Can you name another woman, who had an impact on you as a leader?
Yes. Kathryn Finney. She’s simply amazing. People would usually say Oprah, but Kathryn is doing phenomenal things for Black and Brown women in the tech fields. I think her work is dope. She started an organization called Digital Undivided. She did a study to prove that Black and Brown women are not getting their fair share of capital in the startup world. First, she did the research, created a report called #ProjectDiane, and then she found money to create a conference. It was one of the biggest tech conferences for diversity. Then she started helping other women entrepreneurs launch their projects. That’s a leader. She found a problem, then created a solution.
What is your vision of a leader?
Somebody who sees a problem and creates solutions. A leader has the ability to bring their vision to completion.
What are your current goals?
I think of myself as a starter. I like to find a problem and create a solution. Then I encourage another person to run with the project. For example For Black Girls, I started the website, and I created the documentary. Now a woman in Boston does a whole conference around my documentary called Beautiful Me Conference. When I saw a problem with grief in my community in Lancaster [Pennsylvania], then my church started their own grief group. The Beautiful Me Documentary also started a huge event in Lancaster called The Lancaster Teenage Girl’s Summit.
There’s a quote that Kathryn Finney loves that guides her, it’s from Marianne Williamson “When I let my light shine bright, it gives other people permission to let their light shine.” This current project, The Family Defined, is one that I want to work on and grow. It’ll be a platform where people celebrate people that they love.
With my book [The Book of Sunshine], I wanted to do it and complete it. I did it and I’m done. People say it’s a good book. I think the book is fabulous because it’s transparent. I didn’t hold anything back, and I was the real me.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken?
When I saw this question all I could think of is what do I regret, and I don’t regret anything. Every night I go to sleep hoping that I am going to wake up. Other than that there is no bigger risk.
What is one thing that you wish you’d done differently?
I don’t wish to do anything differently. Life is a journey. People say if I could do it over, I would do XY and Z, but then you wouldn’t be who you are. We are supposed to make mistakes and have failures. I am good with it all. I needed it all to be who I am. I don’t have any regrets. I thank God for his grace, and I think everything will work out for my good. If I take out a piece of my story, it’s not going to benefit me. I need it all.
How do you stay motivated?
Depends upon the day. Depends upon the moment. I stay motivated because we all have purpose. Everyone has a purpose. When I connect to who God has made me to be and what he wants me to do, then how can I not be motivated. I just think to myself this is what I was born to do. As long as I stay connected to God and feel God directing me then I am motivated. When I lose motivation, that’s because I lost sight of where God is taking me. Then I know I need to breathe and ground myself and get that motivation back. I know that I am here for a PURPOSE. I don’t have to be on a grand scale to make change. I can be where I am and who I am and still make a huge impact on this world. I don’t have to be Oprah level. I don’t have to be Kathryn level. I need to be Ruby’s level. I never compare myself to them, because that is their purpose. When I stay grounded and focus in on my purpose then I’m good. I don’t even need a Red Bull, I’m good.
What is your measure of success?
It’s simple. Completion. It has nothing to do with how much money I have or how much money I don’t have. Completion. Whatever I feel that God is directing me to do. Whenever I finish it, I feel successful. I don’t have to sell a million books. It would be great. But just completion.