Like many of us, we’re told to go to college, get a degree and you’ll be rewarded with an excellent and high paying career. Unfortunately, this tale this been told too many times, and if you rely solely on the fact that you have a degree, you may find yourself disappointed and discouraged.

“I was advised to major in Business and I minored in Psychology, and couldn’t find a job after graduating in 2008,” says Whetstone. “I worked in retail for five years.”

Luckily, after 2 years of brand marketing for a side hustle, Lee Whetstone says she remembers reflecting on how fast things were progressing and working in her favor.

“I thought to myself, this could be my way out of retail, if I really focused on it,” says Whetstone.

Thus birthed Leading with Lee, an award-winning digital resource guide for entrepreneurs, trendsetters and millennial bosses, founded in 2014!

“I jumped in with a vision and had to learn the media business,” says Whetstone.

“Marketing yourself, getting your name out in the world is important. It offers personal and professional development.”

Today, not only is Whetstone taking strides to dominate the media industry with her award-winning digital publication; but she’s a mother of a three-year-old little girl, and is a powerhouse on the rise herself! It is safe to say while juggling the mompreneur life and recently gracing the cover of her own magazine in Issue No. 7, where she shares her journey and insights on why and how she started as a Brand Marketer, Motivator for Millennial Entrepreneurs; the Brooklyn native, is definitely creating some buzz and a name for herself in entertainment and media.

Whetstone has had the pleasure of interviewing and doing success stories on celebrity and heavy hitters in the entertainment industry such as Radio Host Angela Yee, from The Breakfast Club, the world’s most dangerous talk show, Starz Power Actress Donshea Hopkins, Singer and Actress, Beth Griffith-Manley from NBC’s “The Voice,” and Netflix Star Jimmy Gary Jr. from OITNB, just to name a few from her impressive roster of high-profile talent.

Check out in this exclusive interview of why the Founder and Editor-In-Chief started her brand, challenges in the media industry she’s faced, and what our readers at Sheen can expect from Whetstone in the future!

What inspired you to create a platform for Millenials to build, connect and share their stories?

The lack of resources of entrepreneurship that is advertised in the urban community.

What all does Leading With Lee Magazine provide for artists or entrepreneurs wanting exposure?

We do interviews, event recaps, phone sound cloud video, and Q&A on camera.

We are now introducing documentary-style videos, presenting a ‘day in the life of millennial entrepreneurs or business owners,’ as well as, teaching strategies on how to rebrand yourself or business.

What would you say distinguishes your Magazine from other Magazine platforms?

I promote people not known to be influential, they meet the criteria but not necessarily have the blue check or a certain amount of followers. I want to give everyone a chance. Create positive news, combined with entertainment while connecting with other people.

Are there some up and rising artist on the horizon that you have interviewed?

Yes, it’s so many but I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Haron Hargrave, he’s an athlete and youth leader. As well as, Joshua Walker, a Youth Leader and entrepreneur too!

Karyne Tinord, a Braiding specialist and brand & beauty expert and Gia Winfield, Founder of Purple Peach Nail Bar & Purple Peach Energy Drink!

Have you done any partnerships?

Yes, In 2017, I partnered with Funk Da Formular Magazine and The Boys & Girls Club.

Working with the youth is not easy, however, being that I am an introvert it has helped me step out of my element and get the youth’s attention.

What platforms have you been featured in and other platforms that you’d like to be featured on, in the future?

I’ve been featured in and For the future, I’d like to be featured on more editorial platforms or reach a televised audience, that we’d love to be recognized on and has a larger platform. I’d love to be featured on The Real, Essence Magazine, The View and Ebony Magazine. Like Jay-Z once said in his lyrics, “We don’t believe you, you need more people!” And that’s the mindset I have for my business.

With so many journalists and entertainment correspondents being very vocal and sharing their experiences about getting exclusive interviews from high-profile celebrities on the red carpet, would you say you have experienced this as an Editor-in-Chief of your own magazine or as a Brand Marketer to get your own platform recognized and featured on larger platforms?

Yes! A couple of times actually. When I’m rejected I like to think it wasn’t meant to be connected with their platform and they don’t understand my vision. However, it’s important for me to make a name for myself so the rejection drives me to want to do more. Other platforms don’t know Leading by Lee Magazine, so we have to show them. I don’t take it personal, often times I’ve had to learn that these people come back and decide they want to be apart of the movement.

What’re some 2019 goals or long term goals for your publication?

I want to expand as a multimedia company, partner with other businesses as well as teach people how to share their story. I want to develop an app, which would become the go-to resource to learn ways on how to build your brand.

For those individuals who are interested in red carpet corresponding, gaining hands-on experience and learning more about the media industry does Leading with Lee Magazine offer internships?

Yes! I currently have an In-house fashion blogger but we are always looking for bloggers, photographers, writers, hosts. We coordinate and provide necessary documents with colleges to assure the student receives school credit.

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All images by Matthew Shields | provided by Divine Influence PR