Today, I tell other women to chase their dreams. To carve out space for themselves and for others just like them. Start a business. Start a podcast. Start a blog. Start a campaign for office. Start a protest against an injustice that you see. Whatever it is, at whatever age, wherever you are...just do it, because we are the ones we've been waiting for.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means forging into spaces where capacity is needed to benefit the people and causes around you. To me, leadership also means absorbing the blame and deflecting the praise to accomplish a goal. It has even meant speaking up even when it is uncomfortable or alienating.
Who has influenced your idea of leadership?
My idea of leadership is influenced greatly by icons like John Maxwell, Malcolm X, Shirley Chisholm, Sheryl Sandberg, and my late grandmother, Florence Neal. They are people who have inspired me through their words or actions to challenge myself to be more uncomfortable, humble, tenacious, and resilient. I have always been an avid reader and public speaker, growing from oratory contests and beauty pageants into activism and political campaign management. The books and works of these leaders shaped the lens I have used to guide my evolution as a leader.
Why do we need more women in leadership roles? What do they add to the table?
I think we need more women in leadership roles not only because women are impacted by the decisions being made but because women (and especially women of color) are so often underrepresented. Women bring with them a diversity of thought and a realm of empathy and compassion that has for too long been lacking in many spaces. Women add a relational element to every leadership dynamic that is a powerful conduit for change and open-mindedness.
How are you leading in your career/community?
These days, I am leading in my career as a Public Affairs Specialist and Lobbyist for my firm. I have the unique pleasure of helping my clients tell their stories, connect with their communities and see accountability by their elected officials. In my community, I am first and foremost a mother and simultaneously a proud activist for the causes that sit closest to my heart. I am a founder of Equity PAC, a statewide political action committee that supports equity-minded candidates and ballot initiatives for office; as well as Founder of the fast-growing Black & Brown Cannabis Guild offering advocacy, network, and guidance to entrepreneurs while championing expungement and social equity initiatives across the state.
I also love the outdoors and yoga and serve on the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Board for the city I am supporting incredible women who are running for office like Milinda Ysasi in my community and really proud to be hosting an Expungement Resource Fair on September 28, 2019 at Linc Up (1167 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids) from 10am-2pm. This is the work that changes lives and communities and it's been such an honor.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would love to share with any woman reading this who questions if the next bold step into leadership is for her, that it is. I never would've taken the bigger dive into entrepreneurship and leadership if it wasn't for all of the supportive people who reaffirmed me, who heard how unhappy I was in situations with men around me who silenced my voice, took advantage of my gifts or ignored my demands for respect and told me to 'just do it'. Today, I tell other women to chase their dreams. To carve out space for themselves and for others just like them. Start a business. Start a podcast. Start a blog. Start a campaign for office. Start a protest against an injustice that you see. Whatever it is, at whatever age, wherever you are...just do it, because we are the ones we've been waiting for.
What is the best way for someone to contact you?
People can contact me at email@example.com or check me out on social media at Denavvia K Mojet (LinkedIn/Facebook) or @mizzmojet (Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter).
Michigan ATHENA is a program dedicated to developing, supporting, and honoring women leaders throughout Michigan. This program is part of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Foundation initiatives. To find out more about this program please visit us at www.michamber.com/ATHENA
If you have any questions or would like to nominate someone to be featured in our #LeadLikeAWoman series please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org