By Taroue Brooks
What is your secret to success?
Authenticity. I learned a few years ago that being your true self is the greatest gift to not only one’s self but also to others. Having that sense of self helps to bring clarity to my purpose. I am able to bring more of myself to the table and that helps to build successful connections. I constantly remind myself that by being myself everywhere I go, I am also authentically representing my community. This is empowering as it helps to fuel my drive to be successful in all my endeavors. Allowing me to be honest with myself about myself greatly enhances my interactions with others – resulting in more successful outcomes.
Who is your mentor and why?
The Rev. Leah D. Daughtry because she’s dope! “laugh”. She is the perfect mix of faith, tenacity, and brings her whole authentic self to every space she enters and stands in her purpose. Leah has the keen ability to see the end game and, inherently, is able to tackle issues before they have a chance to take root. Because of her experience in civil rights, politics and community empowerment, she is often able to provide strategic council and guidance to many different situations.
How have you been able to navigate your memberships/affiliations to further your career?
Being open and honest about my intent and staying away from transactional relationships. Moving with truth and integrity in business dealings helps a great deal when steadying ships. I have found that by being thoughtful and intentional in my relationships, I can achieve much more and reach goals a lot faster. I join networks that not only align with me professionally but also personally as they reinforce the ideals I apply in other areas of my career.
How do you navigate the corporate world as a Black woman?
As one of only a handful of Black women in a leadership position in Start-Up land, it is imperative that I maintain a strong sense of self. I enter rooms and meetings knowing I deserve to be there and that my voice is as important as anyone else’s. Having this in mind, I am able to effectively express my thoughts and ideas in various spaces. Also, I know that much prayer, the support of family and friends, and other Black women in the corporate world are all contributing factors.
Where do you feel black women stand in politics today?
In today’s political landscape Black women stand at the front of the pack. Black women are the backbone of the Democratic party. Period. Point-blank. The path to the White House for any Democrat goes through the votes of Black women. Black women have been saviors of this country and our community for decades and we are politically astute. Black women take time investing and learning about candidates and how they will impact the community. So goes the Black women, goes the community, the direction of policies and the country. Black women are the pendulum that swings toward the truth in politics.
How are you involved in this “women’s movement”?
My involvement began at my first breath. As a Black woman growing up in the Midwest and the South, I was born into the cradle of the movement. My grandmother, mother, and mentors all instilled in me that my presence in any space is a representation of so many amazing women before and after me. The women’s movement is a continuous march that I am involved with daily.
When do you feel the most empowered and why?
This is a hard one because it implies that I don’t always feel empowered. For me, empowerment is 24/7. Every day I wake up, read a Bible verse, sing and dance to my theme song and tell myself that I am going to win the day.
How do you find balance with your demanding work schedule and your personal life?
I’ve learned that if I am burned out then I cannot be the best version of myself. Turning off work phones, relaxing vacations, and taking mental health days are all necessary to my balance. Understanding that I am not my work as it is just one aspect of who I am. I give my all while at work but when it is time to leave and step away then I must oblige. The beach, the gym, my patio or any other place where I can relax helps me to clear my mind to keep balance.
What is your most valuable asset and why?
My friendships. Iron sharpens iron and the people closest to me have kept me grounded and focused. They have corrected me when I am wrong and celebrated me when I am right. Those who will lovingly correct you is the most valuable and powerful thing to have.
What advice would you give to a young black girl for them to succeed in today’s society?
Trust yourself. In today’s society there are so many ways to make anything happen. Never compare your journey to someone else’s. Trust your judgement and vision and run your own race. What ever route you take to get to where you are is what makes you unique. There will be hills and valleys but remember to trust the process. Everything in life is a lesson. If you fall then it is ok to cry – but get back up! Trust you know what is best for you.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Where do I see myself in five years? Sitting on the dock of the bay of course! In five years I fully plan to be transitioning into retirement while working from my beach house. My goal is to work for myself as I plan to own a line of small boutique resorts.