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MILK Mondays: Lauren Ettson-Holding

MILK Mondays

Welcome to MILK Mondays!  MILK is an acronym that stands for Moms I’d Like to Know and is the latest Spectacular Magazine weekly feature. Brought to you by Lauren Ettson-Holding, MILK will be your guide to all things mom as she introduces you to some of the most fascinating women in the area. She’ll share their stories, secrets to success, pitfalls to avoid, and just the everyday nuances associated with parenting, adulthood, foraging for a career, or maintaining one this day in age.  You’ll get to hear from traditional moms and non-traditional moms alike—and Lauren is absolutely pumped that you guys are going to go on this ride with us! Since this is her first installment of the MILK series, it’s only right that she introduces herself as the first mom she’ll highlight.

Phyllis Coley, Publisher

MILK Monday
Lauren with son, Stokely

#MILKMondays: Lauren Ettson-Holding

I am very proud, almost obnoxiously so, to be a native of Durham, NC. Durham is so full of great culture, interesting people, and good food, that I am proud to hail from the Bull City.  I am equally almost obnoxious (ok completely obnoxious) about all things AGGIE . North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has not only the “Greatest Homecoming on Earth” but it’s also the greatest institution of higher learning on the planet! (No bias, this is completely objective.)

MILK Monday
Lauren and husband Amir

I just celebrated my 6th wedding anniversary in July to my best friend, Amir Holding, a Software Salesman in Durham. Let me tell you, time is flying by. It seems like just yesterday we were skipping fourth period our senior year in high school to go play in the park, I wish I remembered which park it was.

MILK Monday
Stokely heads off to kindergarten

I am the mother to the most amazing little human—my son, Stokely. He’s 5 and started kindergarten last week. (Talk about being a nervous wreck.) It’s been so fun watching him grow!

As for what I do for 8 hours a day–I have been working in community engagement and business development, for forever it seems, and I am so grateful I get to find creative ways to help sustain the Durham Community. Whether it’s through non-profit work or the private sector– I’m always looking for a way to connect with people and then connect them and their resources to each other.

For now here’s a little more about me:

Most personal goal:

My most personal goal is to be 100% myself at all times, in all settings, in the presence of all people. I never want to feel obligated to omit certain parts of my existence because I’m somewhere outside of my realm of comfort. 

MILK Monday
Family time

Theme Music:

MILK Monday
Stokely enjoys cupcake at birthday party

There are so many artists that inspire me with their music, it is impossible for me to definitively narrow it down. However, my most consistent muses are Kanye West, Erykah Badu and the Isley brothers. I also enjoy what I like to call aspirational  rap some call it trap music **see Young Jeezy, TI, etc.  I love count basie, Coltrane, the soul food soundtrack as well as the Wiz’s soundtrack and a bunch o

f other stuff. It all keeps me going.

How has being a mom changed me?

I think it has made me stronger. It’s not that I ever felt weak before giving birth to my son, but I’ve been guilty of being a people pleaser. Having a kid makes you realize what’s right for your child supersedes making others happy.  Even people you respect and love. Finding that source of power bleeds into other areas of your life and is incredibly valuable. Also, it drives you to walk the talk. Kids will hold you accountable. 

Has anyone helped you along in your journey:

My family…My Mother…My Aunt Teresa…My village…We are incredibly close and we really love each other. My grandmother had 6 girls and of those 6 sisters 6 grandkids emerged. We genuinely enjoy each other’s company and have supported each other in ways unimaginable. I also have my Husband Amir’s  family who have been amazing and loving and a complete blessing to our lives. My Dad, My brothers and my whole paternal side of the family have truly enriched my life. I am just grateful to have these people in my corner and on my team. So many experiences have moved me along in this life, great friendships, tough lessons, great opportunities, missed opportunities. It all contributes to who I am and what I am.

I’ve gotten some gems from women I admire professionally as well.

Amelia Parker  the former executive director of The international Civil Right Center and Museum—I was her intern and I got so many jewels and learned so many lessons. I learned a great deal while being a Community Engagement Fellow at the United Way of the Greater Triangle just about work culture and what I want do with my life. I met some great people while living in Charlotte working for Blu Magazine that gave me my first free-lance writing gig and introduced me to the struggles of entrepreneurship, the beauty of art, and just being around people that are really focused and creative. 

Who have you helped?

I aim to help a lot more than I am currently helping. I’m really passionate about becoming the best daughter, wife, mother, auntie (far from now), cousin, friend, colleague, and citizen of the world I can. While I am practicing that, I am also on the Board of Directors for the Urban Ministries of Durham and previously was member of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) Triangle Chapter  and I was on their mentorship committee. 

Favorite Quote:

Because of my nature, narrowing down my love of anything is… well, impossible. But a few of my favorites are:

“Nothing Human is foreign to me”—Robert Hayden

Pretty much everything Audre lorde ever said.

“There is really nothing more to say—except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.”—Toni Morrison

What do you most enjoy about your career?

I’d say interfacing and engaging with so many different people. You learn so much. 

What were some tough lessons you’ve learned career wise that you’d like to use to help others?

Be prepared. Be consistent. Pay Attention to Detail and manage your time. If you do these things mechanically, life will be a breeze.

You’ll find out more about me as the series continues but for now, WELCOME! Also, if you have a mother you’d like to submit for consideration, contact us!  Follow us on all social media with the #MILKMONDAYS and tell us what you think!

Lauren Ettson-Holding

Lauren Ettson-Holding

Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show.

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