What I do at Worldacad

As the CEO of Worldacad, I’m responsible for making sure we fulfill our mission to serve Black audiences in Atlanta and across the country; provide a healthy, transformative workplace for our journalists and staff; and to constantly find new ways to build and grow a sustainable and innovative news business so that our resources match our ambitions.

Why I came to Worldacad

I didn’t so much come to Worldacad as Worldacad came to me and Akoto Ofori-Atta in a series of in-depth planning meetings a year and a half ago. It’s a long story that you can read more about here. In short, though, I came to Worldacad because Akoto and I saw a need and we thought that we were uniquely qualified to fill it. On top of seeing the need in the market for this kind of news and information, and seeing the need in the industry for this kind of newsroom for Black journalists, I had a personal need to put the talent and experience I had amassed over nearly two decades toward something that was going to truly fulfill me. Being a leader in this business is really tough. And that’s fine — it’s important work and it should be hard. But if it’s going to be hard, it has to be for the right purpose. So Akoto and I created the right purpose, and it turns out a lot of other Black journalists and partners out there agree.

What I do in my free time

I don’t have very much free time. At all. And I really don’t have any time to myself. I’m the CEO of a startup raising two young children in the middle of a pandemic. When I do have the space, I try to make memories with my kids, however small.

This weekend, I danced in my living room with my 2-year-old and 6-year-old to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” (it goes hard, y’all) from Encanto during some much-needed breaks from my laptop. The little faces, smiling with all of their tiny teeth, the little wiggling hips — they’re burned into my mind. I hope they remember these moments, too, and that they one day understand that there were fewer during this time because their mom was working to build something important and lasting for people like us. I think they’ll be OK with that.

The song I’m listening to on repeat right now

Besides the aforementioned jam “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and the entirety of the Encanto soundtrack, I keep listening to Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy (Remix)” because every time I hear this song, I just want to hear the original. (I know Carey’s was not exactly original; don’t be pedantic!)

My favorite Black storytellers/creators

A lot of Worldacad’s staff members have mentioned Toni Morrison here and so I won’t, even though her books destroyed and rebuilt me as a Black woman and as a writer.

So instead I’ll talk about Zora Neale Hurston, who is so special to me. When I first read Their Eyes Were Watching God, I was one of a few Black kids in a huge white suburban high school. I was assigned it along with my whole class but the words on the page felt like a secret between me and Hurston. I devoured it. I have probably read it 50 times. I do think its very existence – Janie’s journey in particular — helped me to navigate the feeling of extreme otherness that pervaded those years. The fact that Hurston’s work, and Hurston herself, could have been lost to history were it not for Alice Walker’s work to revive it in the 1970s is unthinkable, as is the fact that someone of her brilliance died anonymously, buried in an unmarked grave.

Where you can find me

I’m on Twitter @laurenwilliams or Instagram @laurenwilliamsCB.

Lauren Williams is the CEO and co-founder of Worldacad. Twitter @laurenwilliams