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What are the biggest challenges that you face in trying to achieve your organization's mission and your personal mission statement? As a leader, I sometimes experience imposter syndrome. I struggle with whether my work has value or if I have what it takes to accomplish my dreams. While my personal experience of trauma sometimes reinforces these feelings, these messages largely mirror the dominant society that would have me believe that I, with all my Black magic, am not good enough. Even with images of phenomenal women of color in our families, communities, classrooms, leadership, on YouTube and social media, I also see my students and colleagues experience this while chartering new courses, breaking down barriers, and striving towards their dreams.

How are you working to overcome these challenges? By surrounding myself with women that understand our collective struggles, love me for who I am, and aren't afraid to lift me up when I'm down, celebrate who I am and my successes, and give healthy critique. Continually fighting for gender and race-equity and working to dismantle oppression in all forms. Relentlessly pursuing my dreams, and remembering that my dreams and passion have always been bigger than my obstacles. Seeking healing and wholeness in my life. Going to therapy. Giving voice to experiences. Processing my pain. Reflecting my highs and lows and affirming wherever I am in the moment.

Advice for teen girls who are struggling? Remember, you're not alone. Many people have faced similar challenges you've faced and have overcome. Surround yourself with a community of mentors, sponsors, and friends that can help you accomplish your dreams. And when things don't fall into place (as they are frequently known to do), allow your experiences to teach you about yourself and others.

What's the best advice that you've received from another leader or mentor? Take healthy risks. Seek opportunities to learn and grow and allow yourself to rise to the occasion.

Who's your "Shero"? I can't pick just one. It's a community of women that have poured into me, enabled me to see myself, and contributed to my growth and understanding of the world around me. My mother, Carol, my younger sister, Monique, my friend, Sherisse, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, bell hooks, Zora Neale Hurston, Jamila Woods, the list goes on and on....

Learn more about Dr. Norris and her work by visiting www.blackmtnetwork.org

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Profile for Butterfly Dreamz

2020 Leadership Journal E-book  

A leadership journal written by girls from Newark, NJ to cultivate courageous conversations and action. Purchase your copy at theleadershipj...

2020 Leadership Journal E-book  

A leadership journal written by girls from Newark, NJ to cultivate courageous conversations and action. Purchase your copy at theleadershipj...