Lestraundra Alfred ’11 saw that women of color were disenfranchised in the wellness space, so she launched an online platform, including a podcast series, tailored just for them.The result has been an extraordinary point of connection.

Before she begins a new podcast interview, Lestraundra “Les” Alfred ’11 likes to start with the “review of the week.” In the “Kombucha for the Culture” episode, she reads a letter from a junior in college who says the podcast changed her life. “It’s nice to hear about wellness from a black girl, because the space is so white,” the writer says. “It’s nice to know that many black girls also feel like this, and there is a community. Keep up the good work—this podcast is honestly so important.”

This kind of love letter isn’t rare for Les, who founded Balanced Black Girl, a media company that encompasses a blog, podcast, book club, and weekly newsletter, in 2018 to make wellness more accessible and relatable to women of color. Within her first year, she gained more than 2,700 followers on Instagram and logged more than 50,000 podcast downloads. All of the podcast guests—an impressive lineup of entrepreneurs, life coaches, powerlifters, activists, therapists, and more—are women of color, and they speak directly to an audience who has been largely disenfranchised in the wellness space. For Les, Balanced Black Girl is an exercise in community-building and advocacy—and it’s also an astute business venture. As a savvy “side hustler” and a self-made media mogul, Les has managed to carve out a niche in wellness aligned with her values.