Regional Planner at the Michigan State Police Emergency Management & Homeland Security Division and Executive Director of Do1Thing
There are a lot of positions that are underrepresented by women. A lot of it has to do with breaking the barriers of history that once limited women in roles that are now welcoming them. I think more women are needed in leadership roles to help raise the standard of what the next generation of women can do.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is the ability to rally people together based on a positive perspective of something that will help improve our society. Being a leader means that you have the best interests of others in mind. Throughout my career and volunteerism, I’ve learned that being a leader involves creating, shaping, and motivating. What can I create that will change the world around me? With the things that exist in front of me, how can I shape them so that our society can move forward? Lastly, how can I motivate and inspire even just one person, to help them achieve their goals? A leader asks those types of questions and provides an answer.
Who has influenced your idea of leadership?
For over a decade, I have had the incredible opportunity to serve at my local church. During this time I have learned, been coached, and gained valuable experience from my pastors Sean and Tayana Holland at the Epicenter of Worship Church. I have watched them lead with integrity, make sacrifices, and most importantly, impact my life in a way that has without a shadow of a doubt, got me where I am today. Leadership is about helping others accomplish their goals, pushing people to be their best, and seeing the value in others in so they can share it with the world. As leaders, they have gone above and beyond to show me that being a leader means you can look back and not only see people following behind you but who are moving forward so that they walk alongside and even in front of you. Leadership is a lifestyle.
Why do we need more women in leadership roles? What do they add to the table?
There are a lot of positions that are underrepresented by women. A lot of it has to do with breaking the barriers of history that once limited women in roles that are now welcoming them. I think more women are needed in leadership roles to help raise the standard of what the next generation of women can do. Women as leaders need other female leaders that they can glean from, work with, and support. As a mother, I think it is important that my daughter knows that she can grow up to be whatever she wants to be. That phrase has always been viewed as cliché but if my daughter never sees a female astronaut or even a race car driver then she may never think that she can do those things.
There are a lot things that women can bring to the table. Speaking for myself, working in a male-dominated field, I bring empathy, endurance, and humility. There are days when I have to speak at conferences in front of hundreds of people, or put on my game face for the on-camera interview while one of my children is home with a fever. Women have the ability to bring their A-game to the table while still being that caretaker and leader at home. I think women bring a balance to the workplace that can ultimately help it thrive.
How are you leading in your career/community?
Currently, I am helping prepare our communities for emergencies and disasters. Across the country, we find that only about 50% of people are prepared for things like flooding, fires, tornadoes, and power outages. To ensure that I was well-equipped on a state-wide and national level, I entered the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division’s Professional Emergency Manager Program. After two years of classes and trainings I received my certification in August 2018. This certification requires that I continue to be knowledgeable in the field by participating in trainings, exercises, developing emergency plans and more.
August 2019 was the second time since its inception that my organization, Do1Thing hosted its community emergency preparedness fair. I started this event and with the help of my board of directors, we were able to reach over 100 people to make sure they were aware of what types of disasters can impact them and how they can prepare for them.
In October of 2018 I was the only African-American female to present at the Ontario Association of Emergency Managers Conference in Ontario, Canada. It was a privilege to speak on a platform with other great professionals in the realm of emergency preparedness. It is a prime of example of why series like #LeadLikeAWoman exist.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
My faith has brought me this far. I was a stay-at-home mom for five years before starting a career in emergency preparedness. While I had the educational background to hit the ground running, it was faith and trust in God that opened many doors for me to exemplify my leadership capabilities.
What is the best way for someone to contact you?
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