Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Let's begin with this: I never in my dreams anticipated that I would move from the non-profit world of education and administration to co-owning a business whose purpose is to help women shape the conversations with themselves and others to have a HEALTHy and WELLthy journey. However, if there is one thing I have learned in life, it's to be open to my inner voice when it says "You've done enough here; there is something else for you on the horizon". As a new co-owner of She’s It, LLC, I now have the tremendous honor of being Vice President and Editor-and-Chief of our 15 ELM Conversation Channels through which we work diligently for our readers and writers to ELM... Engage, Learn and be Motivated.
How would you define your professional mission?
My professional mission has mirrored my personal commitment to do what I can to shape the attitudes and mindsets of those who hold more power and authority to include rather than exclude “those left out” of society’s institutions. With the current political climate, I feel now more than ever that it's time for women to be "all-in." She's It LLC, as a lifestyle technology and content media company, will do its part to support women in all areas that matter.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
This trajectory has been memorable in many ways, but none so much as what I was able to accomplish for an African American college student before she succumbed to cancer. In the world of higher education, honorary doctorate degrees are traditionally given to those who bring visibility and status. I saw an opportunity to expand the conversation to include giving an honorary bachelor’s degree for this student who demonstrated more than the qualities and “standards” usually identified. Beginning with a letter to the President and with much, much back and forth; including with this student’s pastor, mother and college Dean, at the last moment my request… our request... was granted. In reading her journey to the audience, and the President’s conferral of the degree, there wasn’t a dry eye nor seated person in the house. Two weeks later she died. I can’t express how much this meant to her, her mother and those she loved. I was and am still very humbled to have been a part of this young woman’s life.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I knew enough in high school that I would be a teacher, but somewhere, somehow, I also knew deeper inside that I wouldn’t always be one. From there to now, I’ve followed my inner guide to positions and roles I never dreamed of – administrator, professor, department chair. Then the election and Women’s March… and here I am, co-owning company for women. Never say never!
Who are your role models?
My role models have been regular people who saw me and my needs at times that were critical. I could not have gone far in my education if it wasn’t for individuals helping me find scholarships and jobs, paid internships and graduate assistantships. Through grant writing for teaching scholarships and philanthropic endeavors, I hope I’ve paid back in some measure what I’ve been given.
What is your morning ritual?
I have adapted to the time needs of the various positions I have held; so sometimes that means a quick wash, dress and out the door to having a leisurely wake-up. I know it’s supposed to be good to have a breakfast in the morning, but perhaps because of how I grew up; meals haven’t been a place for reflection. I like driving for that. I also like long showers, so most mornings are not the best time.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
I am a high-energy learner who has a growth rather than a fixed mindset. I learned early that a fixed mindset causes much turmoil and even grief. If any person has only one vision of what reality is, or what possibilities are; or what can or cannot happen; then that boxes in not only the particular person, but also the persons who happen to be in his or her sphere of influence.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I have received much satisfaction from what I was do professionally, so in that way I am fortunate. However, I have made room for gardening and hiking and poetry. Poetry was a late life addition as I began to write to make sense of my younger years. Hiking was on hiatus for a very long time until more recently. I’ve found that I love to hike for the pleasure of it. So, I imagine I will do more of it!
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Companies for and about women need to be led by women; and many are not. I think today’s politics opens many doors for women to find their place to stand, and to uplift all women. You can begin in any industry! What it will take to succeed is no real secret... persistence, guts, and willingness to collaborate and include, rather than compete with or ignore, all women.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
Rarely do I recall women (including me!) speaking from what truly matters to them. Becoming an Ellevate Executive Council member, however, has been nothing short of invigorating. In addition to participating in monthly Ellevate gatherings in Philadelphia and the suburbs, I’ve attended two meetings in New York City, the latest one being the Diversity Summit. Truly it has opened my world to many more voices of women sharing their time and commitments to become more visible in their worlds and it has made my commitment to She’s It even more compelling.