In The Spotlight



This column is dedicated to uplifting incredible women that might not be featured in the local news about their accomplishments.

These are abridged versions of these incredible women; please find them and ask them more!

Carla Day

 What makes you YOU?

I used to be the product of the decisions and life experiences of all the people that came before me. Life happened to me and I was a passive viewer. At some point in my 20s, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and make this life work for me. I have never looked back.

What are you most proud of?

I learned to use my brain, my intuition, and my heart together. If these three things agree, then any leap of faith that followed felt more like a step. Trusting myself was the scariest thing that I have ever done and the best thing I ever did. Becoming a mother has been the most empowering thing that has ever happened to me and I would not have figured this out without Baby Goddess.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

I force myself to zoom out of the problem so that I can see the bigger picture. Before proceeding, I always ask myself, “If my descendants were looking back at this decision, what would they say? How I can make sure that this next decision I make has a positive impact and sets them up to have good relationships, privilege and success?” In essence, I try to look several generations into the future and leave a legacy they will be proud of.

What keeps you up at night?

Aside from the sleepless nights of motherhood? Nothing. I have a strong moral code and as long as I do the right thing, sleep is easy. In my former life and as a young professional, I did have pressure from an elected official “to go fix” something – this person even called my chain! I stayed up late thinking about this and I decided not to, no matter the consequences – Fire me, bruh! I turned off the lights and slept so peacefully. This is how I figured out that secret to the universe.

Shenell Thompson

What makes you YOU?

“Tell it like it is!” I have a knack for speaking with my face before my words are ever spoken. My facial expressions speak LOUD! I can’t fake it, even if I tried.

What are you most proud of?

I remember telling my youngest daughter – it’s ok for you to quit; because there will be a time in life when responsibilities will keep you tied to things that no longer bring you joy! I took my own words and quit my job after 15 years – nearly two years later – I am still clapping!

What keeps you going when things are tough?

My faith keeps me grounded when life seems like it is spiraling; and, I’ve found spending time with a culturally component therapist (black woman) has helped me create a toolbox of skills to manage stress.

What keeps you up at night?

The same things that kept me up 26 years ago, still make me stare at the ceiling. For 17 years, it was the fear of raising a black son. Nearly ten years later, I still worry about my son’s safety in this world.

Maliquea Starnes

What makes you YOU?  

I’ve learned how to turn hurt, anger and frustration into a signal that I need to check in with myself, look inward, and prioritize self-care. It’s helped me learn to rest, breathe, take care of myself, and to not be ashamed of my anger but rather use it as a signal, and become a lot more self-aware.

What are you most proud of?

I graduated high school at the age of 16, and my mom wouldn’t let me go away to school because I was so young. I had to learn so much through life experiences, become a sponge, and see everything as an opportunity to learn something new and grow as a young woman in business. I’m proud of learning early on that education comes in many forms and that you can be a successful business owner at any age, no matter what level of education you have.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

Grace. When things are tough, I have a harsh inner critic that tends to be brutal and unforgiving. Reminding myself that I am full of grace that not only extends to others but, most importantly, myself helps me to create space to persevere and keep going. I believe when we deeply forgive ourselves for mistakes made, that’s when we find hope to keep going. Even if it means making a few more.

What keeps you up at night?

Definitely, my dogs. Winston the oversized Goldendoodle, and Boots the fun-sized Cavapoo. It’s the weirdest thing; it’s almost as if they can’t tell time.

 


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