Transcript by Fonna Seidu
You have to hustle hard. I think in the classroom you have the comfort of, you know, ‘open up your book to page 2’ and the teacher is there telling you what you’ve gotta do every single day and when you get outside of the classroom you’re your own boss. At least that’s the mentality you should have, a boss mentality. Where you go out there and say, you know what, what do I want to do, what interests me?
Hi my name is Casandra London and I am a businesswoman, I am a facilitator, and I am also a teacher.
Q: CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE CASANDRA LONDON NETWORK?
The Casandra London Network (The CLN) is a place for us to give a voice to the voiceless, a platform where we can tell our stories, real stories, and be genuine about that. So that’s one side, and then the other side of it is, that I hope to launch soon in May, is an online show where I can actually go out and tell these stories and get people noticed. So whether you’re an artist, whether you’re an entrepreneur, whether you have something that can uplift your community, I wanna hear from you. So that’s really what the CLN, in a nutshell, is about.
Q: WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO ACQUIRE THE POSITIONS YOU HOLD TODAY?
I volunteered at a program called Urban Promise. It is a camp where I worked with youth, umm at the time I was a youth too I was 14, I was coming up with different activities and different games and then afterschool I would also tutor them. Because of that experience that’s when I kinda got into the facilitation kind of thing and afterwards I was called back to work – get paid – so I think that when you’re starting off with these kind of things volunteering is important. And you know, sometimes people think that ‘I want to just get in there and get paid, I wanna get a job’ but I think that the key things is sometimes just pay your dues. Go in there, have a good attitude, be willing to do anything, and more than likely, they’ll hire you.
Q: HOW DO YOU PRACTICE SELF-CARE?
Some of the things I’m doing right now is going to church, it really has been helping my spirit so much. Umm, I also journal, it helps me a lot. Sometimes I’m feeling stressed and I can’t deal with the pressure so I get my book out and I start writing. That’s been a release for me as well. And of course I love doing poetry. So I’m currently working on some new stuff and waiting to get back on stage and trust me. That’s some serious self care because when I put my heart on stage, whoo, the energy it makes me feel good and I feel rejuvenated again so I can moving on with the day. Those are my ways of self-care.
Q: ARE THERE 2-3 REOCCURRING EVENTS IN TORONTO THAT YOU LOVE ATTENDING?
When Sisters Speak, when Dwayne Morgan puts those shows on, can I just say I love it! Umm, poetry is kinda my thing so I love going to any poetic events or shows…Oh! Freedom Fridayz, I forgot, I went there too. That was sick that was fun. Umm I got to see some kids competing, and they were little, they were three years old and one was really young and they were dancing in competition and it was a lot of fun.
Q: WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED OUTSIDE OF A FORMAL CLASSROOM?
If you want opportunities go and get them and I think that needs to be taught in every classroom that isn’t being told at all. In fact it’s that structure…you go to elementary school, high school, then you go to university, college and then you’re supposed to get this job but that’s not the case! Half the time we don’t have jobs. So it’s about being entrepreneurs, businessmen, businesswomen, and that’s exactly what I’m learning right now. Also too, just go after what you want. I think those are the biggest lessons I’ve learned coming out of the classroom.
Q: ARE THERE SPECIFIC WAYS THAT YOU LIKE TO LEARN?
The way that I like to learn is two ways. One, is I like to read. I am a reader so if you just verbally vomit everything at me, I’m probably gonna be like, ‘so…can I write it down?’ So that I can read over what you just said? And hands on. I have to also be able to kinda just do it. It’s not enough to just tell me but it’s better – you know right here in the studio, trust me when I was just learning this (how to do the board operating) here I was horrified because I don’t want to press the wrong buttons, right? How I got comfortable in actually learning and doing it was just to do it. Go on there and mess around a little bit.
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WISH TO SHARE?
You have to keep pushing. You’ll have ups and downs and I’ve been there. I’ve had my ups and I’ve had my downs. But at the end of the day you have know what you want and keep going for it and don’t let nobody stop you, don’t let nothing tell you that you can’t do it. You know what I mean? You’ll have nay-sayers but you just have to believe that you can do it yourself and I believe that you can.