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Hidden Gems: Meet Grace Onuegbu of Smilebiz LLC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Grace Onuegbu.

Hi Grace, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born in Umuahia, Nigeria, came to the United States as a child, and predominately lived in North Carolina until we relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, around the tender age of thirteen. I had lived in a two-parent household with my two siblings and paternal grandmother. Nevertheless, my mother and grandmother had a strained relationship which also caused problems in her marriage. My mother decided to leave between the conflicts with my grandmother and my father. We found ourselves living in a battered women’s shelter in North Carolina. My estranged relationship with my father put me on a path of rebellion and making poor decisions in my life, including being involved in multiple dysfunctional relationships. I became an unmarried single mother, who got fired from her job, and I relocated from where I lived in Baltimore to Silver Spring, Maryland, to return to school. It was not an easy feat being unemployed, having to depend on social service and part-time jobs to make ends meet while going to school.

Nevertheless, I had an amazing support team to help me through those tough years. I graduated with my associate’s degree in science and became a licensed registered nurse. And from there, I returned to school for two more degrees. I hold my master’s degree in nursing and work in private practice as a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. I faced many challenges during graduate school. My seven-year relationship had ended, and we called off our wedding. I also had to refinance my home and was dealing with mental and emotional distress while trying to maintain my household and take care of my son. God strengthened me through it, and I had to lose that relationship to get back to God. In late 2018, I rededicated my life to God after not having an intimate relationship with God for seventeen years. From there, he showed me my identity was in him and started revealing my purpose. He allowed me to start my business Smilebiz LLC to teach women how to have a balanced lifestyle to gain a life of peace, prestige, purpose, and prosperity. Through my business, I have been granted opportunities on different platforms to share my story, published books, coach, and mentor women. I have been able to branch out in the marketplace, from hosting workshops to conferences and being more active in ministry through teaching his Word.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No, it has not been a smooth road. Years ago, when I was pregnant, I lost my job shortly after. I was unsure what I would do because I lacked the mental capacity to take care of another person and was also not financially capable. Nevertheless, although I did not have an intimate relationship with God then, I prayed for direction, and he told me to move. The challenge was not the physical move but having to tell those close to me that I was relocating. There was so much negativity about me moving jobless with a newborn, but I trusted that I heard God correctly. And after I moved, it seemed like everything was falling apart. I had difficulty getting paperwork to prove my residency for school, and the first job, after relocation was paying pennies. And when I reported my income to social service, they dropped my food stamps from two hundred and some change to fourteen dollars. I was distraught because I had made this faith move, and nothing worked out for me. I felt things would work out in one transition until the next phase of my life; another obstacle would show up. I have learned that obstacles in life just speed bumps in the road. You may be slowed down for a little bit, but you will eventually get to the other side.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Smilebiz LLC (Single Moms Incredibly Living Empowered) is a personal development company that teaches millennial women how to live a balanced lifestyle to gain a life of peace, prestige, purpose, and prosperity. Through my company, I offer group coaching services through my Woman Arise Academy program. Woman Arise Academy is a 12-month coaching program consisting of a curriculum of four signature online courses centered around stress management, work-life balance, goal setting, and leadership skills with bi-weekly group coaching sessions. I use MAPS designed with biblical principles and practical strategies to help women thrive in their personal and professional lives. I use my expertise in mental health to help women break off mindset limitations that keep them stuck from pursuing their life goals. I am known as a life strategist, and it brings me joy to see women get out of their comfort zone and walk in their God-designed purpose. I offer not only digital courses, but I have books and a downloadable planner for purchase. Also, I am a professional speaker and offer speaking services for corporate, college, conferences, or church events.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My mother, Lucky Onuegbu, had continuously interceded on my behalf for my salvation and opened doors of favor even when I raised hell. My siblings, Martin and Lisa, have always supported my business, promoting it, and assisting at an event or a photo shoot. My other sibling, Blessing, is my executive assistant, who manages my LinkedIn community and assists me at events and workshops. My godmother, Mary Davis, and godsister Khalia Evangelista had supported me throughout my education and offered their home when my son and I needed a place to stay. My son’s former daycare provider Annie provided a safe environment for him while I worked and went to school. My son’s grandmother, Ethel Johnson, is godsent. When my life was flipped upside down during graduate school, she would get Eden every weekend, so I could work on the weekends while focusing on my studies during the week and continued to support both of us. I want to acknowledge my mentor, Enaruna Tychus, who helps me navigate my life and holds me accountable for my decisions. We are divinely connected because God hand-picked her specifically to mentor me. Also, my closest friends, Crystal Johnson, Danielle Jackson, and Tiffany Ford, for being safe spaces where I can be my authentic self and be transparent with my struggles while holding me accountable. Lastly, my son has always motivated me to continue to grow and lead him by example.


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Image Credits
Olylive Photography Caressa J Agency

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