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: Keisha

*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 Keisha, Antigo, Wisconsin 

“Life is not defined by circumstance but instead comes from an understanding of yourself and your true power.” 

 

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Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Nothing excites me more than to see a woman step into her true power, her purpose. I am passionate about helping women realize what’s possible for them. I love providing the tools and guidance to shift their mindsets, manifest their dreams, and shift their whole life experience. Check out the Abundant Mother Hustler email list and more here.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My childhood and young adolescence molded me to be and live in survival-mode most of my life. I grew up in multiple homes between my grandparents, father, and mother, but around age 14, I permanently moved out and bounced around from friends’ homes throughout high school.

 

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I believe my struggles, my life stories, and living with constant uncertainty developed this passion inside me to overcome, to learn, and to discover that life is not defined by circumstance but instead comes from an understanding of yourself and your true power. I am living proof you can transform your outside world and life from within your mind.

 

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

A: Every single person has a gift, talent, and ability. Every single person has the power to transform their lives if they shift to a higher level of thinking. 95% of what we do is controlled by our subconscious minds, 5% is influenced by our everyday level of thinking, known as our thoughts. When a person discovers and learns how to master their thoughts, they can transform their subconscious and accomplish/attract their desires, unearth their talents, gifts, and abilities, which allows them to live a much higher quality of life. That’s where my passion to teach comes in and why I do what I do.

Read about the unconscious mind here. 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism means to me that every woman has a birthright to live her best life.

 

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Thank you for reading! 

 

 

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

Click here to connect with Keisha!

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

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Woman Wednesday: Cierra

*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 Cierra, Dallas, Texas

“If I could give any advice to people starting out pursuing a life of financial freedom, it is DO NOT GIVE UP! Yes, some days will be harder than others, and yes, some days you will be lucky to break even. Yes, it’s going to seem like people around you are taking off before you, but stay patient.” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am a beauty enthusiast and was born in Fort Worth. My passion for enhancing one’s own natural beauty through eyelash extensions has led me to create two brands of my own, LashedByCee and Bleu Luxe Collection.

Being a Lashboss was never my intention nor was it my long term dream, but I’m more passionate about it than ever! After having my second child, I knew that just having a 9 to 5 was not going to do my family any justice. Watching my mom growing up being Superwoman, I’ve always aspired to be that woman. The woman that can work, provide, and flourish. No matter what obstacles I have seen my mom go through, she always handled things gracefully. I want nothing more than my boys to see me as Superwoman with an amazing pair of lashes. 

 

 

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Whether you prefer individual extensions or the traditional strip lashes, LashedbyCee is able to cater to all your luxury lash needs. I have over a decade of experience creating realistic looking lashes while complimenting unique facial features of all eye types.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

Growing up, I was a huge tomboy. I never really got into makeup or anything glamorous until I had kids of my own. My two boys are the ones who motivated me to add a feminine touch into my everyday attire and promote this same energy among my clients as well.

 

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

A: If I could give any advice to people starting out pursuing a life of financial freedom, it is DO NOT GIVE UP! Yes, some days will be harder than others, and yes, some days you will be lucky to break even. Yes, it’s going to seem like people around you are taking off before you, but stay patient. I think anyone that has tried to pursue something that they really wanted goes through those series of questions. I found a great support group on Facebook that promotes women entrepreneurship, and some days, these ladies really get me by! I would like to have a storefront within the next two years, and hopefully starting classes of my own by next year. I encourage everyone and anyone if you find passion in something, try to see how you can make money off of it. Becoming an Eyelash Tech is by far the best investment I’ve ever made for my family and me.

 

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Thank you for reading! 

 

 

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

Follow me on Insta: lashed.bycee.dfw

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Helaina, 911 Survivor

*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.        


Helaina Hovitz from New York, New York

Helaina Hovitz was twelve and in middle school three blocks from the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

“I started trying to put myself back together—first, in 12-step programs, where I learned to stop relying on substances to quiet the chatter in my mind.”

 

Anyone who has survived a horrific event knows that just because a body remains in motion does not mean everything will simply “go back to normal.” The chemistry of the brain and the body changes, impacting our relationships, our choices, and how we experience the world around us. Yet, we rarely find out what actually happens to people as they try to move on from a life-threatening experience—especially children, who are just beginning to develop an understanding of the world around them.

 

You remember where you were on September 11, 2001. We all do. For me, it was the second day of seventh grade at I.S. 89, the middle school just three blocks from the World Trade Center. My first-period teacher, Mr. H., was beginning a lesson when what sounded like a giant whirring motor interrupted him. Moments later a teacher knocked on the door and told us that someone had bombed the World Trade Center. We were quickly ushered to the cafeteria.

No one at the school knew what had really happened, but shortly after the second plane hit the South Tower, the bomb squad burst in and announced that we had to evacuate. Droves of hysterical parents arrived to take their kids. My mom and dad were stuck at their offices, but I spotted my neighbor Ann and her son Charles, whom I walked to school with every day. I wanted to go home. They could get me there. Through the oppressive smoke and ash, we tried to make it back, but police blocked our usual route. The street under us rumbled. Shards of glass and concrete screeched down all around. “Cover your faces!” Ann shouted. “Don’t look back, and run!”

 

At 22, I identified as an alcoholic and was often the youngest one in many of the 12-step meeting rooms (I didn’t need to go to rehab). I never picked up a drink again. Life became more fun than it had ever really been because my feelings were real. Girls my own age wanted to be friends and hang out with me, do things like go to the movies or have brunch. There was plenty to do that didn’t involve drinking when you knew where to look for it, and about two years into sobriety, when I had worked on myself, not just through CBT, DBT, meditation, and the steps, I had rebuilt the life and identity I never had the chance to when my world came crashing down at age 12. Like the woman I had only imagined, I would be my wildest fantasies—calm, patient, clever, understanding, selfless, and rational—I began to build a life and welcome people into it who made me feel happy.

Most of all, these tools made me feel safe in the world again, and safe in my own skin. Safe in my own ability to be “okay” no matter how painful or stressful things got. Changing my perspective and expectations for “fun” also changed the game—when I started thinking about what I could bring to or contribute to a situation, how I could help someone else laugh or feel happy, rather than what I could “get from it.”

A wise teacher once told me that before you can feel happy, or loved, or give love or make someone else happy, you have to feel safe. And that was when life became fun: because I had the capacity to feel it.

Through meditation, I found peace between my thoughts. Through yoga, which can still be a challenge, I began to focus on the moment. Now, when the subway stops suddenly, my adrenaline doesn’t surge. I distract myself with emails, listen to my favorite song, or think about what’s for dinner. Panic wants to creep in, but its seduction doesn’t work anymore. I can let it go. [Eighteen years ago] today, more than 3,000 people died and more than 6,000 were injured. Thousands more survived but were forever changed—myself among them. But today, I’m finally able to move on. I’ve learned the best way to work through my fear is simply to stay still. No more reaching, no more fighting. And no more running.

I have shared my story with the world.

In many ways, After 9/11 is the story of an entire generation growing up in the aftermath of America’s darkest day. It is the story of a group of children who directly survived September 11th, 2001, and bore its invisible scars for the rest of their lives. And, for one young woman, it is the story of a survivor who, after witnessing the end, got to make a new beginning.

 

The events and experiences that are now common knowledge to everyone were a very real part of Helaina’s life, and are still as vivid in her memory today: the sickening thud of falling bodies hitting cars, the crumbling towers, running for her life as she tried to get home, her universe engulfed literally in a cloud. Hundreds, including Helaina, were stranded in the neighborhood, also just blocks from the fiery remains of the Towers, without phones or electricity or anyone to help. For fear of subsequent attacks, not to mention the toxic substances in the air, everyone was urged to stay inside their debris-filled apartments.

 

Helvaina’s page

Medium feature

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Thank you for reading. What’s your experience or memory of 9/11?

Comment below.

Woman Wednesday: Lisa

*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 Lisa, Saskatchewan, Canada

“Take care and love yourself. You are worth loving! You have everything you need inside of yourself. You have the cognitive power to improve your life through your thoughts and emotions.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: There are many things that I’m passionate about…#1 is family–my two kids, Elle and Jude, and my husband, Elvis. Plus, our parents, siblings, and extended family too!

 

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Next, I’m passionate about music (Arcadia), modeling, travel, language, and pretty much anything to do with marketing, film, and ecommerce. 

I used to study and perform opera. To me, opera is like traveling through language, time and space. You get to glimpse into an old world, different languages and almost forgotten culture through your whole body. I eventually crossed over into Americana and French-English Electro (Mine Tonite). My music has been featured at the Cannes Music Festival, aired on radio and TV stations in France (Come 2 Me). I’m a HUGE Beatles nerd/fan on top of it – they’ve been a major influence on my music and life. 

 

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For travel, I’ve lived on and explored 4 continents/about 23 countries so far. I’ve done school exchanges in Quebec, France, Croatia, and China. Traveling is like a hunger that can never be satisfied–once I do a trip, multiple others show up on my travel list.

 

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For marketing, from a young age, I learned sales techniques from my parents, who at the time, were selling Amway. I graduated high school with a chemical technology scholarship but quickly decided that was not the route for me (even though I adore chemical bonding!). I got a job as a sales rep for The Source (formerly Radio Shack). I was the only female employee at the time, but within 3 weeks, I soaked up so much information and performed so well that I was promoted to Assistant Manager. Within a few months, I became the top sales person in the province and the first female to hit that position. I knew I had found my calling (well, one of them). 

 

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Afterwards, I traveled for about a year in Australia and Asia then I moved to Kelowna, BC ,to start my bachelor’s degree in business administration majoring in marketing. After my first year of business, I did a summer French exchange to La Pocatiere, Quebec, where I learned French (in 5 weeks!), guitar, dance, and fell madly in love with opera. In my third year of business, I did exchanges in Caen, Normandy, France, and Zagreb, Croatia. I traveled to about 14 European countries while modelling, acting, and recording music–it was so incredible! 

 

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In 2013, I completed my BBA in marketing and started working in media and film in Kelowna, BC. I dabbled in ecommerce a bit but I didn’t catch on…yet. I was on the board of an independent film nonprofit called OSIF. I moved to Vancouver in 2015 to pursue film, music, and marketing, but I got side-tracked with a relationship…I ended up moving around feeling lost and started a business with my ex. 

 

I became pregnant with my 1st child and things started to go sideways. Pressure started to build and my ex could not handle it and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with all the stress. He started cheating on me and became abusive to my daughter and I–mainly verbally, but it started to build and build with more physical, mental, sexual, and emotional controlling abuse. It was not a surprise that I became pregnant with baby #2. 

 

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The abuse got to a very intense and scary place. Luckily, my sister came to save me and brought my family into the discussion as I had been hiding it for a long time. That’s something I learned later on that’s a typical reaction to controlling abuse is becoming a “battered woman”. This is where the woman (or man) being abused ends up so controlled they feel they have to hide and protect their abuser. My abuser controlled me in many ways, but one thing he would do was threaten to commit suicide if I didn’t forgive him. He even cheated on me when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, he blamed me for it, then said he was going to kill himself over and over again until I said I forgave him.

 

At age 30, I was a pregnant single mom moving into my parent’s basement. I was completely broke, anemic, depressed, could not find work, I was not eligible for maternity leave (I ended up going on social assistance/ welfare) and was on the road to bankruptcy. My ex was using our business cash flow for drugs, which was a very expensive habit. It felt like I was living in a nightmare. 

 

Thankfully, I went to counselling, I meditated every day, and after applying for 100s of jobs, I said “screw this!” and started my own business back up again–Unbound Market. I took every free e-course, downloaded every free e-book, and watched tons of YouTube videos to learn as much as I could about ecommerce and online business. Out of my darkest time, I was able to rebuilt my life and find myself again. It was extremely hard to go through it, but now I’m grateful for everything because I am pretty much indestructible now–I focus on what I love, and I leave behind the old negativity behind.

 

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I was born and raised in Saskatoon, SK. We have extreme weather here. +30c in summer and -40c in winter, sometimes -50c to -60c with the wind chill (86f summer, -22f to -76f winter). I enjoy finding the silver lining in most situations–the cold is excellent for reducing inflammation and has anti-aging effects. I spent many winters tobogganing under the northern lights soaking in the light vibrations. And, many summers camping at nearby lakes (Saskatchewan has over 100,000 lakes). I have 2 siblings–a sister and brother, I’m the youngest and pretty much got away with everything and still do! 

 

Typically, I’m a girly girl but with camping and lots of outdoor activities, it’s helped me to not be afraid of getting my hands dirty. Also, being able to appreciate things on a deeper level. I know what it’s like to have nothing but family. I’m so grateful and appreciative of my life every second of every day. 

 

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When I was younger, I felt like there was so much more out there that I needed to experience. That feeling helped me to get out of my comfort zone and I sought out those experiences traveling to 23 countries, studying 6 languages, creating 3 bilingual music videos, being a board member of a nonprofit film group, working on commercials and TV movies in Kelowna and Vancouver, BC, modeling all over Canada and Europe, being signed with multiple agencies, completing my bachelor’s degree in business administration specializing in marketing, international business, and linguistics, plus giving birth twice with no epidurals.

 

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

A: First, ladies (and gentlemen), if a person uses suicide as a way of getting out of guilt from bad things they’ve done, give them a self-help pamphlet and please run away as fast as you can. I know that’s harsh but even if you think you can help them, you can’t they can only make that decision themselves. Here’s a video I recently posted about overcoming an abusive relationship that gives a bit more insight to my story.

 

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Second, YOU are amazing!! Take care and love yourself. You are worth loving!! You have everything you need inside of yourself. You have the cognitive power to improve your life through your thoughts and emotions. If you’re stuck in a bad relationship or situation, know you have the power to change that. I highly recommend EFT (tapping- it’s like a full body reset), cognitive thought therapy (to reverse negative thought patterns and even disease–Louise Hay is amazing!), forest bathing and grounding (get outside for at least 10 minutes per day), and take your vitamins (B12, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C & D and Iron are my go-tos along with Cardioflex). And lastly, meditation (or calm breathing if you prefer)…it is by far the most powerful technique to manifesting your true desires. Solfeggio frequencies are usually my go-tos–they can help repair your DNA! 

 

I posted about my recent marriage and how my life has turned around significantly in 2 years through manifestation and energy healing. I hope by sharing my story, I can encourage others to overcome trauma and create the life they truly desire and ultimately deserve.

 

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I met my now husband, Elvis, when I was 6 months pregnant! At certain points, I never thought it would be possible to meet and trust a man. But I had this overwhelming feeling of love and I heard a voice that said, “Go for it!”. Something just clicked, we met and fell in love. He was so understanding of my situation and was like the perfect puzzle piece to the kids and I. 

 

Elvis came to the hospital a couple hours after my son Jude was born on January 20th, 2018. Just under a year later, we got engaged on my birthday January 10th, 2019, and started wedding planning asap. There’s been many other ups and downs (I had 3 surgeries within a year–check my YouTube, as I’ll be posting videos about those soon). Elvis has stuck with me through so much! I’m so grateful for him and the kids! And, grateful for staying strong with loving myself and manifesting my true desires.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, to me, is a very loaded subject. I’ve tended to work in male-dominated fields (such as selling electronics, film and ecommerce). Being the only female gave me huge advantages. One of my favorite (dis)advantages was being underestimated. I constantly surprised people with my knowledge, ideas, and expertise. I’ve had older males literally push past me asking “I wanna talk to a man”. Once they realized I was in a management position and knew so much, they’d be shaking my hand while leaving the store or after signing a business contract. 

I personally prefer female empowerment over feminism. I feel women are rising up greater than we have been able to in many lifetimes. We’re taking over and the world will be a better place from it. 

 

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

Links: Unbound Market is business and Unbound Heart is personal.

Website Unbound Market

Facebook Unbound Market 

Facebook Unbound Heart

YouTube Unbound Market

Youtube Unbound Heart

Twitter Unbound Market

Twitter Unbound Heart

Instagram Unbound Market

Pinterest 

LinkedIn

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂