(Note: Before we begin, I just want to disclose that I met this wonderful woman during my undergraduate studies at the University of Miami. Over the years we’ve stayed in touch through social media, but towards the end of last year, she was led to reach out to me and invited me to join her inaugural Godlywood Girl Mastermind group. All I have to say is, BOSS! She has pushed and challenged me to step my entrepreneur game up all while staying true to biblical truths. So when I think of a Fanm pou Bondye, she indeed rocks it with style and wants to help other women do the same. –Jadine Louissaint)
In celebration of International Women’s Day (which is part of Women’s History Month), we are excited to share the stories of Haitian women entrepreneurs who are impacting their communities with their love of God and talents. In TransforMe Ayiti we call these women “Fanm pou Bondye,” which translates to “Women for God.” We’ve decided to highlight a woman each week this month.
Stephanie Rodnez, MBA, the founder of Godlywood Girl, is an author, filmmaker and “purposeologist” from South Florida. Godlywood Girl publishes books, online courses and films that empower women of faith to achieve her God-given purpose. We believe that as daughters of a Risen King, every woman – no matter what her age, race, creed or culture – has a RIGHT to live her legacy in Christ. Through books, films, motivational videos, live workshops and daily inspiration, we seek to strengthen your faith, motivate your ambition and empower you to unleash your purpose in Christ. Our goal is unlimited growth that meets the needs of today’s millennial women, profitability that allows us to invest in our community, and dedication that shares the message of Jesus Christ through faith-based entertainment. I had the honor of interviewing her on March 4, 2017 and would like to share this “Fanm pou Bondye’s” story.
JL: Where were you born?
SR: Miami, Florida
JL: What part of Haiti are your parents from?
SR: I believe my father is from Port-au Prince and mother is from Jacmel.
JL: Have you ever visited Haiti before?
SR: No not yet, I don’t even have a passport.
JL: Describe your business in one statement.
SR: Godlywood Girl is a motivational resource company that empowers women of faith to live God’s purpose for their lives EVERY single day.
JL: When did you find Jesus and how did it change your life?
SR: I first came to Christ when I was eight years old, but I didn’t really understand what it meant until I was 14 years old. A friend of mine died and it was devastating. So I went on a search to find out if she was really in heaven. I started asking if she had accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior before she passed. Asking others that question made me ask myself if I had truly accepted Christ as my Savior. So at the age of 14 is when I truly committed to Christ, and there was actually a change in who I was, in my personality and from there on I started proclaiming Jesus to everybody.
JL: What is your favorite bible verse(s)?
SR: Romans 8:28 and Philippians 4:13.
JL: What’s your “why” and how did that help you start Godlywood Girl?
SR: My “why” is that when we live without purpose, we are stuck in a place of sadness, where we’re not contributing to the world. It makes us not feel good about ourselves. I’ve unfortunately seen many young people in my life die at a young age, who didn’t have a chance to live God’s purpose for their lives. I want to empower as many women as possible to do what lights you up and fulfills you. You don’t have to have another second of feeling down or stuck, questioning is this all there is to life? I want you to find your God-given purpose so that every morning when you wake up, you can say YAAAAAS, I have another day to do what God created me to do. That’s why I do this.
JL: How do you balance everything?
SR: I don’t. Every single day is looking at my goals and saying what on this list will provide the most value?
JL: Can you share an A-ha moment?
SR: Yes, my biggest a-ha moment in my business is that “everybody is supposed to fail before it works.” If you go into your dream thinking that it’s going to work perfectly from the start, you will feel discouraged or you might quit because it won’t go perfectly, and you might throw in the towel thinking that it’s just too hard. It’s supposed to be hard for everybody. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate that apple, and as a result God said we have to work for our food. Before sin, we could just reach up and take the fruit hanging right off the tree. But now, we have to plant the seed, water it and work for it. Some seeds you will plant and they will bear fruit, others seeds won’t. But you can’t give up. Keep planting those seeds and eventually you will reap a reward for your hard work. I failed big and almost went into bankruptcy in my business at the age of 25 years old. Had that not happened, Godlywood Girl would not even be here, because I would have just continued with my first company. Now praise God I get to do both. There’s always a reason that failure happens. Please understand failure happens to everybody, you need to pick up the lesson and apply it to the next venture you try.
JL: What has been a discouraging moment during your journey as a business owner and how did you overcome it?
SR: The most discouraging moment that I had, was meeting a business partner who told me the world, he told me everything I wanted to hear…I was naive and didn’t understand investing. I put all my eggs in one basket with that deal. The guy reneged on the contract, he paid me some money but when it came to giving me the big pay out for the deal, he found a loophole in the contract. He decided he wasn’t paying me any more money. I was devastated & heartbroken and learned a valuable lesson from that. I learned that just because someone tells you they have your best interest at heart, it’s not always true. Ask God FIRST before going into partnership with anyone. Say “Lord, what do You want me to do with this situation or opportunity?” So before I sign anything, I ask God what He thinks, because I don’t want to be in a partnership with someone who’s not ethical and doesn’t want to serve the world the way I do.
JL: Do you have any last encouraging words for women who are sitting on their purpose?
SR: Yes, start! It’s never too late to live your purpose. The only time it’s too late is when you’re buried in the ground. So just start. Let me tell you, God has given you everything you need to get started. You may not have everything yet for the big picture, but God has given you resources to paint the first part. Once you’re faithful where you are now, He’ll give you the resources you need to do the next part. If you need help finding your purpose, I have a free video training for you at purposegift.com, where I can help guide you to start living on purpose.