Washington state book club gets a surprise from Michelle Obama

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SEATTLE --  It’s not every day that you get a personal invitation to sit down with a former First Lady.

For one Seattle woman who started a local book club, a meeting with Michelle Obama has put her in the spotlight.

Just one week after following her dreams and launching a book club, Lestraundra Alfred says she got an email seemingly out of the blue.

“I received an email from the publishing team for [Michelle Obama's book] 'Becoming' asking if we would like to do it again, having Mrs. Obama joining us,” Alfred explained.

The Seattle native created The Balanced Black Girl Podcast last fall and then expanded to create a local book club in January to form a sense of community.

“We obviously all spend a lot of time on our screens and on our phones connecting virtually, but not as much connecting in person,” said Alfred. “I thought that by focusing on a book club with black women authors it could be an amazing way to connect us with our culture and with each other.”

Little did she know that connection would lead to a conversation with former First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I just finished having a great conversation with some women who belong to the Balanced Black Girl Book Club,” Mrs. Obama said in an online post. “We had an amazing conversation about what it means to have balance in one’s life.”

On Sunday before making a stop at The Tacoma Dome for her "Becoming" book tour, Mrs. Obama met with the Balanced Black Girl book club at the Tacoma Public Library.

“She is like talking to a girlfriend who has really great advice,” said Alfred. “So everyone was jumping in with questions related to stories in the book. 'Hey, I’m going through this similar to what you did, do you have any advice? How would you handle this?'”

Since meeting with the former first lady, traffic to Lestraundra’s website and social media pages skyrocketed with interest people from across the country. For the entrepreneur who took a leap of faith, it’s a story she hopes serves as inspiration to others and an experience she won’t forget anytime soon.

“The whole experience has really taught me that there are so many other women who feel the same way who want to connect, and that I’m not different,” Alfred said. “I’m a lot like others it’s just all about us finding one another and connecting.”

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