Tribal member Stacy Braiuca changed her career over the years. With two master’s degrees and four jobs, she focuses each day of the week on something different. She recently rebranded Braiuca Enterprises LLC, and her business now ties all her passions together in a comfortable space: her home office.
Located in Kansas City, her company received certification as a Missouri Minority and/or Woman Business Enterprise. Its website and Facebook page declare her an “Inspirer of futures. Creator of connections. Coach of productivity and creativity.”
Previously a social worker and therapist, Braiuca now works as an adjunct instructor for two universities, tutors students online and runs Braiuca Enterprises, teaching others technology and productivity skills. One of her favorite sayings to tell clients is “automate to liberate.”
“You automate the little stuff in your life, so that you can liberate your time to spend doing the important stuff, which is the relationships and creating and self-care and all of those things,” she said.
For Braiuca, productivity and automation go hand in hand. While showing others how to better delegate their time, Braiuca asks a series of questions to find out what holds them back. She believes people achieve efficiency in their own way.
“I start where they’re at and find out, ‘What do they want?’ A lot of it is with the technology; what do they want the technology to do for them? With the productivity, it would be, ‘What do you want to work better for you?’” she said.
Part of that includes helping her clients find digital tools such as the project management platform Trello and note-taking application GoodNotes to automate and shrink their workload. Braiuca offers a couple of classes on her website that spell out the basics.
“It’s not like you necessarily have to get rid of the ‘squirrels’ and shiny objects that are distracting you and keeping you away from your focus, but you have to cage them in such a way so that they’re there when you go back to look at them again,” she said.
A couple of methods she recommends include brain dumping and the Pomodoro technique. Brain dumping reduces anxiety and calms a racing mind by putting free-flowing thoughts into a more organized format, whether its pen and ink, a word document, a voice memo or something else. The Pomodoro technique solidifies concentration by creating 25-minute, uninterrupted work periods with three to five-minute breaks in between. After four 25-minute sessions, a 15 to 30-minute break comes next.
Collecting time and increasing productivity strengthens relationships as well assists with developing new ones. Braiuca incorporates these lessons into client curriculum.
“You can mold those back together and spend the half-hour with your family that you didn’t have,” she said. “Or by the end of the week, if you save all your shavings, you’ve got two or three hours.”
Braiuca also uses the time saved from productivity to spend with herself. She prioritizes self-care and enjoys watercolor painting, going out to watch her brother Scotty McBee’s bands, going to local powwows, and lampwork bead making (hot glass) as ways to focus and achieve balance between work and home.
She knows depression and suicidal ideations affect a large section of the population. Her online class Bite Sized Pieces, a Taste of Mental Health First Aid offers a broad overview of mental health literacy. It encourages people to take a substantive look at the issue and become first aid certified.
“In Indian Country, mental health is incredibly underfunded in the sense of programming, under acknowledged. Between domestic violence, suicide, depression and our Native women that are disappearing … there’s a lot going on,” she said.
Braiuca believes in what she calls a “biopsychosocial/spiritual model” of mental health, meaning an individual’s biological makeup, past influences, current support system and basis for hope all compose their stability and well-being. Exploring traditional Potawatomi spirituality as a Schroepfer family descendant became a significant part of Braiuca’s life.
“At about the same time, I was in school to become a social worker as well and was learning about things like historical trauma and boarding schools and different ways our culture had become way detached from us, basically. And it was a very interesting parallel journey,” she said.
Her “spirituality finally fit.” Braiuca learned more about her Native American ancestry, acquainting herself with distant relatives and attending powwows. In 2017, she created a podcast called Creative Connections. It encourages listeners to create their future through building relationships. She plans to produce new episodes this year as part of her company.
“I’ve refined it, I guess, over the last couple of years into what I really enjoy doing is that connection. I enjoy connecting people, and I’ve always been a translator and connector by nature,” she said.
Braiuca now primarily connects electronically. She works from home and spends her days on video calls and live chats, tutoring students, teaching classes, coaching clients and talking to friends. However, she attempts to remain productive, despite the temptation to stray.
“Being thoughtful and cognizant of what is your intention in using (technology) and what purpose is it serving you makes a difference,” she said. “If it’s not serving a purpose that you want to serve, then it can be very detrimental to you.”
Zoom Video calls and FaceTime allow her to notice people’s nonverbal cues and feels more natural than a phone call. Over the years, Braiuca formed strong friendships with people online and later traveled to meet them. She enjoys talking to a few people during the day that feel like co-workers.
Her online, long-distance friend Lindsay Badger reminds Braiuca to form boundaries and stick to a schedule. While working on building her business, students’ messages kept distracting Braiuca, but Badger encouraged her to remove the interruptions.
“She actually told me … ‘Turn that tab off. Turn the students off. You are not working on students today. You are working on you,’” Braiuca said.
Since many of her clients are unfamiliar with live streaming, she walks them through the connection process. Then, they transition to video calls for future meetings. She particularly enjoys bringing elders in touch with digital advances. In the late 1990s, she familiarized her grandfather, a disabled World War II veteran, with how to email and surf the internet.
“I taught him how to do that over the telephone, so he could connect with his war buddies so that he had the socialization. … My core passion is tied to having done that for him. And if I could do that with him, I could do it with anybody,” she said.
Through Braiuca Enterprises LLC, Stacy overlaps productivity, connection and technology in her ideal workspace. Assisting others develop that same space for themselves through her business remains her ultimate career goal.