LaShawn Reed discovered several years ago that she had to first become self-aware before she could ever empower the young children and teenagers she was mentoring each day. She started on the path of mastering her thoughts and feelings, which led her to become the strong, ambitious woman she is today.
In Reed’s debut novel, “You Are Your Thoughts,” she shares advice on how to achieve these goals and educates readers on how to control one’s thoughts in order to have a better understanding of who they are.
“Through my journey of becoming self-aware, I learned that you could be at war with your own self everyday based on the thoughts you’re creating for yourself,” said the McKees Rocks resident. “A lot of times many women don’t know why they are going through the things that they are going through. The book is meant is to help women understand that we are creating these problems based on the way we think.”
Reed added, “Once you can control your thoughts, you can control your feelings. Once you control your feelings, you control the energy you put into the world.”
On Jan. 2, The Parkway Theater was brimming with positive energy as Reed, a McKees Rocks native, celebrated the release of her book with a book launch and signing. Approximately 120 people attended the event and had the opportunity to meet-and-greet with Reed and hear a poetry reading by Angel Allwood. Allwood’s selected works focused on self-respect and other topics in “You Are Your Thoughts.”
“It was amazing to be able to do something different for the community and the young generation,” said Reed who sold 100 copies of her book at the event.
“I read the book and it’s amazing,” said Shantanique Johnson. “As a counseling student, I can see myself utilizing this book to serve so many purposes. Men should take a read as well.”
When asked what it means to be a strong woman, Reed said, “A strong woman can face any obstacle that comes her way, is self-motivated and is able to empower other women along her journey of self-discovery.”
According to her definition, Reed is a very strong 26-year-old woman. As the CEO of Strong Ambitious Women LLC, Reed specializes in mentoring groups of teenage girls to build their self-esteem, confidence and identity-awareness. She also writes the curriculum (called “You Are Your Thoughts”) for the organization’s mentoring program that empowers communities and organizations, such as Pressley Ridge.
Reed is also a Character Coach for the Shadow Student Athletes mentoring program at three Pittsburgh Public Schools: Langley K-8, South Hills 6-8 and Arsenal 6-8. She mentors girls so that they can improve academically, be culturally enriched, develop their characters and have enhanced life skills—all while working closely with the student’s teachers, athletics departments and parents to bridge gaps.
Reed’s dedication to serving youth began at the child welfare agency, Three Rivers Youth. She landed a job there right out of college in 2011 (she holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Point Park University) and quickly worked her way up to becoming a Team Leader at the agency.
DeVon Madden, Shadow Student Athletes executive director, has been Reed’s mentor along her journey of self-discovery and writing her first book.
“After reading her book, people came to her and said that she inspired them,” said Madden. “I use her book with my male students to try to get them to understand themselves so they can understand women—their mothers and female teachers. It’s a book that anyone can read.”