Women of Color Wednesday: Brittany Wright

When I hear the name Brittany Wright, three words instantly come to mind: driven, goal-oriented, motivated, confident, fearless, and bold.ae8923_1505148ae0aa4a0c9d8db23ac62a27c9

Okay, that was way more than three words, but three words just aren’t enough to describe all the Black Girl Magic this girl possesses.

Wright, a native of “the dirty mitten” was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. Upon graduating from the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy in 2011, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring of 2015. She is currently one semester away from completing her Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication with a prospected graduation date of December 16, 2016. She won’t stop there. A Ph.D. in African American Studies is on deck!

Not only is Wright an educated Black woman, but she is also multitalented. “I am so many things, and the majority of which I am not paid for monetarily,” she said. Professionally, Wright is a Media Associate at an international public relations agency where she currently services the clients Walmart and Tylenol. Additionally, Wright is a storyteller, aspiring freelance writer, aspiring blogger, and public speaker.

What’s even more impressive is Wright’s ability to be there for others. “I am a shoulder to cry on, someone who gives strategic advice, a voice for the voiceless and above all, my sister’s keeper.”

When asked what her life mission is, Wright said that it is simply to help others “whether that be to help people actualize their full potential, help people take their brands to the next level, or at work where I help our clients strategically reach their target. Another extension of this could be, by publicly living my truth in hopes that another brown girl, from my hometown perhaps, can see that there is more for her, that she, too, can achieve and reach her level of greatness. Or with my latest project, Bbad Bits: The Podcast Series, where I help elevate Black voices and conjure up possible solutions for Black issues. See the essence of it is still the same, it’s all about helping people. I’ve just found many ways to extend/work on that mission.”

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Yes, yes, YES! Selfless, noble, self-effacing. What every human being should be. I’m here for it.

Wright encourages other women of color to not be selfish with their talents. “There is another brown girl somewhere looking at you as the charter of territory in which they only dreamed of uncovering. Find a way to share your story and your talents, your battles and what eventually allowed for you to prevail.”

Exactly. All of us should be able to see ourselves. Visual identity and representation matters. People need to see themselves in all walks of life, not just their stereotypes. Wright is getting into a space that we hardly see: Black women succeeding in corporate America. It’s women like Brittany Wright that people need to be looking up to. Because of them, we can. I see you, Brittany. Because of you, I can!

She continued, “So often in the Black community there are those who find comfort and eliteness in being exclusive or having some knowledge that is exclusive. Now forgive me for being pro-Black, but they walk through life as if their ancestors passed down a book on how to utilize white privilege to its greatest potential. How to run businesses, how to get the most out of college and so on and so forth. There are a few of us who are passing down this information for free to those who are willing to listen, but there needs to be more of us doing that. We can’t reach a level of success and close the door behind us, but instead look back and reach out.”

Truth! That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Ava DuVernay: “If your dreams don’t include others, they’re not big enough. Include others in your dreams.” Why dream alone when you can dream with your community, with people who have similar aspirations, even with the world? Including others not only makes your dreams stronger, but it also makes them limitless.

11064273_10152709038286851_5864064407383275242_nWright also encourages other women of color to “just do!” She is a strong advocate of a small world that has so much power and meaning. “A lot of Black women and people in general count themselves out before even allowing the ‘approver’ to count them out. So what if you fail, so what if people aren’t rocking with it, so what! You will have to hit so many nos until you get to the yeses that will really turn the game around for you. Be proactive, make a plan and be meticulous by not wavering from that plan. Don’t let someone or something stop you from meeting your end goal. There are a many of people who don’t want to see you make it, but instead of taking that energy and turning it into how to prove them wrong, work on proving yourself right, because in that instance you’re all that matters!”

Preach it, sista. Count on your fingers how many times you’ve been told no, denied, try again next time, you almost had it, you’re not good enough… What number did you come up with? Now look where you are and how those nos has shaped you today. Being told no makes you better, makes you stronger. If everything came easy, you wouldn’t appreciate the process. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, the paths you’ve walked and the steps you’ve taken to reach your objective. Personally, I’d rather be strengthened by a struggle than unchanged by an easy breeze.

When asked what her greatest accomplishment is, she explained – like myself and many other people I know – that she struggled with this question quite a bit. “I even had to reach out to some of my girlfriends like, I’m stuck right now. Part of that is because I’m never content with what I have/am doing now, so I’m constantly looking towards what’s next, leaving no time to focus on the ‘successes’ and ‘accomplishments.’”

Raise your hand up high if you’re the type of person that’s never satisfied, always hungry for more, and always aiming to achieve greater! I know I’m never satisfied; I’m always aiming to do more and be more instead of appreciating what I have accomplished and been successful at. That mindset just comes from the fact that when you know that you were cut from a different cloth, you feel like you have to live up to those expectations of being unique and being the best.

She continued, “After some thought (help) though, I would have to say moving to Chicago, for multiple reasons. Before actually moving, everyone was petrified, but me, because only I could see the vision I had for myself. Prior to moving I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to accomplish here in Chicago and to my surprise, three years later I’ve blown past that list and have done things that my 19-year-old self would not have believed.FullSizeRender Also, prior to coming to Chicago is when I gave birth to bbadpr, which has served as a platform for me to inspire and create change. Bbadpr has opened me up to give workshops, speaking engagements, blogs, podcasts, freelance writing, career consulting, and more. I think for me, the biggest accomplishment was being unafraid and fearlessly conquering what I knew was meant for me.”

I can relate to this in so many ways. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you even if no one else agrees. You have to take control of your life, execute your plan, and seek to make the visions you have for yourself a reality even if no one else can see or believe them.

Through the good days, and the bad, Wright encourages herself to, “Dream into the unknown. Pray. Spend a lot of time alone, and in your thoughts. Understand who you are, what your purpose is and where you want to go. Help people, let people help you, and always remember to help yourself.”

If you’re feeling inspired and want to continue following her journey, check out Brittany Wright’s website, blog, and podcast!

Thank you, Brittany, for all that you do and all that you are. You embody everything that a Black woman should be. I’ve been looking up to you for years now. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration for Black women like me that want to make a change and motivate others to chase their dreams. Your brilliance, wisdom, and vision for yourself is going to take you so far. I can’t wait to see all of the astounding goals that you will continue to accomplish, and never stop being the voice and the representation that women of color need.

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#MotivationMonday: Never Feel Guilty About Doing What Makes You Happy

I had to take a proctored exam this past Friday. I walked into the office at Ellsworth Hall, and a middle-aged African American woman approached me (I didn’t catch her name), explaining the process of the exam and whatnot. When she was done, I took a seat and awaited the exam time. Having a severe case of exam anxiety, I quickly took out my laptop and swiftly studied as many notes as I could.

The woman politely interrupted my frantic studying and asked, can you come here for a minute?

 Sure! I walked over to her desk.

She turned her computer screen towards my direction and asked is this you on the computer, on WMU’s homepage?

 Honored and blushing, I told her yeah, that’s me!

 Her reaction: priceless.

She went on explaining how she has always wanted to meet me after reading my story about my nationally awarded documentary Painting Dreams: The Story of Johnson Simon and all the recognition and honor I’ve received since its completion. She then told me that God has amazing plans for me and my future and that I had a gift that I need to continue to share with others. She said I was smart, beautiful, and that I was going to make it so far in my life. She then shared this Bible verse with me: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3. She said that my time, my season, is now. I need to embrace it, and don’t hold back.

Wow I thought. She moved me so much that I forgot all about the exam I was stressing out about.

Later that day, it got me thinking. So many amazing things have happened to me since I transferred to Western Michigan University 2 years ago from Alma College. Then I thought, what if I never transferred? What if I would have stayed because that’s what everyone else wanted…my friends, parents, boyfriend at the time, teammates on the cheer team? What if I had sacrificed my happiness for theirs?

Transferring to WMU was honestly the first time I actually did something for myself without caring about what other people said or thought about my decision. People said I wouldn’t survive at a big school. People said I wouldn’t get noticed as easily as I did at Alma College. People said I was making a mistake and that I’ll regret leaving.

They. Were. WRONG.

Now, two years later, I’ve done more and accomplished more in these last two years than I have in my entire life! When I transferred to Western, my main goal was to make a name for myself. That’s exactly what I did. I got featured in the last issue of WMU Magazine. I’m on the freakin’ homepage of the University’s website! And so, so much more. I’m a national award-winning documentary filmmaker. Everyone knows Tirrea Shanice Billings. Not too long ago, a faculty member walked passed me and said hey, superstar!

 So much for not going to be noticed.

Not only that, but I’m happy…so, so, so happy. Happier than I’ve ever been. Kalamazoo and WMU has given me a sense of belonging and self-discovery. I truly found myself and my purpose here. And whenever I’m away, I don’t say I can’t wait to get back to Kalamazoo. Instead, I say I can’t wait to get back home.

All this would have never happened if I sacrificed what I wanted for what other people wanted. And at first, I felt bad about transferring and leaving what I had at Alma. I’m a people pleaser, and it was hard seeing people disappointed about my decision to leave. I felt guilty.

Now, two years later, I’m realizing that I should never feel guilty about doing what makes me happy. Nobody knows what’s best for me better than me. I’m graduating from WMU in 5 months with so many accomplishments, goals for the future, and memories that I will cherish forever.

For once, I put my happiness and what I wanted first before anything else, and it payed off.

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Women of Color Wednesday: Jereshia Hawk

I met this amazingly intelligent young woman when taping Episode 10 of Season 3 of The Social B. Show. I must say, I was wildly impressed by her determination, hunger for success, her clarity, and her focus.

This girl knows what she wants, and stops at nothing to move to the next level of achievement.

Ms. Jereshia Hawk is a native of West Bloomfield, Michigan. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering with a minor in Mathematics at Western Michigan University in April of 2014. Currently, she works as a Transmission Pipeline Engineer for Michigan’s largest electric and natural gas utility. Other engineering roles she has had since May 2014 include metering and regulation, and damage prevention public safety outreach, enhancing the quality of life for over 6 million Michigan residents.

Additionally, she has also been dedicated to creating a more engaged workforce whose diversity enables best-in-class performance by chairing a multi-generational employee resource group, co-coordinating the gas engineering intern program, and by being an overall diversity champion. She served as a Product Specialist for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from 2011 to 2014. She also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Love Struck, LLC. from 2012 to 2014, an online women’s boutique that provides high quality products to customers in over 20 countries.

It doesn’t stop there. Hawk is also an entrepreneur! She is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of the Goal Getter Group, a platform for professionals and entrepreneurs to get to the next level of their lives through self-awareness, support, strategic planning, and accountability. This organization is dedicated to preparing and advancing the empowerment of millennials.

Hawk’s life mission is to advance the empowerment of women. She aims to remove barriers, challenge the status quo, defy stereotypes, and go beyond what is expected; to not only have a seat at the table, but to have a voice, and to create platforms for other women to do the same.

Yes, honey! I’m here for it.

Her inspiring words to women of color are, “You have the power to design and dictate your life. You have the power to choose how you live your life. Raise your bar of excellence and engage in high quality experiences. Define your own standards. Choose who and how you want to engage with the world. Command the types of experiences you want to have. Choose not to settle. You are worth it!”

Hawk’s biggest accomplishment to date is the awareness of growing into her own greatness and defining what that meant for herself. “I was moving through life for so long not knowing or feeling like I had control, that I didn’t have the power to set my own standards and design a life I wanted to live,” she said. “As I became older and grew into my maturity, I discovered that I am a woman of excellence and that I could make the choice to live a life of abundance. Discovering that power within myself took me to the next level!”

Not only is Hawk young, educated, and the real definition of “goals,” she is also a woman who lives beyond her expectations and aims to inspire others to do the same through her actions.

As she progresses through her career, Hawk is fully committed to addressing under-representation of females and minorities in high level leadership positions in business, government, and nonprofit organizations by establishing more robust and sustainable pipelines geared for the development of diverse leaders.

Jereshia Hawk is a woman of action, an empowerment enthusiast, absolute optimist, and a solutions architect. Her drive, tenacity, and resilience to pursue her passions is remarkable. She knows what she wants, maps out a plan, and goes for it. She owns her greatness, works tirelessly to climb the corporate ladder, and is constantly #MovingThatNeedle!

You are awesome, Jereshia! It’s women like you who inspire me to empower others, have full confidence and control of my life, and give me the drive to make my dreams become a reality.

 

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It’s A Hard Knock Life|EP.8|Season 3

Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit. With that being said NEVER GIVE UP on your goals! This week on The Social B. Show, Sydney B. sat down with three friends who happen to be graduating seniors of Western Michigan University. Not only did the gang discuss their favorite college memories they even left all incoming freshman’s and current students with a few words of wisdom. Find out Sydney B.’s juicy secret and more by watching the full episode. Always remember… B Honest. B Humble. B YOU!