Yvette Kendall has reportedly “created more than 30 patent-pending products that span several industries, ranging from scientific and technical to recreational, including mobile applications, a new type of coffee beverage, pure water product and a DUI simple proof product.”
Yvette’s road to success as a female Black inventor has been hard and treacherous, and the grind and aggravation nearly killed her.
Here, Yvette shares how putting everything on hold saved her life and reignited her passion.
Yvette Speaks: Humble Beginnings
After leaving high school, I was much like many other teens hailing from the south side of Chicago in the late 80’s, unfortunately the structure and direction of a successful family was not there.
I went through life blindly and at times, I followed others’ direction in efforts to keep up and just to get by. After a short stint working for Michael Jordan’s Restaurant as a Human Resources Assistant, I had my first innovative breakthrough.
Finally, I had a direction in life, I had a starting point to who I was and who I was destined to become. Unfortunately, this epiphany was short-lived. I dove into the deep end of the pool with no knowledge of how to swim. I had no clue about what it would take to bring a product to market. The many details and processes were overwhelming to an under-educated and financially challenged girl with just an inkling of a dream.
After the exposure of my product, some years later it was redeveloped by a multimillion dollar company and became wildly successful. I didn’t get a taste of that success, and although I was devastated, this was the beginning of how I would get it right the next time.
What I learned in my life experience is that “success is subjective.” Not everything can be measured in dollars and popularity. As I moved forward with my calling, some doors would open that I could have never imagined and other doors would not only close, but disappear altogether.
A few years later, I went from having a humble and modest lifestyle to creating a unique real estate model and achieving much success. (You know the expected success of beautiful homes and cars.)
On the outside looking in, I had the dream, but in reality, I was a living and breathing nightmare.
Losing My Way
I deviated from my purpose for status.
Before I knew it, I was chosen to audition for a reality competition show with the Discovery Channel and out of thousands of nationwide applicants, I was chosen for the show and had signed a licensing deal for my product.
The show was short-lived, and my segment never aired. There were other tentative deals with major corporations but something would always happen to cause the deals to crumble in the 12th hour.
I recently became the first African-American female to create a Ballistics product and I have been recognized all over the country because of my innovation—and guess what? I have been offered multi-million deals that caved at the last minute for reasons beyond my control.
I was still losing. I was shunned, even by my own peers. Many felt, you’re Black…you’re a woman…how dare you try to be something bigger than from whence you came?
Getting assistance and investments was next to impossible because people didn’t believe in my product’s success or just did not believe in me.
It seemed that everyone that I met was the wrong person, who knew the wrong people, and was a part of the wrong group. People treated me like a consumable and a bridge to their payday.
There was an energy around that I could not shake and the ones that could and did invest had unrealistic ideas of the time it takes to bring a product to market.
What hurt the most was that men and women alike suggested that I use my body to obtain the funding that I needed to move forward; it appeared that debauchery was not only accepted, it was expected.
That would not happen.
Losing It All
In the meantime, I lost my home, finances and associations. I couldn’t figure it out, I had everything I needed to get to where I needed to go and yet, I could not seem to cross over to the other side. There was something I was missing, something that I was not ready for.
After all of the aggravation of my life’s stopping and going, my health took a major hit. I nearly bled to death and had to receive three transfusions within a 6-hour window of time. Finally, I was told that I had a tumor the size of a football and that needed a total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH). The tumor was a whopping 8 lbs!
After the surgery, I stopped everything. I no longer cared about the fruition of my work. I had been playing with God and He knew it and He let me know it. God closed every avenue and every opportunity, I was at ground zero with no rescue in sight. I had people in my life that was against His will, I was not taking care of the main gift that He gave me which was my body and I put my work before Him. This realization changed my life physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually.
No sooner than I made the decision to stop my hustle, blessings found me organically. I was offered a great position with an organization that has government ties and is prepared to bring my military product to market.
Things are still unfolding, and my life is back on track.
It takes an insane belief in yourself to make your vision of life a reality. And, as a Black female inventor, I believe if you stay focused and stay healthy, your success is imminent.
Good luck to you in your endeavors.
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