Woman Wednesday: Ruby B. Johnson

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Ruby B. Johnson, Sierra Leone, West Africa

“Three things: take care of your mental health, control your narrative, and work smart and do your research.” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am a mining engineer and currently work at a gold mining operation. I am also the founder and editorial director of STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine. Premiered in September 2018 with its autumn issue, STEMher Magazine is a print magazine showcasing the education and experiences of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM) academia, careers, and programs. STEMher celebrates women thriving in their careers and inspires others to fuel their curiosity and interests in STEM; the status of individuals featured range from middle school through retirement. In one year, STEMher has featured more than 50 STEM girls and women worldwide from countries like the United States of America, Australia, Ghana, Canada, South Africa, India, France, Nigeria, Channel Islands, The Bahamas, Sierra Leone, and England. All magazine issues are available for purchase on stemher.com and Amazon Marketplace.

 

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Summer 2019 Cover

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone [in West Africa]. I moved to the United States when I was 12 years old, which meant growing up and completing my middle school and high school education in Maryland. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a BSc in mining engineering and a minor in women’s studies leadership. While in college, I founded When You Believe Foundation, a program that empowers women and girls through social media engagement, workshops, and donations. In 2012, I competed in my first pageant, Miss Sierra Leone USA, with the platform of advocating for the recruitment and retention of girls and women in STEM fields, since I was a STEM college student at the time and women’s empowerment was something I was passionate about. I won the pageant and with that title, I was able to travel across the country as well as in Sierra Leone, encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM. After the crowns and titles, STEM advocacy and women’s empowerment continues to be my lifelong platform. I wanted to take this platform to another level to be able to reach women and girls I may never cross paths with, so I created STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine last year. 

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: Three things: take care of your mental health, control your narrative, and work smart and do your research. (1) From Monday through Thursdays, I work ten-hour days and a two-hour commute to and from work. Additionally, I am an entrepreneur who runs her own business creating content and putting together each issue for STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine. I also serve in a couple of ministries at my church. Life gets busy. In the last year, I’m being intentional to prioritize my mental health. Making time to rest and slow down when necessary. In order to be productive with work, I have to take care of myself by sleeping, eating healthy, exercising, spending time with God through prayer, and meditation as well as reading my Bible. I have to be intentional about making time for myself, family and friends, as well as work. It’s okay to say “no” or “not yet” sometimes. I cannot fill the cups of others when my cup is empty. It’s also okay to ask for help—whether it’s in prayer, family and friends, community, or therapy.

 

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(2) As I navigate through the professional world and life in general, I’m realizing how important it is for one to control their narrative. Of course we cannot fully control what people say about us or how they feel about us; however, I believe we can play a role in those things. The way we carry ourselves is very important. We have to learn wisdom on when to speak up or be silent. We must be our biggest defenders and tell people how we want them to treat or address us. (3) Running a business is no easy feat and it’s time-consuming. In college, I learned to not study hard but study smart. I believe that’s important to do when you are a business owner. Being that I don’t have a business or journalism background, I spend a lot of time learning—asking questions, reading articles, listening to podcasts, and everything else in between. I want this magazine to go beyond, so that means I have to put in the work. I may not see harvest immediately, but sowing seeds each day counts. All in all, I believe it’s important to know who you are, stand firm on your values, always remember your why, and never lose your humanity no matter what environment you are in. 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, feminism means being my authentic self, living out my God-given purpose, and being intentional about making a difference in the community. While working on my women’s studies leadership minor in college, I learned about intersectionality. I am a Christian woman, born and raised in Sierra Leone, a naturalized American citizen, a woman in STEM, usually one of few or only black people in some professional settings, and a family-oriented individual. I thrive because of these lived experiences but also have a heart and a curious mind to learn about those who are different from me. Feminism to me is never compromising my faith and also being compassionate to others. To me, feminism means to reach for excellence and nothing less.

 

I’d love to connect with you!

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Woman Wednesday: Lasheika

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.        


Q and A with Lasheika, Miami, Florida

“Everything happens for a reason, and don’t regret a thing because it’s all a part of your journey.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Hi, my name is Lasheika. I am a mom of five boys and an author of experiences. I recently began my blogging journey, but my love of writing was recognized in middle school. I love to write and now that I’ve had experiences in love, life, family, and marriage. I choose to share those experiences with other moms in the hopes of them gaining more insight, support, and encouragement.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was raised by my mom and step father. Just having a nonexistent relationship with my biological dad was enough for me to go looking for love in all of the wrong places. I became a mom at the age of 17, which was one of the most scariest and happiest times of my life. Two weeks after giving birth, I returned back to school. I graduated three months later. The birth of my son was a true game-changer for me. Seeing this little human made me push past my own emotions and shoot beyond the stars. Now, five kids later, I was more determined than ever to find my purpose. I felt that by having five kids and being able to maintain my sanity was something that I could share with the world. Me feeling neglected and then me finding love in my marriage and through the births of my children have me wanting to share my experiences with those who faced similar challenges.

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: I would want other women to stay encouraged, continue pushing forward in faith. Believe and know that God will never leave nor forsake you. Most importantly, nothing is a mistake. Everything happens for a reason, and don’t regret a thing because it’s all a part of your journey.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism is our unique flawlessness. It’s the strength that we possess that no other has. It’s our ability to bear weight that only we can carry. It’s our boldness, our beauty, our courage and strength to overcome.

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Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

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Woman Wednesday: Margarete

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.     


Q and A with Margarete, Ulster County, New York

“The most valuable thing I’ve learned in life is to never lose the lesson life teaches.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about living my best life, which includes helping others overcome life challenges, find hope and purpose, and doing all I can to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Whether I’m speaking to a specific group or at a national conference, my passion and determination is to inspire audiences to step beyond their limitations and guide them to discover the power within and redefine what personal success truly means in this adventure called: LIFE.

The harder question is how I got to this point.

Like most people, I have had some tragically sad challenges. The worst was in 2006, when my daughter Jena lost her battle with cystic fibrosis. It was then that my whole world changed. For a long time following that terrible day, it was hard to call up the strength to take action, to move forward, to take a chance at life. I had been taught to look for and find gratitude in each moment, but when my little girl “moved up” to heaven at the age of thirteen, there was nothing I could see or find other than my grief and pain. I felt I had no choice. But in time, I learned that every day, I get to choose how to live.

 

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I believe in hope, in embracing the beauty in the broken. Life always presents us gifts, yet sometimes those gifts are brutally disguised as pain and suffering. My daughter once told me that pain is not a valid reason for stopping, so I continued on. I’ve taken many steps to get to a place where I can take charge of my life to become an award-winning author of two books: Beyond Breathing and See You at Sunset, a professional speaker, and a national advocate for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I’ve taken steps to stay happily married for twenty-eight years to my handsome husband Marc, and I’ve been blessed to watch my son marry the love of his life, which was the best day of mine.

Crisis, fear, and the anxiety of crumbling under life’s challenges have crossed my path so many times, I’ve learned that if I could change my attitude, my health, and my mental well-being, my life would ultimately change as well. Each challenge I faced in life taught me something more about myself and the world around me. Every decision I made, whether I was presented with a multitude of options, or no choices at all, changed who I am today.

 

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Here’s the thing, somewhere deep in my soul, every journey and every obstacle I faced helped bring me to a place where I can feel calm among the chaos. Every day, I give thanks for a grateful soul, a mind that’s confident, and an open heart that’s compassionate.

That’s what I’m passionate about and want to share that with as many people who want to hear it.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My childhood was like most everyone else, complicated with drama, trauma, and not easily summed up as good or bad. I was a chubby middle child, diagnosed with dyslexia in 2nd grade, and my parents divorced while I was in the 8th grade. I lived in Germany with my great aunt when I was fourteen for a ‘cultural experience.’ I graduated from high school a year early and that same year, at age 16, I permanently moved out of my childhood house after an argument with my mother. I was pregnant before I got married and had two children before I was twenty-five. Both my children were born with a fatal genetic disease, cystic fibrosis, which currently has no cure. I’ve dealt with abandonment issues, weight issues, depression, and anxiety. All of which made me who I am today.

All our lives, all our stories, make us who we are, it’s up to us how we decide that value.

 

 

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Q: What would you like others to learn from your story? 

The most valuable thing I’ve learned in life is to never lose the lesson life teaches.

For all of my life, I’ve had a love of learning, and I’m pretty sure that’s why God, with his or her infinite wisdom and sense of humor, decided to fill the first half of my life with one crisis after another. Through all the trials and many errors, I’ve come to see that life’s challenges, including reaching midlife, doesn’t have to be a crisis.

 

 

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Wouldn’t you agree that sometimes life can come at you fast and a sucker punch can land without any warning? I’ve been there. I get it. In a split second, you’re in the middle of life-changing choices, insurmountable obstacles, and heartbreaking hardships. It’s what you do with the lesson just presented to you that can change the path you’re on. Chances are, someone has been down that path before and can help guide you out, if you let them.

If by me sharing my painful and crazy life journey can reach out and touch your heart in even the smallest way possible, and help you deal with and let go of the crises and pain in your life, then I’ll feel my words and stories have a purpose beyond what they already hold for me.

My advice to you is to share your story, it could make all the difference in someone else’s life.

 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, to me, is an emotionally charged word, placing a person as ‘a feminist’ if they are for feminism or they are ‘a non-feminist’ against feminism. To me, this is divisive, and I’m not about labels, division, or exclusion as much as I am for united, equal, and collective for the common good of all civilization.

It’s was such a powerful and resurfaced word that Feminism was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2017.

Feminism, by definition, is equality of both sexes, but its common understanding is the passionate responsibility of the equality of women in the workforce, home, and political front. Its wave of enthusiastic ideology and emotion can cause more opposition than necessary.

For me, I’d instead focus on the constructive influence of women helping women. The underlying power that comes from a place of growth, humanity, and the ability to rise together while helping one another achieve each individual’s best possible life. The alliance of women reaching back and helping those who are struggling is where the real strength lies. Women being brave in adversity, sharing their story to help others, and using their voice against injustice is what I support. We, as women, can do so much to change the landscape of our future when we rise up, lean in, and stand tall without having to put down, degrade, or alienate any opposition that confronts the process of growth.

 

 

Let’s connect! 🙂

Contact page: https://margaretecassalina.com/contact/

Books:
Third book to come this fall! 🙂

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Woman Wednesday: Stacy

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.     


 

Q and A with World Traveler Stacy (traveler of over 40 countries), The Sunshine State of Florida

“My favorite quote is “There’s a sunrise and sunset in every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss any of them.”

 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about seeing as much as possible of the Earth and sharing it with others. I love exploring new places, seeing nature, and being in a new culture. Sunrises and sunsets are my absolute favorite! My favorite quote is “There’s a sunrise and sunset in every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss any of them.”

 

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I currently work for a large school district in Florida and love my job.

Being able to work with kids, I’m able to instill my love of travel and inspire them from an early age.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: We didn’t travel much as a family when I was young because of financial issues. When I was in my early twenties, I began exploring and found my true love for travel. I’ve never looked back! I would say my big trip in my 20s was Ireland. It was my first non-tour or “family” trip and opened my eyes to all the ways of exploring the world.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Women and men being equal to each other. Same rights, same pay, etc.

 

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Having explored more than 40 countries on an educator’s budget, I always look forward to my next solo or group adventure. Check out my blog to join me on a memorable journey as we experience breathtaking views, authentic eats, and inspiring moments. Plus, get the ‘best of’ travel tips without breaking the bank. Transform your wanderlust into reality at sologatortraveler.com.

 

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Let’s connect! 🙂

Click here to check out my travel blog, learn tips and tricks, and follow me on my travels: sologatortraveler.com

Facebook: facebook.com/sologatortraveler

Instagram: instagram.com/sologatortraveler

 

 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Sona

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.     


 

Q and A with Sona, Orange County, California 

 

“Don’t dull your shine for someone else.”

 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about teaching women how to manifest their dreams with flow and ease. There are a lot of women that are trying to manifest desires, and they are stuck. I provide guidance on how to truly manifest anything you want. I help others continue the mindset.

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?

A: I’ve learned that people’s opinions of you don’t mean a thing. Don’t dull your shine for someone else. Be true to yourself. Be honest with yourself and others and find peace within. 

 

Q: What were your younger years like? 

A. I’m going to be honest…I didn’t have a good childhood. I grew up in a bad neighborhood where my mom had a government job and stepdad sold drugs out the door. I was a live-in nanny to my half-siblings. I’ve suffered lots of abuse–mentally, emotionally, and physically. As a small child, I vowed that my child would never go through this. I got abused by my ex-husband. But I got the courage to walk away. My mom that adopted me was my rock; she taught me how to really stand on my own two feet. I have two licenses in skincare in two different states. I have two bachelor’s degrees, one in business and one in marketing. I was a single mom at 30 years old. I left my husband when my son was 2 years old. I was not happy, so I got the courage to live my life on my own terms. Yes, I made a lot of mistakes on the way, but I don’t regret it at all.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means we should be equal to men. But in this day and age, we are not. God created man, but a woman can create life, nurture the baby in her womb and bring it forth, men can’t do this. I feel women should be empowered, not put down by men. A woman can do the same job as a man, probably even better. That’s my take on it.

 

Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

 

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