Women Who Own It — Porcha Johnson, CEO and Founder of Black Girl Health

What is unique about your business – and what inspired you to start it?

I started my business in 2014 due to my own struggle with fibroids, as well as my awareness of the broader impact of this health issue in the African American community. Many women with fibroids were getting compromising surgeries and hysterectomies at young ages. It was clear from my research that lack of knowledge was causing women to make ill-informed decisions about their health. I believed this need could be fulfilled with a platform that directly speaks to minority women to raise awareness about conditions and diseases that disproportionately affect them.

My company, Black Girl Health, is a digital marketing and outreach service that encourages and supports minority women in living healthier lifestyles. We reach our audiences through our own publication, newsletter, food and nutrition portals, outreach events, and social media campaigns. As our organization evolved, we started using our brand and our audience to help other companies spread awareness about their brand, mission, products, and services to select target groups. We offer those companies several ways to share their message, such as social media marketing services, videos, and community outreach.

How has networking or mentoring helped your business?

Before I started Black Girl Health, I was a reporter in Harrisburg, PA, where I built a wonderful network of contacts. When the time came to build our first event for Black Girl Health, I reached out to many of those contacts, and I was incredibly grateful for the level of encouragement I received. Many have become sponsors at our events, and others have supported us in a variety of ways because they believe in our mission. The saying “It’s all about who you know” is especially true when you’re trying to grow your business!

What’s next on your business “wish list?”

We’ve been holding our annual Kickstart Health and Wellness Expo for the past three years in Philadelphia, but in 2019, the expo will take place in Washington DC on June 1. This will move us from a regional event to a national one – with even more exposure, potential for partnerships, and the ability to touch more lives. The expo will include topic-specific education workshops presented by natural hair experts, medical and naturopathic experts, breakout fitness sessions for on-the-spot workouts with lead instructors, free health screenings, and nutrition & food safety seminars.

We’re still looking for sponsors and vendors, so please visit our Kickstart event site to get involved!

What is the top piece of advice you have for women entrepreneurs?

Many entrepreneurs may be concerned about leaving their corporate job or have worries about their business being viable. My message is, “Leap out on Faith!” That said, I also think it’s important to take very calculated risks – and to have a plan in place before you take that wonderful leap. I encourage all the entrepreneurs I meet to have a business plan. There’s usually a lot of work and thinking that goes into this phase, and that’s the “sweat” behind the faith. But once you have that vision – and you can see the path forward – trust in it. Black Girl Health would never have existed if I hadn’t taken the leap, and it won’t keep growing unless I keep leaping!

What is the most surprising thing about you?

I love writing poetry. It’s something I’ve done since I was very young. I don’t share my poems with many people – only my family members when I was young and my husband today. I write my poetry as a form of meditation – a way to give life to my feelings and sometimes, to better understand what I’m feeling.

Black Girl Health actually started out as a blog, so writing in general has played a big role in my life and success. There’s real power in putting your stories, feelings, and experiences into words. That process can better connect you to yourself – or to others who can recognize themselves in what you write.

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