NOBEL Women Executive Director Waikinya Clanton chatted with BlackEnterprise.com about the organization and its effort to develop the next generation of leaders. The 28-year-old continues the second half of this conversation by imparting powerful advice for becoming a fearless leader.
BlackEnterprise.com: How can our readers become involved with NOBEL Women?
Waikinya Clanton: We have information about the institute on our website. You can contact us here at the D.C. office. The website is www.nobel-women.org, and the office number is 202-507-6246. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BlackEnterprise.com: Why do you think developing leadership skills in women is so important?
Clanton: Black women tend to be the sole bread winners in their families. So in an economy where more women are entering the workplace and having to manage multiple jobs, we feel like we can have some additional advances in the home structure if we prepare women to have more senior roles in the jobs that they do have. This is more favorable than a woman working two minimum-wage jobs. Maybe we can get her trained and assimilated to take on more of a management role in one of her main jobs so that she can put more time and more effort into the family and also bring in more income and improve her quality of living.
BlackEnterprise.com: What would you say to a woman who wants to be a leader but she’s very quiet or shy? What message of encouragement do you have for those quiet leaders out there?
Clanton: I would say don’t be afraid of the unknown. A lot of women are afraid to go for that next level because they fear not being successful. But in order to fail, you must first try. I really encourage them to find that confidence they need. One thing I love about NOBEL is that they are invested in developing leaders, especially next-generation leaders. I am one of the youngest executive directors the organization has ever had. I am 28 years old, and I have been leading this organization for two years now. We are doing very well because we have a structure that promotes leadership and that challenges us to be great at what we’re doing. They make sure that we are trained and ready to go. We are encouraged to not be afraid of the unknown and to just go for our goals. Having a very strong support system helps develop certain leadership skills. And that’s what you also get from the leadership institute. The aim of this institute is to foster relationships, create mentorship opportunities, and help establish a strong pipeline to get more women involved and encourage them to venture outside the unknown.
BlackEnterprise.com: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today?
Clanton: Never give up, stay focused, remain prayerful, and keep your goals in the forefront. People might approach you and tell you that you’re not ready, but you have to know within yourself that you’re ready. You have to be your biggest and loudest cheerleader. Know what you want and don’t let other people’s agenda get in the way.
Go here for part one of this interview.