As a company, we are committed to offering high-quality programming that will help you—the edgy mom—accomplish the impossible. We will do this while honoring your entire journey, using our “nothing’s wasted” approach. While your pathway to entrepreneurship, the C-suite, becoming a doctor…and raising your child(ren) may look different from more “traditional” ones, we identify, extract and apply value from the route you took. And we help you build a strategy for success the quest you’ve come from as much as it honors the one you are on. In exchange, we ask that you believe in your ability to do the impossible…and that you put in the work to make it happen…With this pact, let’s be bad moms who do extraordinary things!
Long before Infamous Mothers existed as a business, it was a concept that I created for my PhD dissertation. As a graduate student, I had fallen in love with feminism, motherhood studies and rhetoric. I began applying these lenses to the literature I was reading, and I realized that I wanted to see mothers like me represented with more depth and complexity. I wanted to see the teen mother or the recovering addict or the single mother or the divorcee as women who could save the day…as women who could be heroes in our society. And it was important to me that their heroism wasn’t just about overcoming their own personal struggle. It had to be about that AND saving a community, a nation or a world.
In literature, this woman had to be more than an outlaw…she had to be infamous. She had to be someone who had been seen as both morally deviant or reprehensible AND as someone who was integral to stopping a genocide, changing policy, sparking a revolution.
As I began crafting this concept for my research, I presented it to the world in the form of the Infamous Mothers website. On it was what became known as the Infamous Mothers manifesto. Soon after, we became an formal LLC, published a book, delivered a TEDx talk, went on tour, and opened for Women’s March - Madison. Over time, we put on our first annual conference, The Talk Back, and brought to theater a stage adaptation of the Infamous Mothers coffee table book; it sold out opening night.
In 2019, we presented to the world Infamous Mothers 2.0—a culmination of all the lessons we learned from the time of our inception to the current day. The first biggest lesson was that we had to expand the infamous mothers concept to include mothers who are pushing boundaries in private and at work. They are the women who innovate and challenge ideas of what a mother can and should be. Like us, they are the troublemakers, defiant and rebellious ones. They are infamous.
The second biggest lesson we learned is that our work had to be about more than telling our stories. It had to be about creating media, technology and programming that remove barriers for mothers, invite them to grow and stand at their full height and help create a world that sees the value of supporting this expansion.
While our current world is evolving when it comes to making space for women, it still has a lot to learn when it comes making room for women who are both mothers and badasses (in private and public). The IM process is about taking our women to another world, one that promotes their “bigness.”
Welcome to the Third Space…our Spaceship
They get to our new world (our programming) via the technology we both create and license:
Infamous Mothers University
our virtual co-working space
IM Life app (coming in 2020)
Together, these three “properties” come together to create the Third Space Campus. We call it the Third Space because it is the virtual place that allows you to be both at home and at work. Because it’s virtual, it removes barriers associated with daycare, time and location. This means a mother could be at home cooking and being in the same space with her children while also getting the personal and professional development that changes improves the quality of their lives.
For companies, we call it The Third Space because it is a place where employees can talk about both their personal and professional goals regarding starting and expanding their families, negotiating salaries and strategies around upward mobility without worrying about backlash.
We also call the Third Space our spaceship because it takes every woman that enters it to another world—the world of Infamous Mothers programming. In this world, women and mothers are invited to grow, develop and expand to the biggest and best version of themselves. We offer hybrid courses like Love + Business, Writing Boot Camps for Mothers and the Infamous Mothers Signature Series that focus on both personal and professional development training. We do this because we know that as much as traditional models of professionalism is invested in keeping the personal out of the workplace, the divide between the two is an artificial one.
We also know that by strategically using aspects of the personal to inform and grow the professional, women can show up in the world fuller, more complete and more empowered.
Mothers pend time with us on our “planet” so that that can gain the skills and confidence needed to negotiate higher salaries or so that they can gain coaching around completing their book or so that they can have a safe space to build their business. As much as we love spending time with our clients, watching them grow and thrive, we know that we have successfully done our jobs when they go back to the “old world” and change it—making it more equitable for women and mothers in whatever ways they see fit.
We facilitate that process through our media. We write books, create social media content, produce documentaries—along with many other things—because we want want the old world to see how truly badass the new world is. We want to inspire them to join our movement.
There really is an “Infamous Mothers way.” At the core of everything we do is four pillars:
One of the biggest anxieties women caring for children struggle with is building an “authentic mothering practice” that honors her humanity—her womanhood, dreams, ambitions, hurts, and triumphs—as much as it honors her children’s or partner’s. Our programming includes mothers a the center of their practice. We often say, “While the rest of the world cares for children, we take care of moms.”
I remember watching one of my favorite motivational speakers talk about working with businesses and sports teams. And I thought to myself, “Well, hell, who inspires me? When it comes to raising all these kids alone, who is showing up to inspire me?” I began paying attention to all the tired, overworked, overwhelmed and burned out moms around me. And I knew that the Infamous Mothers brand’s work had to be about positively moving other mothers to create, act or move on their dreams, goals and ambitions. And I knew we had to do it in a way that felt very specific to them and their journeys…because mothering is hard…pursuing your dreams while being a mother is hard. Everyday, someone should be pushing and reminding women that they matter, their caretaking matters, and so does their ideas and purpose. Why not us?
Everywhere we went, women told us they felt isolated and lonely. They told us stories about how they paced the floor at 3 am, stressed and overwhelmed about life, work, and family. They talk about not having anyone to talk to…and how no one understood. It became very clear to me that one way we could remedy this is to bring everyone together and to build community around goals, dreams and problem solving.
Audre Lorde say that for women, particularly black women, taking care of ourselves is not a luxury, it is an act of rebellion, a revolutionary act. I’ve noticed that for Infamous Mothers, myself included, self care is the first thing that’s abandoned in the day-to-day work of managing everything between a household and a company. Whether we put are grinding hard to reach a goal and believe that putting ourselves last is a short-term sacrifice or we believe that martyrdom is “good mothering,” the reality is there is no mothering with out us. We are not the sacrifice. Sacrificing ourselves does not serve us, our families or the work. In fact, it undermines everything we are trying to accomplish. It teaches our daughters to be martyrs. It makes mothering unsustainable. It robs us our humanity. Self-care is non-negotiable. And we offer you the tools, community and resources to makes it easier to make you a priority.
Dr. Sagashus T. Levingston was born in Chicago and raised in the area now known as Bronzeville. She holds a bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of Illinois. She also holds a master’s in Afro-American Studies and a PhD in English literature—both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While her research focused primarily on literature, it was informed by theory and criticism from rhetoric, motherhood studies and black feminism. Her coffee table book, simply titled Infamous Mothers, is inspired by this work and so is Infamous Mothers, LLC. Sagashus and the Infamous Mothers brand has been recognized in several publications, including Demeter Press (the premiere publishing house for motherhood/mothering research), BRAVA Magazine, the Wisconsin State Journal, Forbes and Essence Magazine. She is a highly sought-after speaker, educator and consultant. Dr. Levingston, or Dr. Sagashus—as she is often called—is a proud button-wearing member of the Doyenne Group, Inc. located in Madison, WI. She also sits on the WWBIC South Central Ambassadorial Advisory Committee. As the proud mother of six children—three boys and three girls, she and her family lives in Madison, WI.
As brand Ambassador and secondary shooter, Subversive Black Girl Artist, I am an integral part of the Infamous Mothers team. I consider myself to be a modern day griot, telling stories that redefine and re-appropriate "BLACK AMERICANA," highlighting and finding beauty in the contradictions, pain and pride within "our stories" and thus hoping to discover and re-claim the beauty within my own. To me the art and the artist are one. As I seek to unlock and express what is contained in my own heart and to heal and celebrate my own beauty and spirit. The art will speak to who it needs to.
Ronald (Ron) Dews Jr. is the Marketing and Technology Director for Infamous Mothers. In this role, Ron is leading Infamous Mothers through its digital transformation, with Infamous Mothers Third Space via Infamous Mothers University (IMU), its virtual co-working space and the IM Life app, increasing digital information technology operations.
Ronald’s experience within the IT industry spans more than 20 years. Before joining Infamous Mothers, Ronald was the Manager of Professional Services at Xerox Corporate and HCL Technologies and was responsible for information management, global accounts, marketing communications, and business transformation. He has developed over 40 products and has 2 US patents.
Ronald received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems degree from the Xavier University of Louisiana and holds a Master of Science degree in Strategic Marketing from Roberts Wesleyan College in New York. He is also Lean Six Sigma certified.
Photographer and experienced multi-disciplinary creative Chris Charles always had the desire to make things. From childhood comic book illustrations, to using his parent's 35mm camera to discover and explore his passion for photography as a child, to having his paintings displayed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art as a 2nd grader (true story), Chris always had a knack for making the most out of very little. Now residing in North Carolina, Chris currently enjoys crafting visuals for his many local and national clients.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY with dreams of becoming an architect, Chris studied Architectural Engineering at SUNY Farmingdale College of Technology prior to a "short" 12 year stint as a US Army Paratrooper. After some years in the private sector as an IT professional Chris then earned a degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham and has been able to use his technical training and natural ability to successfully carve a niche for himself in his local market. Be it full branding, photography or collateral design for corporate marketing campaigns, Chris has become well known for being a craftsman who doesn't mind getting dirty to accomplish the objective at hand. Chris' client list includes Red Bull, Spike Lee, Moleskine, The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Sony / Warner Brothers Music, Durham County, and many local and nationally recognized artists.
Constantly looking to create art that will continue to inspire both himself and others, Chris’ goal is to continue to be a leader in personal and professional brand development by combining the technical tools of the trade with raw artistry that will transcend the times.
Chris is the visual creative director behind the Infamous Mothers brand.