In the Spotlight



BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN

 Dana Moody
What makes you YOU?

The first impression most people have when they meet me is that I am awkward in just about every way imaginable, and I’m super quiet. Once you get to know me you’ll see that I am a treasure trove of bad puns, random geek trivia, cat videos, and I think I have a meme for just about any situation. I’m also fiercely loyal and more than a little feisty.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my constant drive to do better and keep learning. I make a lot of mistakes.  A lot. But every day the goal is just to do better than the day before and that means learning and listening and being vulnerable.

What keeps you going when things are tough?
My family. I am so fortunate to have amazing kids, a supportive and loving husband, a big brother I admire and look up to, and parents who show me how important hard work and family are. My family inspires me to be better, work hard, and to always choose kindness when given the chance.

What keeps you up at night?

Right now? Everything. Mostly I worry that I’m not doing enough to take care of my family.

Tamika Wells
What makes you YOU?

My creative ability to express myself and the ideas of others. Life circumstances have made me who I am: The only child of a single mother who struggled with mental illness. The daughter of a shell shocked Vietnam Vet who struggled with addiction. Finding solace in Maya Angelou and Alice Walker with fueled poetry. Being raised by MTV, VH1, HBO, Sesame Street, public television, Disney, Nick Jr. and my diverse community. Becoming a single mom myself at 19 to a beautiful Black male and overcoming amazing odds, including going from being on public assistance, to putting my son through 3 years of private school and owning my own grocery delivery business. Today I think of my grandfather’s influence on my work ethic, as well. I’ve been shaped by many things.

What are you most proud of?

My relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s come to a level where it’s beyond a bumper sticker, T-shirt or a political affiliation. It is my hope that people, no matter who you are, leave our interactions different – hopefully empowered. Words I try to live by: “People don’t care how much you know. People want to know how much you care.” My relationship with God should be impactful in a positive, transformative way or it’s pointless. It’s not textbook. I listen to Christian rap and reggae, have legally tinted windows, wishing for 24 inch chrome rims but I’m too frugal. In my head, I’m 19 again nodding to Lecrae like a ‘90s Cali gangster, but in reality I’m still mom and can’t look cool speeding in my work vehicle. Real life struggles.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

People. The name “Tamika” means “People Child” in Japanese. I was told my dad said it was the name of a village in Vietnam. Great interactions with children, employees in the grocery stores, strangers or good friends, refresh me. And…stubborn grit, good books, and purpose. My son is watching me. Like Horton the Elephant said, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”

What keeps you up at night?

Thoughts like, “How many pounds is 2000 oz of hand sanitizer? Will it fit in my car? Oh! It’s the weight of a small human… not bad.” Innovative social media posts and subconscious prayers for my grown son and today’s youth.


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