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Life & Work with Janae Ponder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janae Ponder.

Hi Janae, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I matriculated from head start all the way through to licensure as a licensed clinical social worker without any breaks in my educational journey. I suppose this is an indication that I am goal-driven and have been laser-focused on my journey. I am the oldest child and learned early on how to be autonomous, observant and that life would be tough. I knew that I had to be tougher.

I am a first-generation college student. I got to where I am due to intentional parenting from a single mother, that desperately wanted to develop children that would represent the best parts of her. I have had several titles on the pursuit to excel beyond stereotypes. Some of my titles have been honor roll student, student ambassador, sorority sister, advisor, counselor, medical social worker, program therapist, mental health therapist, senior case manager, social worker, licensed insurance agent, sales associate, and cashier. No title has ever been grand enough for me to forget who I am simply as Janae. Through this journey, I have never forgotten the simplest yet most important parts of my identity. I was raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL with beautiful beaches, crime, and a solid community. I started out at a locally notorious childcare center called Four Star where I learned the valuable lesson of consequences and connectivity. I advanced to Broward Estates Elementary School where I learned to “bee” the very best I could and never show up as ½ of myself. My journey continued to Sunrise Middle School, where a Montessori framework taught me how to explore and not to compare my gifts to the gifts of others. I entered Dillard High School, where I learned the true intricacies of life through exposure to a replica of the real world. I learned survival, tolerance, love, heartbreak, versatility, and the power of legacy. I continued to attend Bethune-Cookman University where I learned to value willful education and service to mankind.

At the University of Central Florida, I learned to be resourceful and how to connect to worlds outside of my own. I credit my mother and educational experiences for leading me to where I am now. I have learned from all the corners of my life and I have applied these lessons to the obstacles that I have been faced with. My eagerness to serve (Bethune Cookman University), not to show up as ½ of myself (Broward Estate Elementary School), to connect (Four Star Childcare Center), to use my gifts effectively (Sunrise Middle School), to never give up when it gets difficult (Dillard High School), and to never waste time (University of Central Florida) has gotten me to unimaginable places. I am an eternal learner. I have truly learned from every experience in my life and have used these lessons to create a professional life worth working. I am the proud owner of Life-Spire Counseling Services LLC in Deltona, FL, where I have been the only Black owned private practice and have now created a space for other Black clinicians to join me and serve those of all hues, sizes, and beliefs that are in desperate need of our services. My accomplishments are the direct consequences of my quest for knowledge during dark times when education was all that I could rely on.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Fear has been my greatest obstacle to date. Before opening my practice, I had been sitting on my talents and gifts for years. I was too afraid to expose my God-given powers because I was afraid they were too big. I had the most irrational thought that I was not as qualified as I was. Eventually, I got fed up and decided that my purpose to heal others was more necessary than my fear of possibly not being able to do it.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over ten years of experience in the areas of mental health and a variety of social work services. It is my passion to work with diverse populations and educate and empower communities, individuals, and families through psychoeducation. I use an effective blend of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help individuals move beyond behavioral patterns that cause significant impairment in personal functioning within their family, relationships, career, or school environment. It has been an honor to serve individuals from the age of 3 to 100 and help everyone live more meaningful lives. My preferred populations are adolescents and young adults living with mood disorders, trauma, stress, and/or anxiety.

What does success mean to you?
Success is simply deciding to never give up. January 25, 2015, I wrote a status on Facebook that aligns with my success philosophy. I wrote, “There were times in my life where I wasn’t the smartest. I was the most persistent and others didn’t know the difference.” If you never give up failure cannot exist.


  • $80 per individual session
  • $100 – $135 per couples session
  • $100 per family session

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kenneth Grant Inzpirations

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