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.

 

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

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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.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Idoia

*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 Idoia, Barcelona, Spain 

 

“Once you are on stage, there is this magic, that it makes you shine even though you are under pressure. If you miss a step, the key is to continue no one is expecting you to be perfect but you! It about forgiving yourself and continuing. A mistake is an opportunity to grow.”

 

 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: The best approach to life is to be passionate in every second. It may sound cliché; however, there is no other way to live life meaningfully. In my point of view, during our lives, we have the chance to make positive impacts in our environment by understanding that life is full of good intent. I am passionate about people. Each of us has a story—something to tell the world. As human beings, we all deserve to be unique and to make mistakes in order to learn.

 

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Having said that, I feel grateful to work for one of the biggest online travel agencies in the world. Why? Because we bring people together as well as the world itself. Traveling has helped me to awaken my mind, to be open-minded and to see how beautiful diversity is. My role at the company is to ensure that travelers find the best deals for accommodation. This allows me to have a close relationship with the hospitality industry while working for a highly innovative travel platform. I would say that unconsciously, since I was a child, I knew that my life would be linked to travel. I will always remember the family trips around Spain with the car or summer holidays somewhere in Europe.

 

 

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

A: I would highlight two lessons. The first one is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing everything. Forgive yourself for that time you did not say what you wanted. Forgive yourself for failing. This is something I learned not so long ago, as I realized how tough I was being to myself. Indeed, it is essential to forgive to overcome difficult situations where you think you have failed. If there is not forgiveness, it will be much more difficult to continue your journey. It will feel as if you had an issue that had not been resolved with yourself.

 

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The second one is to be kind to others. When you meet someone, you don’t really know their story and what they have been through. In my view, each person behaves in a certain way because of a reason. Don’t blame that person for not being what you expected; there is probably an explanation for their behavior. Let the other person open up and tell you their story. Read what they are not able to say with words. We are sometimes afraid of showing vulnerability to others, while that is the moment when you are more honest and truthful to others and to yourself.

 

Q: What were your younger years like? 

A. I grew up in the northern region of Spain, in a beautiful region called Basque Country near the city of Bilbao.  I used to live in a little town close to the beach, and I played in the street until I was a teenager. I have now been living in Barcelona for three years, as I moved there to study for a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality management.

 

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I remember my childhood full of curiosity—always wanting to try new things and ready for adventure. For instance, I used to dance urban style dances since I was nine years, then my older sister encouraged me to take up ballet lessons at the age of thirteen. I felt completely lost for the first year! I thought about giving up, but there was something that I found in ballet that completely changed my perspective of life. I understood how important is to accept myself in front of a mirror, both physically, but mainly, psychologically. Furthermore, to see how in life one should reflect, think, and then act. This is, I would say, how you find balance in life (but also in ballet 😉).  As I continued practicing ballet, I felt that I wanted to improve and learn more and more. It helped me to be resilient and to apply it to school, goals, personal relationships. When it was time for the summer festival of the dance school, we used to feel pressured the last weeks before the show. That is when I learned to trust myself and not to be frightened about failing. Once you are on stage, there is this magic, that it makes you shine even though you are under pressure. If you miss a step, the key is to continue; no one is expecting you to be perfect but you! It’s about forgiving yourself and continuing. A mistake is an opportunity to grow.

 

 

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Q: What do you want others to learn from your story?

A: I feel that I am constantly learning and figuring out who I want to be. I do not believe in the only truth or the only answer. However, I have recently understood the importance of putting life in perspective and not making comparisons with others. We sometimes tend not to appreciate all we have in life because of making comparisons with others. This is especially relevant nowadays—as we are connected to other people’s lives in social networks 24/7. It is easy to compare yourself with the person you see on Instagram. Is it even fair to compare yourself with someone you don’t really know? It is not; you need to put in perspective your own goals and to look for inspiration rather than an exact role model.

 

I have learned that if I try to follow a role model, I forget about who I am and where I am going. I believe that even if you are not completely sure of where you want to be in the future, you already know where you do not want to be. This means that by following other’s steps, you do not necessarily end up where you want to go. It is more likely to feel that you have lost a chance to find your own way.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism is the change to a more open and free society. It is not about just women or men; it is about the role models that have historically been associated with women and men. Feminism fights for women to be able to break the existing roles and to be whatever we want to be. It is the way to eliminate the barriers to do or act in a certain way because of the fact of being a woman.  For those who think that feminism is just about women, I would say that it is also about defending for men to be able to have different roles as well. For instance, many say that men shouldn’t cry, while feminism defends that men should be able to cry like any other human being.

Furthermore, feminism is also about creating a support bond with another woman. In other words, not to look at other women as competition, but creating a sisterhood relationship. Luckily, I feel that this change is happening within the women around me—at work and with my friends.

I believe that feminism is a small word for such a big meaning. There is a phrase of Simone de Beauvoir which states a deep message about feminism: “Feminism is a way of living individually but fighting collectively.”

 

 

 

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