What Inspires you to create?

ImageI was humbled when Melissa Kimble of My Creative Connection–an amazing blog that highlights women of color and their professional and personal stories of success– asked if she could write a piece on me.  The opportunity could not of come at a better time as I was in a period of self-reflection and transition as I spread my wings to leave my classroom nest and into the wild job hunt jungle. I touched upon issues such as work-life balance, priority-setting and getting back to the basics of community building. 

Check out an excerpt from my interview below:

What inspires you to create?

What many people do not realize is that doing good work is dirty.  We need people who are willing to get down and dirty to be the change we all wish to see.  Too many people attend the fundraising events and/or see the picture recap and believe that it is all fun.  Or people see teachers smiling with their students at recess and believe that teaching and working in schools is all fun.  No!  The day-to-day, often mundane work we do is what actually produces those results.  So what inspires me is when I get to see that hard work pay off.  When I see pictures of a teacher and her class, I think of how that teacher has built those relationships through day-to-day classroom interactions because I have been there.  When I am with the First Book-DC board reviewing book grant applications and we get to grant out the thousands of dollars we’ve raised or when I’m leading a Power Session with Capital Cause, those are moments that inspire me to get down and dirty again.  To get in the weeds again and keep working because no matter how tedious the task, no matter how frustrating it can be to send all those emails, planning those lessons, or lead another conference call, at the end of the day it pays off.  And knowing that you’re working towards making a lasting difference is what makes it all worth it. 

Curious to read more?  Hop on over to My Creative Connection for the rest of the story.

The Fab Empire’s Fab List + Lessons in Leadership

ImageThis morning, via Twitter (the ultimate source of news sharing), I found out I made The
Fab Empire’s The Fab List–a list that “honors innovators and leaders from field such as technology, fashion, communications, medicine, ministry, politics and more.”  I was shocked and surprised.  You see I do what I love.  Volunteering and enlisting others in service, advocating for better educational opportunities and ensuring the low-income students who make it to college, make it through college are all my passions.  To be honored doing exactly what I love and what comes extremely natural to me is the ultimate compliment, and a key sign that I’m working in my purpose.

Before I share you the link to check out the list that includes stellar changemakers and movers and shakers in DC, I want to leave you with a quote from The Radical Leap by Steve Farber, a book I’m reading for graduate school.  In the book, Steve meets a man named Edg who reignites his fire for leadership, and challenges him to think about leadership as an extreme sport.  In one of their conversations, Edg shares this with Steve:

The ability to lead doesn’t come from a snappy vocabulary, the books you’ve displayed on your shelves, your place on the organizational chart, or that fashionable title on your business card.  Leadership is always substantive and rarely fashionable.  It is intensely personal and intrinsically scary and it requires us to live the ideas we espouse–in irrefutable ways–every day of our lives, up to and beyond the point of fear.

Edg is right.  Authentic leadership comes from within.  It is a part of how we live our daily lives.  Some people never tap into their authentic leadership source because they are afraid to really go after their dreams.  Today, I encourage you to think about your passions and live them!  You will often surprise yourself–and like in my case, catch the eyes of others, too.

You can check out The Fab List here.