Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lived there till I was 7. Don’t fight me. Cleveland till I die.
Education: Hathaway Brown School for Girls :) and Emory University in Atlanta for Psychology and Global Health. Also Hondros College for Real Estate Sales Education. License in progress.
Current Occupation: Neighborhood/Resident Services Manager at Famicos Foundation Community Development Corporation.
Other Interests: I like to travel and I love public art! Doesn’t matter where! I recently made it a goal of mine to go to an art museum/ public art display everywhere I go and so far I’ve been to art museums in most major cities and even a bunch of local ones. I love wine! I also work at the CLE Urban Winery a few days of week serving, bottling and tasting great local wine. I am a member of Emory’s Cleveland Alumni Chapter and will be working to organize another community service event for Cleveland area alums.
3 Words that Describe You: Practical, Motivated, Stubborn | Runner ups: Optimistic, Warm-hearted, Honest
People would be surprised if they knew: I love being alone. I don’t get my energy from other people and I am actually really great at entertaining myself. The fact that a lot of people know me and I used to spend a lot of time around a lot of people is really misleading.
What is your most rewarding accomplishment? To date, I’d say it would be securing a job that I love working in the neighborhood I grew up in to affect change.
How do you define success? Success is something so personal. I define it really as living with few regrets, consistently growing through every experience and doing what makes you feel good! I could give a list of the goals I’ve made for my life, but we would be here all day while I navigate which ones I’ve achieved or which ones are in progress. I’ve been able to do very impactful things that have continuously made my heart full. I believe that I can do more every day and I strive to do more every day. I think that’s a great measure of success.
What is your passion/purpose and why? This is also a hard one to nail down. I am passionate about so much but if I had to, I’d say it is very important to me live with the purpose in mind that I am never limiting myself by taking advantage of as many opportunities and experiences that work to outwardly express all the things that I am passionate about! With that in mind and thinking backwards, I think this naturally points to my passion for people and doing meaningful things with people in mind. People are the ultimate asset. Building great relationships are important to me and being able to turn those relationships into bridges that connect people to other people, ideas to bigger ideas and programs into holistic experiences that benefit everyone is even more important. I think effectively doing that will keep me energized and steadfast as I work to change the world. Truly, I am passionate about being a part of the new age Justice League. We do dope stuff, we have real lives and hobbies, its cooperative and our goal is always bring hope, inspiration and of course justice. It’s a balancing act.
If you could meet anyone (dead or alive), who would it be and why? These are really hard questions :( I have three off the top of my head consider my readings and travels as of late: Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara and Leonardo da Vinci with Mona Lisa. Mostly on this list, I’d say Che. I recently took a trip to Cuba and before I went, I spent a lot of time learning about the government we were taught was wrong and immoral. Che was a young doctor and revolutionist who worked with Fidel to overturn old Cuban government and lead the Cuban Revolution. Che wasn’t even from Cuba! He spent time working to travel the world and starting very radical revolutions to restore hope for the voiceless and raise activism. Though not exactly the life course I plan on leading, I think Che had some early valuable lessons for the “woke” generation and how to bring people who feel like they have no power together to fight for what they believe in.
What is one thing you always wanted to try and never did? I consider myself a bit of a daredevil so most of the things like jumping out of a plane and doing the world’s longest zip line are really in progress but really one thing I’ve always wanted to try and never have that might seem not as rambunctious as some other answers, is really travel to another country alone. I travel a lot alone in the first place, but I feel like a step outside of my comfort zone would be to go to the other side of the world by myself and be okay for a few weeks. I consider myself so independent and have not overcome this small fear of leaving the US alone for a sustained amount of time.
What do you like to do for fun? Everything! I am like a fun queen. I love music so any live music tickles my little fancy. I will be attending 2348 concerts this summer. Catch me on your local tour stop. I also really recently have started to make everything fitness related fun. I have been on a journey to let my true self shine and part of that was a self-love series that included me shedding like 30 pounds of dead weight. Since then, I run daily which I actually really enjoy and I am half-marathon training right now.
I also have been trying a new “fun and fit” thing every month. I will be doing pole fitness and aerial lyra hoop yoga this month. Next month, I have rock climbing on the schedule and in the summer I have a slew of things on the books including horseback riding, the NEOCYCLE bike ride and an acrobatics class. I changed my mind, I really want to be a superhero, but I really want to be in the circus at some point in my real life :)
What was the last book that you read? There Goes the ‘Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up – Lance Freeman
If you could change one world problem, what would it be and why? Systematic racism. It is extremely important that we pay attention to and address issues around equity and inclusion in our country. By making systems more equitable for people of color, everyone benefits. Now I know this is a bold audacious thing that I want to change since our country was founded on the backs of people of color across the board, but, given a magic wand, I would work to equalize the playing field for the new generation of children of color and give them a fair chance at equitable education, success, homeownership, and wealth building that generations before have not be afforded. This progress is so important.
What advice do you have for other Melaninated Queens out there? Stay grounded. Find something you love and keep with it. No one can take away your passion and purpose. Also keep love in your heart. So many people exist in hate and its draining and annoying and there’s nothing positive that comes out of hate. Move past the negative, live in the positive and you’ll be okay.