Lakilia Bedeau works at Tornado Alley Youth Services Center -  an important part of our Paducah City Schools. She’s among the top ten finalists being considered for the 2018 Young Leader of Western Kentucky award. Lakilia says she gets her strong work ethic from her grandmother. Let’s iMeet this amazing entrepreneur with a very cool name!

Welcome to iMeet, Lakilia. Tell us about yourself...

iMeetI am from a small town by the name of Lilbourn. It is located in southeast Missouri, also known as the “Bootheel”. I attended Lilbourn Elementary and New Madrid County Central High School.

I am the oldest of seven, however, I could pass for the middle child. I was raised by my grandmother, Faye M. Taylor. She is one of the most giving and selfless people I know. She taught me the importance of having a strong work ethic and positive attitude.

I was the first in my immediate family to attend college. Although I have family members who are successful in their respective fields ranging from engineers, attorneys etc. I went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Murray State University. And I am not finished yet, I will be working toward a doctorate in the near future.  

Tell us about your family...

iMeetFirst off my name is not some stage name I made up. My husband is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and that explains the cool last name. We met in college and have two handsome sons, Elijah Chiwale Bedeau who is seven and Jeremiah Kwame Bedeau who will be three in May.

You work at the Tornado Alley Youth Services Center at Paducah Tilghman High School...tell us about your job...

The Department of Family Resource and Youth Services was initiated as part of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1990, with school-based centers created to address the needs of children and enhance students’ abilities to succeed in school. This is accomplished through program development and partnerships promoting academic achievement, physical and mental well-being, graduation, and successful transition into adult life. At Tornado Alley Youth Services Center, this means doing whatever can be done to help the students and families of Paducah Tilghman High School.

You have recently been selected among 10 finalists as the recipient of the 2018 Young Leader of Western Kentucky award! That's amazing. Tell us about this honor...

iMeetBecause of my dedication to help develop future young leaders in the community, as both an educator and entrepreneur, the Chamber selected me as their 2018 Young Leader of Western Kentucky. I am honored and blessed to have received the award. The recognition has brought about more awareness to my position at Paducah Tilghman and my efforts with B Dynamic Inc.

Although the recognition has assisted with getting my name and mission out, it’s not about me. I am simply trying to be of service to others and make a difference one student, one family at a time. Indirectly it added validity to my efforts. Even though, B Dynamic Inc. consists of a group of esteemed and credible individuals.

You were invited to the White House. Did you go?

iMeetI was invited to the White House in 2016, for the “Champions of Change” ceremony. I was a finalist and selected to represent Education Support Professionals from the state of Kentucky. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience with President Obama still being in office. And for the record, that’s way I chose to attend, in spite of me being 36 weeks pregnant.

I felt it was a blessing and I am not sure I will see another person of color hold the highest office in this country during my lifetime. Hopefully I am wrong, but we will see.

What do you think makes you successful in your job? 

That’s a good question. Honestly, I have several reasons why I feel I am successful in my career. First off, I believe that I am authentic. I feel this is imperative when building relationships and trust with students and families. Secondly, I know my “why” and I am walking in my purpose. Lastly, I understand that it’s not about me. I am simply a vessel being used by God to make a difference in the lives of the youth and old alike.  

You just started your own company, B Dynamic, Inc. Tell us more about it... 

iMeetB Dynamic Inc., was founded to fill a niche. After consistently hearing about how our students lack “soft skills”-  essential skills needed to transition into adulthood - I could not sit on the sideline and do nothing to address the problem. However, it was definitely not an overnight idea, and I have been grappling with the idea for the past four years.

It’s all about timing. And when you know your purpose and your instincts align, you get results such as this. Meaning, destiny happens and you are able to have a positive impact within your community, state and eventually the nation.  On a personal note. I am simply being what I needed as a child. In addition, my hope is for my business to assist those who may be first generation college students or the first to graduate high school in their immediate family. We would love to help you navigate this thing called ‘life’. I understand the importance of a support system and having the tools needed to be successful.  

Are you ready for spring?

I am so ready for spring. Although I love wearing scarves and boots, I am ready for warmer temps and sunshine.

It's 10 pm on a Friday night; what might we find you doing?

iMeetIn my free time I enjoy hanging out with family and working out. I am pretty simple. Now that I am older, Friday nights are chill. You will probably find me watching Netflix and enjoying family time. Unless I have an obligation with B Dynamic Inc., then I am hastily preparing for a weekend filled with workshops and/or vision board parties.

Read the book or watch the movie?

Watch the movie. I am a visual person - but there are times when reading is the only option.

Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life?

Wow, this is a tough question because I have had so many people pour into my life. So, to be fair, I will name a few and simply add a sentence about each.

iMeetMy grandmother for obvious reasons, she has been there from day one. She was and still is an inspiration. My dad, he had a major impact instilling in us a strong work ethic. My band director, Mr. Dennis Nail, from high school who saw leadership potential in me and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. And he not only helped me to believe in myself, but hone those leadership skills.

And last, but not least my aunt, Bracy Wofford who allowed me to practice my God given talents at a very young age. Her non-profit Queen B Entertainment Center allowed me to learn essential life skills and partake in public speaking at a very young age. Each of them played a huge role in the success of Lakilia Bedeau. I am grateful.

And we’re grateful that you have poured so much of yourself in to the children and families of our community, Lakilia. We wish you every success with you continuing studies, your business endeavors. Keep racking up those awards!