Leading the black community in health and business – Dr. JaNaè Taylor (MEd ’03, PhD ’07)
When Dr. JaNaè Taylor (MEd ’03, PhD ’07) took an internship during her undergraduate sophomore summer at a Veterans Affairs clinic, she wasn’t sure what would be her next step in pursuing a career in therapy. That summer, she met two doctoral students in the Counseling Psychology Doctoral program at the University of Georgia who shared their experience. They connected her with a student to give her a tour of campus, and this solidified her decision to follow their footsteps and make some of her own.
Dr. Taylor has been working as a counselor for 16 years. She has worked everywhere from women’s homeless shelters to schools and universities. Her most recent passion is creating a space for connection for the black community in the mental health and business worlds.
It all started with a counseling center. She and several of her therapist colleagues decided to start their own private practice. She learned through that process that even though they were all women in counseling, she had a different experience in starting her business in regards to marketing and resources.
“There were differences in the marketing I needed, especially in order to get buy-in from the black community and get resources,” Taylor said. “Not only was I getting the experience of creating a mental health agency, but also becoming an entrepreneur at the same time.”
In addition to her needing to learn how to launch a business, other challenges she faced were a lack of access to capital and isolation within her profession. “People want to sit across from someone who looks like them or reminds them of someone they know,” she said “but it was difficult to refer people to other black counseling practices because I didn’t know of any at the time.”
A year and a half after she started her business she launched her podcast Minding My Black Business. Initially, the podcast was a marketing opportunity but it quickly grew to much more with over 27,000 downloads.
“I have completely enjoyed it – it led to me doing some community events,” she said. “Back in May I did a meet up for black therapists and about 20 people showed up, which is great.” “The more I do it, the more I get people opening up to therapy, which is one of my hopes.”
Dr. Taylor will be honored at UGA’s 40 Under 40 event in Athens in September, check out the other amazing 40 Under 40 honorees.