Meet Digital Media Expert and Influencer Letrise Carter
The entrepreneur shares candidly about building her business and recovering from breast cancer.
“Who said, you can’t build an empire when you hit your forties. You are never too old to build a legacy and have an impact on society that is positive. My mission is to build a platform that will be a light that will shine and serve for others… to be a voice in the community to inform, inspire, educate, and entertain.”
Those are the inspirational words of Letrise Carter, Digital Media Expert and Influencer. We sat down with Carter to discuss her business acumen and recovery from breast cancer, a major challenge that she faced in 2019. “I became cancer free and can say that I am now a Breast Cancer Survivor and Warrior,” she declared with a huge smile.
As Carter begins to speak, you get a glimpse of the powerhouse’s ability to focus on the fundamentals to elevate her brand. During our interview, she was poised, strong, thoughtful, and refreshingly forthcoming. One thing is sure—there is no stopping this warrior.
VBD: Give us details about you and your story.
LETRISE: I am Letrise Carter, an educated Black single mother who dreamed of impacting others in the community to rise above their circumstances. I became a mother during my junior year of college, and with the support and encouragement of my professors, advisors, and mentor I was able to stay in school to finish my bachelor’s degree in accounting despite all the odds against me.
I was the first to break the generational curse among the Black women in my family. I desired to have more for myself as well as for my daughter, so I worked very hard to climb the corporate ladder. Fast forward to becoming an empty nester, I was stuck, not sure what to do with my time now that I was not running to basketball, track, or dance class. I decided to go back to school and earn my master’s degree in Accounting and Financial Management.
VBD: What was your inspiration to start writing?
LETRISE: After completing my master’s degree, there was still a void in my spirit until I started writing again as a blogger in 2014. It’s funny how you find yourself back at your first and true passion—writing that started in high school through college, thanks to Mrs. Cooper. It was she who helped me find my writing voice at the age of 15 years old. I found myself back to my first love of writing by blogging about issues that affect the community and relationships and doing book reviews and theatrical interviews.
Writing was easy for me because I could escape in my thoughts and pull-out stories that would encourage, empower, inform, and educate my readers. As a writer it’s important for me to hone my craft and that is exactly what I did. I took classes for blogging, marketing, promotion, and how to build your audience as a blogger. I watched some of the best bloggers on Twitter to gain insight and tips to engage with my audience, and most importantly establish relationships with other bloggers that would help me grow my readership, skills, and network. I purchased many books to learn about the craft that I had fallen in love with so that I could become a blog influencer.
VBD: How did your vision evolve to where you are today?
LETRISE: Simply put, I wanted to be more than just a blogger. My vision and mission were bigger than I could ever imagine, and that actually scared me. I sat down and created a vision board for Sistah’s Place. I imagined having a platform that would be sought after by authors, community leaders, and celebrities. The first step was to buy my domain and transfer my most popular blog posts to its new home.
Next, I came up with a strategy for guest writers so that I would not be the only one writing. I learned to capitalize on social media tools and graphic designers to create Sistah’s Place. I guest wrote for several blogs, magazines, and local articles to build my brand as a writer while growing Sistah’s Place’s name. Over the years, I would make mistakes that made me better and stronger. After the first two years, I learned to set realistic goals, boundaries, and most important standards for Sistah’s Place.
In 2016, I needed to add another voice to Sistah’s Place which came in the form of Sistah’s Place Blog Talk Radio. The radio podcast was a success because it opened doors to more celebrities, national and bestselling authors that would lead to Sistah’s Place being sought after from publicists, agents in film/television, and more indie talent. I was honored to form new relationships and new friendships with some of my favorite talents in the literary and entertainment industries.
I am where I am today through dedication, hard work, sacrifice, networking, sharing knowledge, asking for help, learning from the mistakes, utilizing my support team, and educating myself about my industry, honing my niche, staying unique to me, not following the trend, and just being a humble and genuine Sistah to love all chasing their dreams to walk into their purpose.
VBD: Tell us more about Sistah’s Place and the services you offer.
LETRISE: As you must have gathered, I started Sistah’s Place because I saw a need for a platform to showcase Indie talent in film, theater, literary, and music. I know firsthand how hard it is for Indie talent to get media exposure. Considering that, I created a platform that would shine the light on our community of black and brown brothers and sisters. Eventually, my platform grew to all Indie talent for all ethnicities. The services that we offer are advertising services, media exposure packages, subscriptions to our print magazine, and podcast interviews.
The brand of Sistah’s Place is growing, and I feel honored and humbled. When I started, I was reaching out to the agents, managers, and publicists and many said no because I was not big enough, but then word of mouth from celebs, authors, and agents spread and the tables were turned.
We have set a professional standard for Sistah’s Place that many have come to respect and love. This new status caused me to raise the bar each year to make us better than the previous year. In 2021, I rebranded the podcast to be Sistah’s Conversations with Letrise Carter. It was the time for me to become the face of Sistah’s Place instead of standing behind the logo.
VBD: How has COVID-19 changed your life and business operations?
LETRISE: COVID-19 has made me appreciate family and friends more because I have lost both during the last year. COVID made me let go of the “I am not talking to you anymore attitude.” For my business, it has caused us to re-invent to improve our digital presence and not be limited to local business but to expand our reach to a global audience. We had to change our marketing strategy and our way of doing business during the pandemic.
VBD: When did you publish your first book? And tell us about your latest release.
LETRISE: I became a published indie author in 2017 with my first novella Deceitful Secrets. My latest release is a short story series titled Lucy Mason and it has three parts Lucy’s Worth, Lucy’s Faith, and Lucy’s Heart. The current release, Lucy’s Worth, part one, details a young woman's desperate journey to find herself while trying to make it on her own. Faced with her first true relationship, Lucy's long battle with low self-esteem will cause her to go down a path with a dangerous man. Will Lucy be able to escape the trap that has been set for her? She's going to have to make the most important decision of her life—because her life depends on it.
VBD: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned since becoming an author?
LETRISE: There were a lot of lessons that I learned but the one that stands out is stop trying to follow what other authors are doing because you don’t know their journey or story. You must create your own style and path that is unique to who you are. Your readers will love you for it.
VBD: You are a breast cancer survivor and warrior. Thank God! Share with us how you overcame that challenge.
LETRISE: On July 15, 2019, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on the right side. My writing went on hold and the team of women who I entrusted Sistah’s Place to helped me keep the quarterly schedule as I underwent Chemotherapy and Radiation. Just when I thought it was over and I can begin to heal, I was re-diagnosed with Breast Cancer on the left side, on the anniversary of the first diagnosis in 2020.
I was devastated, hurt, angry, but that still, small voice said I got you… I was determined to rise above the illness that had invaded my body. I endured 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 40 sessions of radiation, in a short period of two years (2019-2021). My daughter has always been my rock and she was my biggest cheerleader. I received a lot of love and support from my sister tribe (Marcie, Barbara, Dilshald, Gina, Stephanie, Pam, Renee, Diane, Aretha, Debra, and Alyssa) who would not allow me to give up.
My team at Sistah’s Place held it down so that our readers didn’t go without. In May of 2021, I became cancer free and can say that I am now a Breast Cancer Survivor and Warrior. I advocate for women like myself for fair and equal health care treatment. I inform and educate other women on the importance of Black women’s health. I’m planning to share my journey, my fight, and my testimony with others so that we are more than a dollar profit for facilities. I am thankful for Cancer Treatment Center of America who cared for me during my second round of treatment. No one should have to undergo the rigorous treatment that my body, mind, and spirt endured due to someone playing with your life just to make a profit.
VBD: What’s your favorite quote?
LETRISE: I have many, but this is one I have been living since the last year and half, “Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail.” Michelle Obama.
VBD: What’s next for you?
LETRISE: For the authorprenuer in me, I will be working to get the remaining two books in the short story series released this year. Lucy’s Faith will be released sometime in September and Lucy’s Heart will be available in December. Further, I will be finishing up the long-awaited sequel to Deceitful Secrets titled Truth & Lies out in January 2022. As for Sistah’s Place, we are working on a special issue for Breast Cancer Awareness and our Holiday issue to close out 2021. We are planning the 2022 Magazine and Podcast sessions, February through October, with a lineup of guests and features.
Book Link: Amazon
Click & Visit Letrise: https://letrisecarter.com
Click & Visit Sistah’s Place: https://sistahsplace.com
Photo credits: Brianna @ Veo Photograper
Hair by: Kealsa at Kreative Braids
Makeup by Simone