By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turning information into inspiration
Wildflower women: Dr. Raymona Lawrence
Raymona Lawrence

“Normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.”

Attributed to Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, this quote is a reminder that though taking the familiar route in life may seem easiest, a decision to travel the path less trodden can often lead to unexpected beauty and growth.

Dr. Raymona Lawrence is the very embodiment of this wisdom, as she forges her own path along a journey that is making a transformative difference, in Bulloch County and beyond.

With a recent promotion from associate professor to full professor in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University, Lawrence’s passion lies within the field of public health and community engagement, where she works to examine and address inequities faced by minority populations, such as those confronting African Americans living in rural populations. Of particular concern are those with chronic health conditions such as sickle cell, a disease with which Lawrence personally struggled early in life. It was this experience that fuels her self-described purpose of “challenging broken systems that prevent people from reaching their highest potential.”

Take, for example, a community in which diabetes is affecting a large and growing segment of the population. To address the issue, Lawrence would begin by considering “factors contributing to such a statistic, such as access, or lack thereof, to affordable, healthy food options, opportunities to safely engage in exercise such as walking, and other policy matters.”

This goal of helping others reach their full potential extends far beyond her work in public health, however. An engaging, highly sought-after speaker, coach and consultant in the areas of diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI), she is also founder and CEO of Raymona H. Lawrence Coaching, LLC, a software/systems as a service agency, or SAAS, created to help individuals and organizations build and foster a culture of DEI in the workplace “so they can authentically connect with, recruit and retain diverse networks of customers and team members.”

Raymona Lawrence

In addition, Lawrence has developed iEngageU, an online platform that serves as a one-stop shop for all business systems, offering services including lead generation (the process of attracting potential prospects to a business or service, with the ultimate goal of converting them to customers), SMS texting and phone services, funnel building (the process of engaging leads, prospects and customers in a timely and relevant manner, and then following up), website design, email marketing, social media management and more.

In her own words, Lawrence turns “information into inspiration,” and she’s certainly a dynamic force, gifted at making the experience both engaging and fun. A perfect example of this is her weekly podcast, formerly called The Inclusive Networker but recently rebranded as The Systems BoutiqueWith this new name, Lawrence likens her work of designing custom systems according to a brand’s unique style to that of a tailor, whose creations are made to fit like a glove.

Though the podcast, Lawrence offers her listeners and viewers practical advice that incorporates lessons she’s learned through her years of DEI training as well as her extensive knowledge and expertise about the back-end practices of business systems. These refer to the behind-the-scenes operations that are crucial to keep a business running but don’t require face-to-face customer interaction — things like human resources, accounting, data processing and more. By sharing workable action steps, she’s determined to teach small business owners — particularly women and minorities — how to put their training to work. 

Raymona Lawrence

“Take the example of a vehicle,” she said. “Your vehicle on the dash says it can probably go 120 (mph) or 140 (mph), but by our manmade limits on the road, the highest you can get is 70 (mph) … so we drive around on the road at half our potential because we follow the rules of man rather than (of) the manufacturer.”

Lawrence is a fierce challenger of this ingrained notion that working at half our potential is good enough, and of the busted systems that keep people from aiming higher.

“We are limitless, no matter what people have said we couldn’t do,” she said. “Too often we feel limited and don’t reach our potential.”

Outside of her flourishing career, Lawrence has been married to her husband, George, for 21 years, and the couple has two children, Geordan, 7, and Geonna (“GeGe”), 17.

More information about Lawrence and her work can be found here.