#LeadLikeAWoman with Jayshona Hicks

Issues Specialist for the Executive Office of the Governor

As I reflect on my childhood, it was those experiences that formed my belief that women can be leaders in their careers and households, and that leadership is about creating an environment that enables people to succeed and reach their fullest potential.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership is being your authentic self and utilizing your talents, strengths, or gifts in a way that contributes to society and unite people in pursuit of a common goal. 

I think sometimes we get caught up in thinking that leadership is reserved for those few individuals who land in formal roles, such as CEO, team captain, or director. But for me, leadership is about setting an example for your social network, community, and colleagues that influences them to be the best version of themselves and add value to their lives. 

Who has influenced your idea of leadership?

I would have to say, my mom. My mom was a single, divorced, working mother that juggled a demanding job and family with few resources. She has been in retail management for over 30 years, which can be a pretty challenging field. Growing up, I would go to work with my mom sometimes and watch her create schedules, floor plans, and oversee the day-to-day operations of retail stores. She even taught me how to operate a cash register when I was only nine. 

At home, she created a space where anyone was welcome, and there was always room for one more person at the table. One of the very few rules I can remember was: “if you needed a place to stay, you are welcome to stay as long as you needed. But you are required to attend church with us on Sunday.”As I reflect on my childhood, it was those experiences that formed my belief that women can be leaders in their careers and households, and that leadership is about creating an environment that enables people to succeed and reach their fullest potential.

Why do we need more women in leadership roles? What do they add to the table?

Having more women in leadership roles breaks down our cultural and structural barriers and enhances diverse representation. Currently, we are dealing with a lot of social issues, including health care reform, education, immigration matters, gun violence, racism, and environment and climate change. For us to create practical solutions, we need leaders who can not only make tough decisions, but lead with compassion, empathy, and diplomacy, which are characteristics women can bring to the table. 

How are you leading in your career/community?

As an Issues Specialist for the Executive Office of the Governor, I interact with Michiganders every day, engage in outreach, and serve as a liaison between residents and state agencies, ensuring full resolutions to their problems. Through this work, I directly impact and enhance the lives of residents. 

Additionally, it is an honor to work for an Administration that is led by women and setting an example for the rest of the country. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, along with the women in our State House and State Senate are an example to so many girls that we are limitless in our potential. I am proud of the milestone to work for a state that is leading the way in ensuring that women are finally and appropriately represented in our government and are making powerful changes to our communities. 

Outside of work, I take every opportunity to educate my social network and family members on the importance of civic engagement. I think it’s important to encourage people to become more involved in the political process and the issues that affect their community. It empowers people to be change agents and masters of their own destiny. 

What is the best way for someone to contact you?

Hicksj10@michigan.gov or https://www.linkedin.com/in/jayshona-hicks-mpa-18bb3170/ 

 

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 akeimach@michamber.com