What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I am the Assistant Director for the Institute of Music for Children, an arts-based youth development agency in Elizabeth, NJ. I was very fortunate to be exposed to the arts and steady mentorship at a young age and have always understood its impact on my life and I’ve always had a passion for sharing my experience with others.
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
Like many arts-based youth organizations, a daily challenge is helping individuals to recognize the importance of continuously funded arts education programming.
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest moment was when I recently chaired an event honoring the achievements of children in Newark. The happiness and sense of accomplishment that those children portrayed that evening solidified my purpose.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
That list is rather long because there are so many people that are do such great work in this world. However, in my every day life I admire the work of my mother who started as bus driver and is now the Assistant Vice President of her Union, my father who is a valued veteran of the National Guard and my Bishop, Barbara Glanton, who is doing amazing things in the City of Newark.
Well known, leaders that I admire most would include, Oprah (of course), Mellody Hobson, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Choprah.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years, I see myself leading an internationally recognized arts-based, youth development organization, shifting my focus toward advocating for policies affecting youth and families, and working to become an Arts Ambassador for the United States.
Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?
I have been fortunate to have a mentor at each stage of my life and I have benefitted tremendously. I am always in search for advisors and board members in my life. I always know that I am able to reach out to people that have been through things that I have been through and have reached the heights that I plan to reach and that makes me feel safe.
What do you hope to gain from your CUP Fellows Program experience to help you make a significant and positive impact in your community?
I hope to gain powerful relationships and partnerships with motivated individuals with diverse backgrounds, from Fortune 500 companies to budding non-profits, that will impose a high standard of perseverance and accountability. I plan to leverage opportunities such as board matching and exclusive networking opportunities to connect with and learn from individuals in the public and private sector in order to positively affect change on a financial and systematic level in my community.