From the courtroom to the runway, nothing is going to slow this jet setting entertainment attorney down. We talk with St. Louis native Lisa Bonner, Esq. about her multifaceted career, exotic travel adventures and her keys to success.
Tell us about a day in the life of Lisa Bonner, Esq.
I begin each day with a moment of gratitude before my feet hit the floor -- thanking God for waking me up and ordering my steps, blessing me and my family and keeping us safe and healthy. I make mate tea with almond milk, and then I do my formal meditation, and journaling, which sets my day and hones my vision for my life.
My day consists of negotiating contracts, speaking and counseling with clients on deal terms, strategizing on their projects and next steps.
But my life is multifaceted, so it’s not only about their life as my clients, but also about my life and the many balls I have in the air that I have to juggle. So, I carve out a period in the day where I work on MY projects -- researching points for an article that I am writing, preparing questions to interview someone who is going to be on my podcast or planning and mapping out my vision for Lisa Bonner.
I also work out about 4-5 days a week. Any given day you may find me taking a reformer class (Pilates), doing yoga or my favorite form of cardio…kickboxing!
As an entertainment attorney, what would you say you love the most about your field?
Seeing a project that I worked on with a client come to fruition. There is something satisfying when you see your client’s vision come to fruition and you can say, “We did that!”
In addition to practicing law in California and New York, you’ve also work as a TV and radio correspondent, public speaker, podcaster, writer, film producer and have also worked as a college instructor at UCLA. How do you balance your diverse career?
You said the right word…balance. I know that I am blessed to have such a diversified career, but I have also been very intentional about the clients and projects I choose so I am not wasting time with people or projects that frustrate me and throw off my energy. It’s about making smart choices and time management. I have a gold star in time management and also keep an old fashioned, handwritten “To Do” list and check the items off as I complete them.
I am also fortunate to have an awesome assistant Monica, who has been with me for four and half years. She keeps my calendar, expenses, and essentially helps keep me on point. No woman is an island--we all need a Girl Friday!
What inspired you to expand your career in those other fields?
At some point, you wake up and realize that there’s more to life than what you are currently doing. It’s fearful to step out and to expand your career. I realized a few years back with the help of friends that I didn’t want to push paper for the rest of my life. I also think this emanated from seeing that my success in law helped open other doors for me. It was a natural progression. I am not and have never been the “Struggle Girl,” so I know my limitations. I can’t draw, but I can write. I am not naturally creative, but I can tell a story and craft a narrative. So, I think it’s about doing what comes naturally, based on your talents and interests and honing those God given talents.
Out of all of your career endeavors, which would you say is your passion?
It’s hard to pick one, but traveling is definitely a passion, as is writing.
What do you enjoy writing about the most.
Well different things. If I am writing an Op-Ed piece, it’s about the ability to deconstruct an issue and telling it like it is…from my point of view. I’m from St. Louis so around the time of Michael Brown’s murder, I was able to give a first hand opinion of why the facts unfolded like they did. Understanding the dynamics of my hometown, and how the oppression and institutional racism lead to the unfortunate events unfolding the way that they did.
On the other hand, if it’s travel writing, I love delving into the history of a place, taking public transportation and getting to know the locals. I like bringing the reader along with me, making them feel like they were there, and inspiring people’s love of travel. I have been to some obscure places (Beirut, Myanmar. Sri Lanka) to name a few—places where many people haven’t been, and I love when the feedback comes in the form of, “Wow, that was dope, maybe I should go there next!” YES, you should!
For those of you who love to travel, check out Lisa’s blog GirlOnTheFly.tv you’ll find everything from travel guides to the most amazing photos – making you think you were on the trip yourself. And for you legal eagles, you can check out Laws of Entertainment
What are your keys to success?
Prayer, visioning, time management, skills and God’s grace.
Have you thought about mentoring young women or have you ever been asked to?
I mentor young women all of the time. For 8 years, I was the Executive Director of BWEL, Black Women in Entertainment Law Foundation, a 501 c3 that I co-founded with a few other women entertainment lawyers. I still regularly take time to speak to and counsel young women, because we all need a little help and inspiration.
What is your advice to women who are just starting in their careers and those who are looking to reinvent themselves?
For those who are starting their careers, I say be humble and do the work. I think the problem with this generation is everybody can be a star on social media, because you are telling your own story. But you can’t fake the funk in real life. In law, especially, don’t bite off more than you can chew because you are risking your license (and livelihood) and possibly destroying someone’s career by not knowing and taking something on that you are not prepared to handle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and my favorite, is know your limits—know what you don’t know!
To those who are reinventing themselves: Realize that it takes time. You have to be humble. I went from the top of my game in entertainment law to being a relatively unknown in the field of journalism. My mantra is #DoTheWork and know that it takes time; be patient. Look for mentors, put yourself out there and if this is your calling, your Personal Legend…to quote Paulo Cohelo in The Alchemist, “If you want something enough, all the Universe will conspire to make it happen.” Just have faith.
With all that you do, how do you take time for you – how do you balance your mind, body and spirit?
You have to make time. You have to take care of self first. If that means getting up thirty minutes earlier to commune with God, to work out…just do it. There is a reason that the airlines tell you to secure your oxygen mask first. If you can’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of others.
What do you do for fun?
HA! That’s part of the balance too! I love a good book. I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. When I was 6, (unbeknownst to my parents) I filled out and mailed the subscription card to Highlights. My mother wondered how a subscription just showed up in my name. When I fessed up, all she could do was laugh and appreciate that she had an avid reader on her hands, and my love for reading hasn’t stopped since.
I also LOVE to travel. I like to entertain, and have people over my house. I can make a mean cocktail, and I can cook! I also love just spending time with my girls. I am always skeptical of girls who say, “I don’t have a lot of girlfriends.” I run the other way…. Yeah, I am girl’s girl, so we probably can’t be friends.
What are your top three products in your ultimate beauty arsenal – what can’t you live without? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
A bright lipstick, is a staple NARS Red Square Velvet Matte Lip Pencil.
Any La Prarie facial product. It’s an expensive line, but we will spend money on clothes and shoes, so we need to get in the mindset of using good, proven products as we age (gracefully). You have to invest in your face, or your “money maker” as they call it in kickboxing.
Sunscreen is essential. Father Time is unforgiving. Those UVA and UVB rays are indiscriminate, so you gotta fight fire with fire. My favorite is Murad's Invisiblur, which has a 30 SPF with a built in primer. It will change your life!
To keep up with Lisa Bonner you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.