Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what is your background?
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, attended Grand Rapids Public Schools and a graduate of Creston High School. Received a Bachelors in Business Administration from Davenport University. Currently serve as Executive Director of LINC UP Nonprofit Housing Corporation. Mother of 1 son, Marcus.
Is this where you thought you would be when you were in elementary school?
In a sense yes, I always knew I wanted to help people. I originally envisioned myself becoming a teacher, as I have always had a deep love for children, but as I grew older and became more aware of the various structures and systems that shape the circumstances and outcomes so many individuals face, I grew an interest in equity based work.
What is the most engaging part of your current work?
The most engaging part of my work is listening and honoring the voice of the community. Serving is at the heart of everything that I love to do. I genuinely find fulfillment in seeing those around me growing and thriving.
What is a significant experience that has shaped how you lead today?
Dealing with chronic illness has significantly shaped how I lead today. It has allowed me to lead with empathy and understanding of how people show up daily. My illness has also taught me that we as individuals are much stronger than we give ourselves credit, so I am often able to identify strengths in others and encourage them to step outside their comfort zones.
Tell us about someone who has played a significant role in your journey (mentor, boss, coach) – growing you and helping you advance?
I’ve had many individuals shape and grow me along this journey, but I think unknowingly at the time my grandmother was my biggest influence. My grandmother was a community advocate at the core of everything she did. As a child, I spent many days at her home overhearing her conversations and observing her diligently work in the community. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being heavily influenced by her sacrifices and commitments. As I grew older and gained a deeper understanding I felt myself being pulled to serving in the way she did. I often catch myself having moments where I think to myself, I’m definitely a byproduct of her heart for this community.
Is there anything you wish you had known earlier in your journey?
I wish I would have known to “do it afraid.” Along the beginning of my journey, I unfortunately let fear deter me from taking certain risks, going after certain goals and trusting my instincts. I wish I would have had the confidence I’ve developed over recent years to trust both my wins and loses as an important part of my journey and to believe I’m equipped to do the things that I’m positioned to do, both professionally and personally.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I love to spend time near water, especially the ocean, it brings a sense of peace.
If people see you out on the town and want to buy you a drink, what should they send over to your table?