TNJ sat down with the CEO and author to discuss her book, Embrace the Process, the purpose of her training firm, Out of the Box Training Solutions and why she’ll never let a company dictate her future.
Sabrina St. John vibrantly yet graciously enters Atlantica On The Ocean, a chic New American restaurant in Long Beach, NY. She’s casually dressed in a crocheted blouse, linen pants and peep-toe pumps, fashionably appropriate for the beach front eatery.
“It’s a beautiful restaurant, isn’t it?” she asks as she greets me. Furnished with modern-day artwork, the restaurant is filling quickly with many looking forward to embracing their weekend.
TNJ: Tell me, what was the motivation behind Embrace The Process?
SJ: You know, it was the years of service that I had working with my clients at Options for Community Living. I started working with people who were HIV positive and along with that came substance abuse and mental illness. When I left my job, I started doing workshops just to have something to do. I was hearing the same stories from clients as to why they started using drugs and it made me realize that it’s not about the drug that they’re using, it’s about getting to the core of the problem that led them to the addiction.
TNJ: You went from case management to creating your own company. How did that come about?
SJ: I started in entry-level then got promoted and was the First Black female in a management position at that organization. My position as a manager required me to conduct employee trainings. While embracing my new position I discovered my passion and purpose which was professional training and development. I began reading books on how to start a seminar business and attending seminars and workshops. I didn’t always attend for the information but to surround myself with people who were doing what I dreamed of doing one day. My vision was a training firm. I began creating the vision in my mind and was I was no longer satisfied unless I was conducting a workshop or seminar.
TNJ: When did you realize you wanted to branch out on your own?
SJ: I always knew I wanted my own business since a teenager but never dreamed it would happen. The last job I had, I loved it but then I lost it. I cried, I had my moment and I told myself that “I will never allow a company to dictate my future again.”
I started writing and finished my book which was then a different title. However; the project was incomplete. I had a very bad experience with the publisher. I decided I no longer wanted to pursue publishing. In January 2014, my pastor started a “Let’s Finish It” Project. I internalized that as I’m going to finish this book!
TNJ: Tell me about Out of the Box Training Solutions.
SJ: Out of the Box Training Solutions is an organizational development company. OTB provides organizational development through training, workshops, seminars and now coaching. We provide onsite custom designed trainings to human service provider organizations, schools, and faith based organizations. As the CEO my mission is to empower my participants to embrace Romans 12:2 To be transformed by the renewing of their mind.
TNJ: You’re a mom, you’re an author, and you’re a CEO/Founder. What title has taught you the most lessons?
SJ: Motherhood. Being a mother is the biggest joy. Being a single mother and not knowing how I was going to do this, looking back now I’m like “Wow, we made it!” I grew so much as a woman, as mother, and that is the biggest accomplishment. My daughter, I look at her and I’m like wow! I never had to go to school and sit down with the principal. She used to hide her 85% test scores (laughs) I love being a mom and I thank God he chose me to be Tiana’s mom.
TNJ: You’re foreword is a big part of the book. Why did you decide to have your Pastor write the foreword?
SJ: I wanted to stay connected to the lessons I learned each week. Being a member of my church helped me really evolve into the woman that I am. I can remember sermons from a while ago that I apply to situations now. My daughter says I’m like my Pastor. (laughs)
I wanted to stay connected to what has helped me through so many processes in life and I felt like having the one who helped me. Whoever wrote the foreword had to know me. My Pastor may not know the true essence of Sabrina but he knows me as a member.
TNJ: Who is Sabrina?
SJ: The true Sabrina? (laughs) The true Sabrina is very simple. I don’t like nonsense. I’m family oriented. I’m a very compassionate person. I’m very humble when it comes to things I do but I’m very supportive of others. I tell them “you need to tell someone!” I get excited for other people.
TNJ: What motivates you to keep going?
SJ: Vision and setting goals for myself. I can’t settle, it’s not an option for me.
TNJ: What’s next for Sabrina?
SJ: I’m doing research on my second book. It’s a journal for women about women from the Bible. How as women, we need to follow the examples set by women in the Bible, that’s who we should mimic. Let’s strengthen each other instead of all of the hating and backbiting. We can be remarkable women and we don’t need to follow reality television women.
TNJ: When can we expect this project?
SJ: I would say by the end of 2016.
TNJ: One word that describes you
Be sure to purchase Sabrina St. John’s book, Embrace The Process.