By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published May 30, 2023 at 4:01 PM

OnMilwaukee's The Future Is Female series is brought to you by Alverno College and features some of the most interesting, innovative and intelligent women in the city.

Alverno College, for over 135 years, has strived to educate and empower women to realize their leadership, strength of voice and potential to lead in the working world. Alverno’s support of “The Future is Female” continues to showcase and exemplify these efforts by supporting the stories of grit, resilience and strength of character of present, past and future leading women in the Milwaukee community! #AlvernoStrong

Nyesha Stone is the founder of local media company Carvd N Stone

In 2018, Stone – who grew up on Milwaukee's Northwest Side – graduated from University Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in journalism. She was the first in her family to get a college degree as well as the first person in her family to own a business.

Carvd N Stone clients include Quad Graphics, Milwaukee Business Journal and may more. The business provides PR services, marketing, social media managing, event planning, consulting and branding. She also writes and publishes positive stories about the Black community on her website.

Prior to starting her compay, Nyesha worked for CNN, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Waukesha Freeman, Urban Milwaukee and the Shepherd Express. 

OnMilwaukee recently had the opportunity to chat with Stone and ask her eight questions based on the "8 Abilities" that all students achieve with an Alverno degree: Communication, Analysis, Problem Solving, Valuing in Decision-Making, Social Interaction, Developing a Global Perspective, Aesthetic Engagement and Effective Citizenship.

1. What does active listening mean to you? Do you consider yourself a good listener, and if so, how has this helped you in your personal and professional relationships?

Active listening is being able to fully hear someone. Not only hearing them but understanding them or at least trying to. It’s being intentional with your ears and making sure you are doing all that you can to hear what someone else is saying. In a way that makes them feel heard. Now, am I good at it? No. I like to talk first and listen last and that’s not a way to live. For the last two to three years, I have become aware of this issue and have been working on it. I have gotten better, but it is a learning curve for me. But once I really started actively listening, I noticed my relationships, professionally and personally, with others has grown and I’m starting to understand the world more. How funny is it that once you slow down, close your mouth and lead with your ears that you begin to know more of who you are and the world around you?

2. What was the last subject you were curious about and then pursued to learn more? How did you pursue it?

I am not sure if this counts as subject, but I am currently trying to learn how to be an effective leader. As I am trying to grow my business and expand our team, it’s essential that I learn how to be an authentic and transparent, but also understanding leader. I really never got any training on what it means to be a good and positive leader, so I’m actively reaching out to my network and joining programs to learn. At 26-years-old, it’s a lot to learn, but I’ve gotten this far. I’m currently pursuing this new challenge by being honest with myself and admitting that I really don’t know what a leader is.

3. If you can’t figure something out yourself, what source or person do you turn to first? How long do you wait before you ask for help? As a woman, do you think you wait longer to reach out?

I understood a long time ago that it’s impossible to know everything in the world. Since I know this, I am 100 percent okay and comfortable with reaching out for help. I don’t necessarily have one person I reach out to because each ask is different, so I look in my network to see who I believe would be the best fit to help guide me. Honestly, I’ve always been a curious person, since a child, and I guess that’s probably why I took the path of journalism.

Because of my curiosity, I have this burning ball inside me that craves to find answers to everything, so I know to do that I must ask questions, so I do. When I don’t know something, I am so quick to call on a friend, family member or someone in the professional world to help me out. I wish more people were comfortable with not knowing and not being afraid to admit that. As a woman, I think I have another level of being a boss, so no I don’t think me being a woman holds me back in anyway, especially when it comes to asking for help.

4. What are your personal values? Who and/or what inspired them and how do these values affect your decision-making process? 

This is a big question and a very personal one. But one of my personal values is to always be myself. I spent a lot of time in my childhood and even teenage years trying to figure out who I was, not realizing that I always know who I was. I would spend so much time trying to dim who I was because it made others doubt themselves because I was so confident in myself. So now that I know myself and love myself – it’s still a work in progress – I won’t let anything stop me from being Nyesha Stone. Because I am always genuine to myself, I can show up in rooms and make an impact. I am able to get my point across while still giving others the room to be themselves, too. Since I bring myself into every room I enter, I don’t have to try hard to fit in. This has helped me grow personally and in business. I have other personal values, but this is one I feel good sharing with the world.

5. Technology and on-line communication/meetings/social has definitely changed over the years. Do these things help or hinder your growth – or both?

I think it helped me tremendously in business. With so many negative things going on in the world, people dove to be surrounded in positivity which is what Carvd N Stone is all about. But when it came to me personally, I felt lonely a lot. I went from having in-person interviews and meetings every single day, multiple throughout the day to every single interaction being across a screen. At one point I really enjoyed it because I didn’t have to leave the house, but then I started to miss being around others. Now, I am getting myself back out there and going out when I feel comfortable. I refuse to let the new way of life stop me from being around others and getting that human touch we all so desperately need and have always needed.

6. Where is the furthest you’ve traveled and what is a thing or two you learned from the experience? And what surprised you?

I took myself to Hawaii for my 25th birthday in 2021. It was AMAZING. What I learned about that trip is that just go wherever you want in life. I also learned that life is not about how much money you make or the recognitions that you get. It’s about enjoying life for what it is and that’s being with nature, feeling the breeze and watching the sunrise. It’s riding bikes by the ocean and eating fresh sushi. I learned that I must do more with my life. I have a lot of big goals but those mean nothing if I don’t enjoy the journey.

One thing I was surprised about was how easy it was for me to stop working. I usually always make time to work but while I was there, I told myself no and it worked great. It had to be something in the air.

7. What are your favorite art forms? How do you challenge yourself to actively engage in the arts?

I love paintings. I have a mini art collection that I started back in high school. Art makes me feel so good and it really brings a home or space together. It starts conversations and it’s really cool paying for a piece and supporting small artists. It’s really not hard for me to be engaged with the arts because my older brother and nephew are artists themselves. They are always drawing or doing something creative, so it’s something I grew up with. I actually sponsored a mural in Milwaukee through Carvd N Stone. You can see CNS’ logo on the New State Building.

8. How do you/your work move Milwaukee forward?  

I created Carvd N Stone to promote positive stories of the Black community, specifically in Milwaukee. Although we’ve grown to be a national and global business, we will always push to make sure the best of Milwaukee is shown and supported. I am a Milwaukee native, from the North Side, so anything I can do to help my people out I will, and I really feel like I have been. Positive news is just the start for me and what I will do to help my city.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.