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Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo

Dr Lorraine Poole

Message from Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo

The Need to Invest in Women Entrepreneurs for the Survival of Families and Future Generation

Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo was born and raised in Philadelphia. She is a product of the Philadelphia School system. She has been involved with numerous endeavors for four decades. She has dedicated her life to creating opportunities for those who do not have paths away from poverty and its’ effects. Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo is the CEO of the Berean Institute, a school founded in 1899 as a vocational school teaching trades like carpentry, cosmetology and barbering to African-Americans.

As a young woman in the 70s, she was made aware of the role of women in her community. Most women had the roles of mother and wife, most minority women worked as domestics or in factories. There were few professional women. In her home her parents stressed the importance of education. One of her early heroes, other than her parents, was Rev. Martin Luther King. She was inspired by his speeches, one in particular, “be the best you can be, if not the mighty pine at the top of the hill, be the best shrub in the valley.” Her love of education continued past high school to Hampton University, Antioch University and she earned her Doctorate from Temple University in Philadelphia. She has developed programs for special needs groups and adult learners. She has long been concerned about those who have challenges with school systems that have failed to meet the needs of students.

Lorraine became a teacher; she could have worked in any section of Philadelphia but chose to work in the improvised districts. She became a school counselor, then the first bi-lingual school psychologist in the Philadelphia School District. She also served the city in its’ Recreation Department. She was the only woman of color to become a District Manager. She earned a reputation for her tireless efforts to improve services, to empower communities and to establish pathways to success for those who engaged in many community programs. It was in 2008, during its’ time of turmoil, that Lorraine was elected President of Berean Institute. It was to be one of her greatest challenges. Her ability to bring people together was of benefit to Berean’s “Rebirth to Excellence.” The Women Empowerment Project (WEP)/EBraiding.net are projects that she has embraced whole heartedly; she traveled tirelessly with the WEP Management Team to Dakar (Senegal), Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and Cotonou (Benin) meeting with women entrepreneurs who needed her life long experience to enrich their own lives and orient their future careers. Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo believes that if you educate a woman, you educate a family, if you educate a family, you educate a generation.

Within the above context, the leadership teams of both ebraiding/eNaturals and the Women Empowerment Project (WEP) have continued working with Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo non-stop towards a shared vision that is predicated on the principle that financial valuation of cultural assets with African style braids and natural hair-styling should go hand-in-hand with financial autonomy of women. The WEP is a non-profit public charity organization that raises funds dedicated to helping women around the globe fulfill their educational goals and professional growth through vocational educational centers, literacy programs, training and placement.

This year, the WEP has successfully extended its geographic reach via a group of young women enrolled in the U.S. Virgin Islands Chapter of the WEP. They arrived in Alexandria, VA this summer to receive cosmetology training through rigorous coursework.  Upon completion of their initial 30 day training, they joined our network of salons as apprentices. This process will take them through a 30 month journey which will lead to full cosmetology licensure and accomplished professionals in the industry. In recognition of the success of the WEP training program, a special section entirely dedicated to the U.S Virgin Islands is featured in the 7th Edition of the SANATA Int’l magazine, showcasing styles from students enrolled in the cosmetology program. This 7th Edition of the SANATA Int’l Magazine is filled with timeless, beautiful, unique natural hair and braid styles showcasing talented stylists from a number of countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States.

With great pride and anticipation, together with the Special complements of Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo and on behalf of the entire ebraiding.net team, we would like to invite you to peruse the latest installment of SANATA Magazine.

Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo