In entrepreneurship and in our every day careers, for those of us in leadership it is not just a position or status, but a lifestyle. Delta Sigma Theta soror, Ruth Gadson, created her brand, Leadership is a Lifestyle to give lessons in leadership to those who seek it. I recently interviewed Mrs. Gadson where she discussed her inspirations behind starting her lifestyle blog. Check out the interview below:
Can you please tell myself and the readers about yourself?
I am a wife and mother of three—ages 5, 8 and 14. I have resided in Okinawa, Japan for more than 10 years after being offered and accepting the position of Language Arts Educator at a military high school.
Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations?
I never choose just one specific person. Since a very young age, there were a myriad of issues that I faced at various times. It was those challenges that charged me to want to do better and be better for myself and toward my future goals. Very often I was inspired by the positive actions that I had witnessed being displayed by others which has inspired and influenced me to want to position myself to emulate their examples.
Just the other day a friend and I were discussing the many contentions involved in maintaining strong friendships with other Black women. It can be quite daunting and is definitely a VERY difficult thing to do for many in our community. Rather than solidarity in the uplifting of each other, there is way too much aggression and belligerence.
I went on to share with her that seeing other Black women excelling and functioning as “movers and shakers” in the community is actually what inspires me. I thrive off seeing others prevail, succeed and transcend. I love to see this because it is what motivates me. I have no time to “hate”. If I have to step on someone else to bring myself up, then I don’t want it. So, my inspiration has always been from watching the positive events and actions taking place in other people’s lives. This has always been my ‘true’ inspiration.
While attending Howard University you pledged Delta how was the experience?
I did not pledge on Howard’s campus. During my time there the organization was off of the yard. I pledged the alumnae chapter –Okinawa Alumnae Chapter. My experience as a Delta has been wonderful. It gave me the opportunity to be around MORE positive women and also gave me even greater inspiration. I was elected and became the chapter president and also held the Japan State Regional Coordinator position. I was recently appointed by our National President, Beverly Smith, to ‘sit’ on the National Membership Committee as one of the International Chapter Engagement Members. In 2017, I was invited by our immediate-past president, Dr. Paulette Walker, to participate in our national convention activities. I am currently the Vice President of my chapter, as well as a trainer. All of this has taken place since pledging in 2012— just six short years ago. I am honored to have acquired this experience.
After you graduated what career opportunities were you afforded?
As an undergraduate student at Howard University, I majored in Journalism and minored in Education. While attending, I interned with US News and World Report, BET and the Florida Times-Union. I was afforded the opportunity to work in my field, but instead chose education. While mentoring and tutoring in D.C., I ‘discovered’ that my calling was to become a school teacher and have fulfilled that wonderful role for 17 years.
What influenced you to become a teacher in Japan?
Actually, when I tell you that other Black women inspire me–THEY DO! There was a sister that I worked with who told me about living and teaching overseas. Growing up as a “military brat”, and living overseas as a youngster, I simply never thought about how our teachers got there, but when she brought it to my attention, she sparked my interest and here I am.
What inspired you to write your book?
My five-year-old son, Adam, is who I thank for this book. Most of the story line is from his own words. It all came about from a conversation that we had in the car when he was only three-years-old.
What message, feeling and perception do you want your book to give?
I want people to see the innocence in our little Black boys. Unfortunately, oftentimes, our Black brothers and sons are not ‘allowed’ to just be kids. Studies have shown they are vilified and considered scary, from as far back as elementary school. It is a sad situation when we, as parents of Black children, know that they are innocent and enjoy fun times, play and imagination, just like all other kids and that they are no different. So, I want people to see and feel the awe and innocence expressed in the story and to also feel the enjoyment of experiencing even the little things in life.
Is their any other activities, hobbies or affiliations you would like the reader’s to know about?
Yes, I publish a leadership blog on Facebook and it will be released on Instagram very soon. The blog title is #LeadershipIsALifestyle. You will enjoy many of my favorite quotes that have definitely inspired me and I then ‘pen’ and share how they can relate towards becoming a better leader and outstanding role model in everyday life. My personal belief is that we are all leaders— whether or not we feel that we are or even care to acknowledge it.
Can you offer any words of wisdom to the millennial generation?
Yes, I can! Do not ever shun those of us who are Generation Xer’s, and older. There is lots to be learned from us and vice versa from the millennials. We are also counting on the millennial generation to move things forward and to make places and spaces better than they were before.