CodeBlack Exclusive Interview
Over the past ten years, civil rights attorney, author, tv legal analyst and autism advocate Areva Martin has been an influential and powerful voice on a host of important issues ranging from police brutality to sexual harassment to autism. And now the author is showing others how to find their voices and become influencers and thought leaders in her new book, Make It Rain.
The book gives would be advocates, entrepreneurs, CEOs—even moms—a step-by-step guide on how to identify their inner voice, build their brand and gain momentum, credibility and visibility on the issues most important to them.
Martin says her inspiration for writing the book arose from speaking on television on hot-button minority and women’s issues, and subsequently being bombarded with emails and texts messages from passionate viewers who wanted to join the conversation and have their voices heard, but didn’t know how.
“It dawned on me that there are lots of people—activists, non-profit leaders, business leaders, women—who feel disenfranchised right now, who feel like they don’t have a voice and don’t know how to identify their voice. And what I’ve learned in the last ten years working in TV and as an advocate, was how to find my voice. So, that was part of my motivation for writing this book—to teach people what I had learned and help them in their cause, whether that’s trying to impact criminal justice laws in their cities, trying to build a business, or whether they’re just trying to do something as simple as influence their local PTA. In this twenty-four-seven media world we live in, there are more opportunities and more channels than ever for people to jump into conversations to elevate their brand and elevate their voices, so this was my way to help them figure out how to do that.”
What is the central message of Make It Rain?
Martin: “At its core, Make It Rain is really about growing your influence and power. For a business owner that may mean attracting more clients to his or her business. For a person who wants to be an advocate, that may mean gaining a voice that’s heard on these national issues like police brutality, sexual harassment, gun control. It means creating a clear brand or voice and growing your stature, your presence in the marketplace and essentially becoming a thought leader. So, a rainmaker is a person who has expertise or a skill-base that he or she combines with a visibility or presence in the media. And when I say the media, I don’t just mean TV. There’s so many channels of media today, whether it’s streaming channels, social media, print media, television, radio, podcasts. So, to be a rainmaker today you need to think beyond just traditional media.”
When did you first discover your own voice?
Martin: “I think I found my voice when I became an autism advocate. My son was diagnosed with autism and I had to figure out how I was going to provide care for him. I had to learn to navigate the complex maze of healthcare systems in Los Angeles, and in doing that I found my voice as a mom, as a lawyer, as a person who understood the challenges and shortcomings of the healthcare system. And I realized I had something valuable to offer that could help other parents. Finding that voice help me create a non-profit, helped me become a national voice on autism, particularly autism as it impacts minority and underserved communities. I think that was my realization that I had an important voice on an important issue, and that I could jump into some pretty important conversations and help influence how monies were allocated on the state level, how resources were allocated for families and how individuals with autism got resources and services.”
Make It Rain devotes an entire chapter to topics such as “Find Your People” and “Know Your Targets.” In Martin case, those targets would include passionate, well-informed women, especially black women, who are interested in seizing control of their lives and building their own brands and businesses. Martin’s book would appear to be particularly well timed as U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that Black female-owned businesses are the fastest growing economic force in the U.S. The number of black women-owned businesses grew 67 percent between 2007 and 2012, outpacing the 27 percent growth rate for female-owned businesses.
“Nothing would thrill me more than if this book encourages more African American women to start businesses,” says Martin.
Martin’s immediate future includes a new daytime television show that will allow her to continue to lift her voice and be an advocate. The show is scheduled to start taping this summer and air in the fall.
Make It Rain is published by the Hachette Book Group, Inc. and hits bookshelves and online sites everywhere on Tuesday, March 20.