We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Mckoy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have learnt to see risks as an opportunity. When one thinks about a risk, a negative connotation comes to mind and in my case, it would have been a barrier to moving forward. Becoming a fertility advocate happened when I took the risk to share my journey, become vulnerable to ridicule and step into a space where there was little being discussed opening about fertility, infertility and reproductive rights. My personal journey with endometriosis and ovarian cysts led me into this world which I initially believed did not include me, but it did, as well as the millions of individuals who are involuntary members and tend to suffer in silence. As a result, I am producing the 4th Annual South Florida Fertility Expo, as a virtual event providing valuable resources to assist persons on their journey to having a family.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The 4th Annual South Florida Fertility Expo, presented by Memorial Family Birthplace is the only event of its kind in the SouthEast region that provides support to persons on their fertility journey. We provide valuable education, resources, and support as a relatively small startup. This year, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the expo will be held online on Saturday, April 24, 2021. It’s normally an in person event. The vision is to continue to assist the estimated 1 in 8 persons or 7.4 million, women of reproductive age who require help for infertility and who tend to suffer in silence. We have an emphasis on black and brown women who are even more so marginalized. An estimated 15% of white women aged 25 to 44 in the United States have sought medical help to get pregnant, compared with 7.6 percent of Hispanic women and 8 percent of black women, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services and from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? My initial vision was wide, like a kid in a candy store, I saw so much that could be done and that I could partake in, but I had to divide that vision into smaller steps and strategically plan on developing relationships, support, funding, credibility and myself. To make it happen, I needed to become open about my personal journey and willing to share with strangers. This was hard and it took years for me to get to the space where I can now speak about it without breaking down. Overcoming the challenges started with me accepting the path that I was now on, that the concept of “family” can be defined in multiple ways and that being open to those definitions do include me, especially as a black woman. It’s easy for minority women to feel excluded from the conversation of fertility or infertility. Once I got over those hurdles in my mind, it was easier for me to stand in front of naysayers and unapologetically share, knowing I’m sharing a story that millions have or are currently dealing with in silence. What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story? Lessons learnt is that not everyone has empathy or knows how to share it. Because you may be passionate about a cause or a practitioner in a space, doesn’t mean you understand the needs of the person who’s walking that path. He who feels it, knows it. Each person may have their own unique journey to creating “Family”, therefore creating spaces for those who need support should be encouraged. Support and access are key. I want the world to know that the South Florida Fertility Expo is mission driven and we are dedicated to supporting the community. We thank our community sponsors, and welcome the engagement of like minded individuals and companies who want to support us. For more details visit SouthFloridaFertilityExpo.com
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For friends visiting I would suggest staying at The Copper Door Bed & Breakfast, its a quaint and recognized spot in the heart of Historic Overtown, Miami and they have an amazing brunch. My favorite spots that include Wynwood, which is a funky area with cool art, murals, fun restaurants and hidden taco gems. It has lots of spots for your IG photos. Other activities include hiding away at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, a beautiful beach with bike trails, kayaking and nature access. For dinner, I have two spots, Red Rooster in Overtown and Dunkanoos in Wynwood. Both have great food and good vibes.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a big shout out to the 1 in 8 individuals facing issues with infertility and creating their family. I know you get tired, throw your hands in the air, scream aloud or behind closed doors and suffer in silence. Just know that you can do it! Don’t stop believing! Never lose hope!
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.