Photo Credit: Stephanie Pool; Banner Photo Credit: Steven Chu

Photo Credit: Stephanie Pool; Banner Photo Credit: Steven Chu

Name: DJ Lani Love (www.djlanilove.com)

Vocation: Music

Location: Chicago, IL

1. What do you currently do now and how did you end up here? Any pit stops along the way and did those pit stops help you get to the career and woman you are now? 

Eight years ago I started DJing as a hobby in New York City, while I was working in advertising. Two years ago, I quit my job to go freelance. Having more control over my schedule and time gave me the opportunity to try new things, which eventually led to me DJing full time.

I've had more jumps in my resume than I'd like to admit, but with each move, I grew a lot professionally and personally. Each time I started a new job, I stepped more and more out of my comfort zone, and that's especially true of when I left my full time job.

2. What are your current gaps, barriers, facilitators, or motivators? Any of those in particular that helped you along the way?

My two greatest challenges are breaking through and believing in myself creatively. There are thousands of DJs and recording artists, all making mixes and music everyday, so it can feel discouraging at times. But I know that I have a different story and experience to share, so I have to trust myself and keep working at it until I create something that represents me. Also I've a very fact-based person, so pursing something completely creative is a bit out of character, but in some ways, it feels like I'm learning about the real me.

I felt like I wasn’t growing the way I wanted in my corporate career, so I decided to become a freelancer to have more control over my personal growth. I took on a variety of freelance projects: brand strategy for national brands, social media strategy for small businesses, writing about fashion and retail, but most importantly, I pursued my passion in DJing.

3. What is your ideal state / dream state of being as a woman in your career and a woman in this world? How will you get there?

I want to collaborate with other women, and my dream is to one day be in a place where I can mentor younger women who are trying to find their voice in the world

4. What common misconceptions do you find about your field, your life, about women in general?

Being a female DJ I'm constantly underestimated, but I find that it makes it that much more satisfying when I prove them wrong. I'm a good DJ -- and so are many other women in this space!

5. Any advice or tips & tricks you want to give to a younger you? Whether it be how to apt hunt on craigslist to getting your shoes cobbled to getting a work mentor etc

Take time to reflect. It's easy to get lost in all the noise that is life, so take time to evaluate progress and re-evaluate goals.

BONUS QUESTION: What should lead your life: passion or pragmatism? (general thoughts, could be a convergence, could be one or the other!)

Both! I don't blindly follow my passion. I'm a very practical and fact-based thinker. I plan as much as I possibly can to avoid unnecessary risks and failures, but I also understand that nothing worthwhile comes easy. So I listen to my heart and find comfort in knowing that perseverance and determination can help me conquer most challenges.

BONUS BONUS QUESTION: What are you most proud of?

I'm proud of myself for accepting failures. When I was younger, I was so afraid of failure that ended up limiting myself. Now that I'm past that, I'm able to try so many new things, and while stepping out my comfort zone is still difficult, it's been really rewarding.

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