By CC Minton
“Well-behaved women seldom make history”. That is the phrase that Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich coined in the ’70s.
Well-behaved or not, women have been making history by breaking the mold. Women’s History Month in 2020 is themed “Valient Women of the Vote.” Honoring brave women who fought for suffrage rights for women, they continue to fight for the voting rights of others.
Settepani Restaurant on Lenox Avenue was the place where a group of women got together to celebrate the launch of the new Harlem World Magazine Radio podcast The Passion Behind Powerful Women. During the Women’s History Month celebration, the topic of conversation included serving the community through not-for-profit work, financial responsibility, politics and of course, the passion behind the powerful women in attendance. Each of the women around the table shared their own story and this is what they had to say.
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“When I was a child, I first heard the saying “well-behaved women seldom make history”. I didn’t quite understand the phrase but it always stuck in my mind. I was popular in high school and was known for wearing pink hair with holes in my wears. I was a bit unconventional and I am still that way today. But one thing is for sure, I have an extreme love for people and have been blessed with the ability to make friends with just about anyone anywhere. The core of the work that I do centers around my passion for the people. As a Lifestyle Empowerment Strategist, I enjoy working with women and men. It is rewarding to help them create a blueprint and customize a Lifestyle Redesign strategy during these challenging times. I am excited to work with a team of passionate health and lifestyle professionals as Founder of The Lifestyle Empowerment Group.”
Heather LeClair – Little Person Dreams
When I close my eyes and think back 30 … ish, ish years ago to my carefree childhood– I am reminded of a giant cul-da-sac that my siblings and I played kickball with the neighbor kids. We frolicked through my parent’s giant wooded backyard and had the privilege of our very own precious swing set/playhouse that my parents designed and constructed themselves. However, as dreamy and wistful as my formative years were, I longed to move to the “Big City!” From a young age, without so much as an Instagram, Facebook or Youtube account (we didn’t get cable at the house until the early ’90s). I just knew that I wanted to explore and experience something larger and different. My parents had graciously exposed me to the theatre, museums and ballet on family vacations. However, I wanted to make those experiences and much more a part of my “every day.”
Thus, I decided by the time I was in middle school, that I wanted a career that would be NYC friendly. Further, I absolutely knew I wanted to work in NYC. I was dogged in applying for jobs and internships that were in the City both during undergrad and law school. However, it was not meant to be. During law school, my passion for “tax law” exploded and with that interest came an opportunity to again further my education. I was invited to study for a post-graduate degree from the Boston University School of Law. Eager to get out East and study tax law—I jumped at the chance. While in Boston, I had a great year of personal and intellectual growth—but in a post-9-11 world, there was no jobs to be had. So–back to Ohio, I went. I started working for EY in their Cincinnati office shortly thereafter. Undeterred in my goal to live and work in NYC I told a partner my first day at the office—rather boldly—if they ever needed someone in their NYC office, I would go! And finally, the “gods” of fate smiled on my tenacity–Six months later I got an offer to move and nine months later my dog and I packed up and moved to NYC. I’ve never been happier with my decision! I always make a point to tell folks who feel that they might be stuck in a rut—it may not be a straight line from point “A” to point ”B”—but not to lose sight of their goal. After all, it is the journey that gets us there where we learn the most about ourselves.
When I was only 9 years old I had a passion for caring especially for my Big Momma. My Big Momma required assistance after she had both her legs amputated from the disease trifecta – hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and high cholesterol. I helped take care of her for at least 2 years as she progressed through her diseases until death. I knew I wanted to help people. My reality is I’m a nurse, I do help people. I am fulfilled with joy and peace with the work that I do. I’m truly blessed to do what I’ve dreamt of doing and wholeheartedly love to do! Living the Dream.
Rev. Kymberley Clemons-Jones
My dream as a youth was to be an English teacher. I enjoyed writing and was always good at it. It came naturally. My first fame as a writer came at five years old. In kindergarten, we had to write a story about something about our town. Little did I know that my teacher, Mrs. Gartenberg, had submitted my paper to the local newspaper and it was published. I loved the feeling of being published and of having a dream realized. Through the years I’ve changed my focus from being an English teacher to being a social worker, an educational counselor, and a pastor. The last three have come to pass. Through each of these professions, I have been writing consistently. Currently, I have two published books and several co-authored books to my credit and I am currently working on a third. I think because I saw my dream realized as a young girl, I believed I could do anything. I am grateful.
My journey wasn’t what I designed or dreamed of. It’s been a beautiful life, I believe, because I’m a dreamer. The passion tips I want to pass on are 5 simple things.
1. Commit yourself to make lots of mistakes
2. Find hard work you love doing.
3. Invest time, energy and money in yourself every day.
4. Explore new ideas and opportunities often.
5. When sharpening your skills, focus more on less.
Sette Pani Restuarant, 196 Malcolm X Blvd, Harlem, NY, 917.492.4806, settepani.com
CC Minton, is an Author, Award-Winning Advocate, Health and Life Empowerment Strategist, Winner of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Community Leadership Award. www.ccminton.com.
Photo credit: Chef Antonino Settepani