showed that none of the grant writers looked like me,” Lewis remarked.
“I couldn’t find anyone to speak to or about it. I have a background in business and finance, and any college student knows that writing is essential to getting those degrees,” she continued.
“When I researched it, I said, ‘I can do that.’ So, out of that came Grant Life Consulting.”
As a certified grant writer, Lewis assists companies with budgets as much as $10 million.
She noted that there is a vast difference between a grant writer and a certified grant writer.
“The importance of a certified grant writer is immeasurable,” Lewis announced. “We are held to certain standards of ethics, whereas one who’s not certified isn’t held to those same standards. An uncertified grant writer may not understand some things like how to get a state license or a federal grant.”
Further, Lewis offered that if an uncertified grant writer could be prone to mistakes that can severely damage a business.
“You have to show how funds are received and allocated. If funds are misallocated in any way, your business will have a major problem,” Lewis stated.
The mother of four acknowledged that there is a battle to balance home and work.
“Work, life, balance,” uttered Lewis as a reminder of one of her mottos. “I think in some ways I may have redefined that. It’s tough to be a CEO in business and a CEO in the home. You have challenges in both places, and it can take a toll on you. But time management is always key.”
Lewis now has more than 18 years of professional writing experience, organizational management, business development, and client training.
A member of the American Grant Writers’ Association, Lewis recently joined Bunker Labs Veteran In Residence Business Cohort, where she partners with other veteran-owned businesses to help obtain grant funding.
She holds professional certifications in proposal writing for foundation, corporate, government grants, grant research, and budget development.
Lewis also possesses extensive knowledge in program design and development, executive and staff training, recruiting and retention, collaborative management, and marketing.
“I challenge myself to do something. If I fail, I fail,” Lewis decided.
“But if I succeed, it gives me more ammunition to overcome additional obstacles, and life is nothing but obstacles. You have to have that drive, that mindset of being determined. And never be afraid to ask questions.”