“Leadership in Education Influencing Every Generation” featuring Dr. Mary Hemphill

“Education is about not forgetting that you are seriously affecting the trajectory of a child’s life.” – Dr. Mary Hemphill

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It is with great pleasure that I share my newly released podcast “Leadership in Education Influencing Every Generation” with Motivational Millennials, Ivy LaClair & Blake Brandes! This was such a powerful project, & it was amazing to connect & share on such a positive platform. I hope you enjoy, moldmakers!

Click here to listen to the podcast – (Ep. 5) Leadership in Education Influencing Every Generation with Dr. Mary Hemphill

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The Journey Continues Scholar Vlog – March/April/May 2016

The past three months have been hectic, amazing, & challenging. I have had the opportunity to spend time with family & friends,  celebrate special moments with loved ones, & embrace new opportunities that challenge me personally & professionally. Thank you for joining me on this scholarly journey!

One Year of Moldmaking

Be inspired. Educate yourself. Motivate others. – The Scholar Vlogger

e529017a442705313c2df659fc2bcb49One year ago, I posted my first video on YouTube & thus began my journey as the Scholar Vlogger. I purposed myself to lead a social media project that cultivated moldmakers through inspiration, education, & motivation. I called out to individuals from all walks of life in healthcare, public education, non-profit, & the private sector to fervently seek their passions & fulfill their purpose. Throughout this endeavor, I have learned a lot about myself, people, & the overall human condition. People are in desperate need of belonging to something greater than themselves. No matter the impact of the cause, people want to belong – to a group of friends, loved ones, online communities, their colleagues, & the list goes on & on. I have found, however, that defining oneself as a “moldmaker” oftentimes can you leave you outside of this belonging. Being a moldmaker, forces you to shatter society’s definition of “normal” & step into undefined, undiscovered, & uneven territory – alone.

 

“It’s easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.” The beauty of moldmaking is that while you may start out alone, but you end up with a community of like-minded, grateful individuals who are willing to stand beside you for a greater cause. When I started my YouTube channel, I spent hours watching famous YouTubers with ten thousand, one hundred thousand & even a million subscribers! I observed their intros, their lighting, the way they edited their videos, & even took time to read the comments from their faithful fans. From natural hair gurus to makeup artists & DIYers to yoga enthusiasts, all of these individuals had one thing in common – they were making videos about the thing they were most passionate & knowledgeable about. That is when it hit me. Although my videos about inspiration, education, & motivation were all things that I was deeply passionate about, I was not making videos about the one thing I am the most knowledgeable about – being a school leader!

It does take courage to stand alone, but public education needs a revolution, a makeover, a rebranding of sorts. I am a moldmaker in the field of education, & this year I am rededicating myself to be a champion for public education. Society’s perception of the current education system is skewed & unrealistic. If more people were knowledgeable about the needs of our students, our teachers, & our school leaders then authentic change could begin. Also the perception of public educators needs a major facelift. We are not all jean-jumper-wearing, white-Ked-rocking, apples-for-button-covers individuals with little to no personalities as the media would have most to believe. We are a cornucopia of talented, passionate, unique, stylish, & innovative people who pledge to educate our youth. It is time to begin a rebranding campaign for education & for moldmakers.

This year, I pledge to bring more moldmakers to the forefront; to connect more people with their passion & purpose; to fervently seek my own intellectual, spiritual, & emotional pursuits; & to not only start the revolution in public education, but be the revolution as well. Here’s to another year of shattering molds & making our own!

The Scholar Vlogger

 

Moldmaker with an Eye for Fashion – Shannon Moody: Lawyer, Blogger, Fashion Diva

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The moldmaker featured this week is not only by best friend from our college days at Meredith in North Carolina, but she is a lawyer who is redefining the legal & fashion game in the Big Apple. I am so proud of this intelligent & beautiful woman, & I am proud to call her my bestie. Check out this amazing blog post from Nineteenth Amendment that featured Shannon in their latest edition!

http://blog.nineteenthamendment.com/nineteenth-seventh-shannon-moody-a-lawyer-with-an-eye-for-fashion/

Moldmaker on the Path to the Principalship – Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth

In honor of the Principals & PhDs series, it was my pleasure to interview Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth. She is currently pursuing her Masters in School Administration & is truly a moldmaker in her own right. Be sure to check out her blog at: http://blog.artisticexpressionsbyelisabeth.com/ & follow her on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtisticExpressionsE.

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Scholar Vlogger: What is the one thing that inspires/motivates you?

Elisabeth: In the Akan culture, the mythical Sankofa bird flies forward while its head is turned backwards to retrieve the egg from its back. This symbolizes the importance of looking into our past to truly understand our present and our future. In my culture, there is a rich oral history. Storytelling is a way to pay homage to the past. Throughout my life I have heard stories of hardships that have faced my people, obstacles that have been overcome, testimonies of faith, and songs of endurance.Even as an adult, I still love to hear people’s personal stories. I love to hear them tell their own account of how they have reached or are reaching their goals.Everyone’s story so far is so unique and I love that. What I’ve noticed is that no matter who is telling the story, those who are truly obtaining their goals have always faced obstacles and have been victorious. I literally feel excitement when I hear the passion in someone’s voice as they share their life’s journey. Their stories motivate me to continue pursuing my own dreams. I will note that to truly appreciate someone else’s stories, you have to learn that you are a unique individual and therefore your own story doesn’t have to be a mirror image of theirs. To truly embrace their story, you have to embrace your own.

Scholar Vlogger: Would you consider yourself a “moldmaker”? If so, why?

Elisabeth: Would I consider myself a moldmaker? Honestly, until recently, I would have never considered myself to be a moldmaker. In my imagination, I considered a moldmaker to be someone who accomplished goals that were so impressive that they could not go unrecognized. I envisioned a moldmaker as someone who knew exactly what they wanted and strove for it. When I viewed myself, I categorized myself as a woman who always worked hard, who set mini goals along the way, and achieved those goals. And as she achieved one goal, it would lead to pursuing yet another goal…maybe in the same direction or maybe not. I don’t recall consciously setting out to shatter molds; however, in retrospect, the truth is, I’ve never quite fit into a mold! In my own way, from the very beginning, I was always different. The journey to who I’ve yet to become is not like anyone else’s, but it also wasn’t meant to be. I now realize that that’s what makes me a moldmaker.

Scholar Vlogger: Is there one piece of advice you would give to other moldmakers?

Elisabeth: One piece of advice that I would give other moldmakers is this: Never compare your journey to someone else’s because comparing yourself to someone else only cheats you out of becoming the person you were created to be. There is only one of you. Yes, others you encounter may be pursuing the same dream, but every experience in your life, every obstacle you’ve faced, every path that you have traveled is designed to help you become who you are meant to be. I have finally learned that the beauty of achieving your dreams is in the process. Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on the end goal that we miss that part. As I pursue my doctorate in Educational Leadership, I am truly enjoying the process. I want to get all that I can out of this grand experience, and I hope to inspire someone along the way. I encourage you to do the same!

Distracting Myself from Me

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There are moments in our life when the hustle & bustle of real life pauses…when there are no incoming call or text messages…when there are no pressing deadlines or projects due. It is in those moments that you find yourself alone with yourself. What do you do when you are alone with your thoughts? What internal conversations do you hold in your own mind? How do you turn down the volume to your innermost murmurings & dial up the volume on your deepest conscience?

For many of us, simply finding the time to breathe is a small victory. However, when you are able to glean quality time with yourself, you might find that your mind begins to hold a myriad of conversations on the stage of your brain. If you are like me, your mind wanders around to and fro tap dancing on every imaginable topic from career to family, what-ifs, why-didn’t-Is, and if-only-I-coulds. The beauty in this moment is that as the only living expert on you, it should be easy to control these conversations right? Wrong! The mind, unlike other parts of your body, consists of trillions of mental files on millions of different topics, experiences, and perspectives you have gleaned in your life’s journey. Put all of those combinations together, and your mind could literally wander for trillions of miles!

Moldmakers not only think outside the box, their minds wander outside the box as well. Learning to mentally control your cerebal pathways allows you to discover new ways of thinking about old concepts. But what happens when you cannot control your mind & you try to “turn it off?” What happens when you try to distract yourself from you?

Jessica Perianza found herself in this very situation recently. She is a vibrant & intelligent moldmaker & college student who is spending the summer immersed in the heart of academia. She has been afforded the opportunity to live in Cambridge, MA & work at the Avery Dennison headquarters in Westborough as a project management intern for the summer. Over the past few weeks, Jessica has been following her dreams & surprisingly found herself alone with herself. Below she gives us a detailed & intimate glimpse into her mental journey & what she found when she looked within…

Undergrad has been a gateway to growing as a professional, engineer, & leader in my community. At any given time I’m either at a meeting, class, volunteer event, or just spending my bits of free time with friends. Being alone in a completely new environment was an experience I had sought out for as long as I can remember. I envisioned a fresh, clean canvas where new friends would be made, delicious food would be consumed, and alone-time would be enjoyed. Surprisingly, it’s not the party I thought it would be…granted I have met wonderful people & I have eaten enough to feed an army. For the first time in my young adult life I have the ability to ask: what does Jessica want to do today? When? Where? How? With who? Turns out, Jessica has difficulty answering that simple question when structure is the one thing lacking, & so begins the cycle of figuring that out, sometimes for hours, which ends in frustration and often ice cream to repair the damage.

What’s one of the first things a friend will advise when you’re having a rough day? It often begins with, “Why not find something to distract yourself?”

Ah! That’s just it! I should not have to distract myself from …myself! My mind should be my safe haven from the craziness of the world and not the one thing that leaves me wondering if I fit the description for a lunatic. It’s easy nowadays to distract ourselves & avoid spending time alone. To blanket unwanted thoughts or empty gaps of time with short rushes of euphoria obtained from food, exercise, other people, or sleep. No appointments are made to enjoy the silence within us. So now that I find myself with a 3 month long stay with my mind… I have the knee jerk reaction of rescheduling with concerts, trips, and (you guessed it) food. Don’t get me wrong, it’s healthy to enjoy the pleasures of travel. I just don’t want it to be what I do to hide from me. I want to be able to close my eyes & be filled with endless amounts of peace which is something I feel eerily confident about being able to achieve. I may not be there, and I may not have a direct roadmap to it, but I have the alone time I so often asked for, and two more months to take a few steps closer to finding that peace within me.

Black Girls ROCK: Nadia Lopez (Change Agent)

As a fellow educator, I am in awe of Nadia Lopez & her powerful words shared last evening on ‪#‎BlackGirlsRock‬. Her challenge to students, parents, & society to begin reform in our schools is exactly the type of change necessary to shift our nation. I am beyond proud of this black girl who ROCKS! Check out this inspiring challenge and call to action from Ms. Lopez: http://bet.us/1xXrFps

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20 Things to Start Doing Today

Moldmakers, enjoy this beautiful Saturday & spring season by enjoying your life to the fullest. The biggest motivator to great ideas starts with your spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional well-being! 

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A First-Class Noticer

Being a first-class noticer allows you to recognize talent, identify opportunities, and avoid pitfalls. Leaders who succeed again & again are geniuses at grasping context. This is one of those characteristics, like taste, that is difficult to break down into its component parts. But the ability to weigh a welter of factors some as subtle as how very different groups of people will interpret a gesture, is one of the hallmarks of a true leader. – Business gurus Warren Bennie & Robert Thomas, authors of Geeks & Geezers


When I was growing up & even into my adult years, my parents, siblings, & close friends would always comment on my staring at people in public. I could sit for hours and watch people – how they interact with one another at restaurants, the manner in which they greet one another at church, & how children responded to the adults they encountered. Each observation left me wondering about the dynamic of their individual lives & experiences they may have caused them to act in such a manner. What might have been considered a rude social habit, has helped me develop my “noticing” skills! Every moldmaker possesses this gift of observation & notices even the slightest subtleties within people & processes.

True leaders recognize the importance of details, & when you work with people daily, you begin to understand that details make all the difference in the world. Whether you are leading a large group meeting or engaging with customers & colleagues one-on-one, paying attention to nuances, changes, & unfamiliar behavior of people separates leaders from managers. Leaders notice that change in a person’s energy, their lack of ideas, unwillingness to change, or their hesitancy to share a thought or idea. Leaders notice untapped talent, aspirations that may have gone unvoiced, & those quiet moments when a tough decision needs to be made. Leaders develop relationships with people in order to explore these moments further & through that exploration comes growth. There have been countless times when I noticed something with an individual &  stopped to address it. Whether it was a change in hairstyle or overall demeanor, the fact that it was noticed forged a strong relationship between the two of us because it provided a platform for connection.

In a time in society that is dominated by technology and digital communication, it is extremely easy for leaders to lose the human connection. With information changing at the touch of a button, there is no substitute for understanding people. Leadership is the ability to intrinsically motivate individuals to expose those talents & abilities which were previously concealed & to use those talents and abilities for the greater good. As a first-class noticer, moldmakers can serve as catalysts in aligning people with the organization’s vision & individual purpose.

Perspective Shifting

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I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues this past week about the power of perspective. 2015 is all about shifting perspective. Have you noticed that every situation in your life looks different based on your position to the problem? For example, you may stressed about leaving the house late for work until you pass by a car accident & realize that at least you are still safe & unharmed. You may be frustrated with your finances, until you meet that person who shares that s/he could not even afford to celebrate the holidays or a big milestone due to their situation. Shifting your position, shifts your perspective & allows you to take an extra moment before judging others & their situation.

Being negative toward people & situations, annihilates any opportunity to shift your position or perspective. In fact, my colleague shared that “being negative is perhaps the lowest form of existence.” Deep. When you adopt a negative perspective to any & every situation, what is the chance that that situation will work out in your favor? Slim. Being negative is so incredibly easy. It requires no energy. It requires no thought. It requires no action. Being negative literally asks that you simply exist.

In every facet of our lives, we have the awesome opportunity to take advantage of perspective. We hear all the time, “My perception is my reality,” & that statement holds a lot of truth. If you consistently have a positive attitude about a particular thing or area in your life, then the power of your perspective can change your attitude & quite possibly the outcome. If you consistently look for the negative, the power of your perspective is not only going to make the situation seem worse, but could greatly affect other areas of your life (personally & professionally).

The beauty of perspective, is that you have the power to control it. Positive people attract positive people, ideas, relationships, and outcomes. The inverse is also accurate. In our society & in every profession, perspective not only affects you, it can affect your family, your friends, your colleagues, & most importantly, you!

Check out these Top 75 Pictures of the Day for 2014. There are some amazing pictures captured here that really challenge perspective! What would happen if you were to take a walk outside today, & simply shift your perspective?