Give light and people will find the way.- Sequoya
It is rare to come across people that possess a presence, energy, and smile that truly light up any space. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with one of those beautiful souls, Sequoya Brown. Motivator, community advocate, and blogger (stay tuned), Sequoya embodies the phrase “be the change you want to see” and is a vibrant inspiration.
Learn more about Sequoya’s journey below!
How would you describe yourself in one word?
“A light. I want to lead by example. Hopefully this will help others switch their light on, and light up the world.”
What do you love most about Chicago?
“It’s home, there is so much culture here and pride. There is so much talent, the music, the food… it’s like no other place.”
What ignited your interest in non-profit work?
“I was born and raised in Englewood but I went to high school in the suburbs. After studying sociology in college, I did some reflection of how different my life would have been if I stayed in the city. I realized the importance of resources. The opportunities that were available to me in the suburbs were not available to others in the city.
There was a disparity of resources available such as mentorships and guidance. There are so many stories of young women who are lost because they don’t have good stable role models in the neighboorhood where I came from.
This pushed me to learn more about mental health. I want to be able to teach and encourage others to express their emotions and discover their own identities outside of what anyone tells them. I want them to learn to foster a relationship with themselves.”
What drives you to get out of bed each morning?
“My dream of opening a community center. It seems so far away from me sometimes and that gets discouraging. Each day I have to push myself to do something I didn’t do the day before. GOD aligns me with people and opportunities to help with this vision every day. Opportunities like: conferences and networking events and people that can offer me input on how to get things started.
Staying in the bed makes me feel lazy. Each day that I have the opportunity to wake up, I have the opportunity to work towards my purpose. The resources that I want to push into these communities are resources that will help black women thrive. If I can be of any assistance by just mentoring young black women and men, that’s my purpose.”
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
“I wish I would have started sooner, this isn’t a new dream. I’ve been dreaming of this and making vision boards and planning my community center since I was 17. I gave up on it and did what felt safe and made other people around me feel comfortable. I wish I would have kept at it and not have been so scared because of what other people said. I couldn’t be more grateful for my process. For each day of my journey, I’m going to have another piece of my story to tell. It is important that I stop playing it safe because my dreams aren’t just my dreams. They are something that will benefit everybody.
What three pieces of advice would you give to people who would like to start non-profit?
- “Pray. Making sure I’m spiritually aligned, is a huge part of me. If you try to go against GOD’s plan, you will fail.”
- “Align yourself with people who see you in a different way. For example with the org I’m building now, I never saw myself in this role. Sometimes people around you can see that you have the potential to be more than you think you can be. Surround yourself with people that will tell you no when you’re being foolish. Watch the company you keep.”
- Do your homework. There is so much free info about almost anything you want to accomplish. It involves a lot of reading and sometimes we don’t want to read anything longer than 140 charecters. It’s worth it.
Tips on taking a leap on faith:
“GOD has put me in spaces of discomfort in order for me to get to where he needs me to be. All journeys will have obstacles and sacrifices. When you make the leap you are not going to know what will happen and that’s so scary. Sometimes you can work as hard as you can and still fail. There will be discomfort but there will be strength and resilience and that outweighs the struggle. I’m still working towards my dream. I have to pray throughout this period of discomfort and this journey.
I look at it as an investment, give a little discomfort right now and put it in the right hands, GOD’S HANDS. Who knows when he will multiply it. I know that he can and I know that he will. We are never ok with the “eventually part”. The result will come, this is just a season.
Wow. How can I follow that? Sequoya has such an engaging persona and an amazing gift. I am grateful to have been blessed to have shared space with her. Where ever you are in life, I hope her story has helped you.
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