16 Valuable Lessons From Accomplished Women To Take Into 2022


Dec. 27 2021, Published 10:10 a.m. ET

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16 Valuable Lessons From Accomplished Women To Take Into 2022
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2021 was historic and exhausting, and I think we are all ready to move into the future.

Some blessings that did come from this year were the incredible, inspiring and accomplished women who shared their wisdom with Her Agenda. This year, we published 48 interviews for our Peek Inside Her Agenda series offering our readers guidance as they navigate their lives and careers.

Here are 16 lessons from powerful women we can reflect on as we bid this year adieu and enter 2022.

1. Dream Big And You Will Go Far

Christina Wilds
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“My dream as a little girl was to always go to Italy and eat pasta. Pasta was my favorite food. I feel like even growing up, there was this limitation like Black families on vacation, they only went to Disney World. I didn’t fathom or dream that I could take my daughter to Europe or Africa. But now that I’ve seen Italy and other places, I want my daughter, or any other girl, to understand that no matter what, dream big and there’s no limitation to where you can go in this world.”

- Christina Wilds, Children’s Book AuthorBlockquote close

2. Be The Change You Want To See

Aaliyah Williams
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“I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I want little Black kids and kids of color to watch television and film and see themselves or see things that take them completely out of their world and that’s what television and film and books did for me as a kid and I want to contribute to that.”

- Aaliyah Williams, TV/Film Producer, Founder of Just A RebelBlockquote close

3. Do Not Despise The Small Beginnings

Yvette Nicole Brown
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“We spend the beginning of our careers wishing we were somewhere else, right? But, the beginning of your career is when you meet those good friends that will walk with you through your career. The beginning of your career is when you really figure out what it’s about and who you are. I miss those days. . . I hope everyone, wherever they are in life, celebrates and enjoys where they are and cherishes the people who are on the ride with them.”

- Yvette Nicole Brown, Actress, Director and HostBlockquote close

4. Prioritizing Yourself Is Not Selfish

Tia Mowry
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“I think it is normalized for women to feel like they have to be superwomen. Part of it is brought on by societal standards. . . We are always focusing on giving, giving, giving to other people. Society also celebrates perfectionism which is very dangerous to your mind, body, and spirit. I’ve learned the hard way [the pitfalls] of trying to be a superwoman, like becoming burned out, anxious, and depressed. I know what that feels like and I don’t ever want to go back there anymore. I’ve been an advocate for myself, my self-care, and my boundaries.”

- Tia Mowry, Actress, and Co-Founder of AnserBlockquote close

5. Do Work That Inspires You, Not Work That Will Merely Pay The Bills

Sheetal Sheth
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“It’s always been about being honest and truly, truly authentic. When I was first started out as an actress, I bartended for a lot longer than I could have. I was getting work but there was a lot of work that I didn’t want to be a part of. I made a choice that I would bartend rather than do a job that I felt wasn’t moving the needle forward. Money can certainly be a reason why you take a job, but I didn’t want to ever feel like money was the only reason.”

- Sheetal Sheth, Author, Actress, Producer and ActivistBlockquote close

6. Network Side To Side And Not Just Up

Gia Peppers
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“The biggest hack is creating with people who are looking to create dope things. They might need a host on an event premiere because they are a cinematographer and they want an incredible event and know you can bring incredible energy. So, barter your talent and say “Hey I can do your next event for free if you can record this for me for free.” Or, collaborate on a project that would mutually benefit both of your portfolios. Tap into those communities that are actually in your sphere of influence. Full circle moments are real and authentically networking is the biggest life hack.”

- Gia Peppers, On-Air Talent, Entertainment JournalistBlockquote close

7. Play The Cards That You’ve Been Dealt

Danika Berry
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“I never allowed my situation to define me. And I’ll never let anyone deny me. I just kept going and I refused to be denied. The number one thing that keeps people from succeeding, that keeps people broke, is accepting what they’re dealt in life. Then eventually you’re 50, 60, 70 years old wondering what the hell happened. Imma tell you what happened: you talked yourself out of your purpose. I did not want to talk myself out of my purpose. I know what my purpose is and I didn’t want to have a what-if story. Don’t ever have a what-if story.”

- Danika Berry Founder and CEO DB Agency, Glam BodyBlockquote close

8. Start Where You Are

Melissa Carnegie
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“Just start. Start where you are and don’t think that you need all of these things, like professional cameras, to get started. Be your authentic self and stay that way, don’t look at others around you or check to see what your peers are doing. Just staying in your lane will help people gravitate towards you and want to be a part of the tribe you build. Show up as your authentic self, stay consistent with your content, and also listen to your community and audience. You have to begin somewhere.”

- Melissa Carnegie, Head of Global Community and Communications at Cantu, Founder of Kicks and FrosBlockquote close

9. Do It Scared

 Dr. Thomisha Booker
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“We get this idea that we’re supposed to move through life without all of these feelings. That we’re supposed to be holding to this happiness and this praise, and that’s not realistic. [This motto] is a reminder to feel comfortable with feelings that are not so comfortable. You’re going to show up, you’re going to feel scared and you’re going to do it. You’re going to feel scared, and you’re going to be alright.”

- Dr. Thomisha Booker, Author, CEO of Hey Carter! BooksBlockquote close

10. Show Support For Your Peers And Your Community

A Peek Inside Her Agenda: Jasmin Allen
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“I think that what could be helpful is creating women’s focused initiatives that have diverse representation. Supporting the creation of mentorship and coaching programs for women of color that give them visibility within the organization and in the industry [is important]. And also, it’s critical to focus on the retention and promotion of women of color, to ensure that they feel supported, that they feel that they can grow their careers within your organization, and then that they can ascend. If you do these things. . . I think that will go a long way toward ensuring that they feel they have the support that they need and the pathway that they need to make it and rise through the ranks.”

- Jasmine Allen, Senior Vice President of Hennessy USABlockquote close

11. Be Comfortable Saying ‘No’ To Opportunities That Don’t Feel Right

A Peek Inside Her Agenda: Kelly Edwards
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“Opportunities for people of color have always been restricted and limited compared to our white counterparts. I created Colour Entertainment because I noticed that when opportunities came up, my white counterpart down the hallway always got the calls even though my reputation was much better than hers. I was still the odd man out, which was lonely. I didn’t have many people to talk to outside my department and I had to seek those friendships outside my workplace because there weren’t a lot of people of color at those companies. I don’t know how many opportunities I’ve passed up but I certainly make decisions based on the environment I will be working in. I will never again work in a place with a toxic environment as I only want to work with people who have my back.”

- Kelly Edwards, President of Colour Entertainment, Writer & Producer at Edwardian PicturesBlockquote close

12. You Don’t Have To Have It All Figured Out

Eliza Blank
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“Now that I’m older, I realize that nobody has it figured out. Even people who have 30 years of experience still have to use their skills to apply whatever is happening today. Because whatever is happening today has never happened before. Being an entrepreneur is getting really comfortable with the idea that you don’t have to know everything. That really puts you in a mindset of innovation and creativity, and it’s what allows you to do things differently. It puts you in a position to disrupt things.”

- Eliza Blank, Founder and CEO of The SillBlockquote close

13. Focus On The Journey Rather Than The Outcome

A Peek Inside Her Agenda: Melissa Butler
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“I’ve taken the approach of like, well, what’s the worst that can happen? If it goes wrong, then what? One of the most important things that an entrepreneur or any human can have in their back pocket is this fearlessness that says, ‘Okay, if this goes wrong, I’ve learned from it. I’ve experienced it. Now I’m changed from it.’ As opposed to putting everything on the outcome, you start focusing on the journey, and when you focus on the journey, surely there will be moments of doubt, but also you’ll know that there will be new experiences that will shape you for generations.”

- Melissa Butler, Founder and CEO of The Lip BarBlockquote close

14. Use Transparency To Form Bonds With Your Audience

Deja Riley
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“If you are being honest and who you are on a daily basis, and maybe sharing pieces of that along the way, then it’s ‘as this journey unfolds,’ I get to be authentically myself and attract this audience along the way because I am just being me.”

- Deja Riley, Dancer, Trainer and Lululemon Global AmbassadorBlockquote close

15. Give Yourself Permission To Fall In And Out Of Love With Your Passion

Necole Kane
Source: Tailiah Breon
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“I’ve had a passion for media for a long time, but I could see it fading as years went by. I look back on my grandparents and think of them staying in one career their entire lives. I couldn’t imagine that because I become a new person every second. Give yourself permission to fall in and out of love with what you thought was your passion. I believe that people are going to know me for four or five brands by the time I’m 60 because I’m always evolving. Even in my next venture, and my next one, I’m giving myself permission to fail. You have to find your voice and stride.”

- Necole Kane, Founder of xoNecoleBlockquote close

16. Don’t Be Afraid To Work Odd Jobs Until You Get To Where You Want To Be

Taylor Lorenz
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“Start a newsletter, podcast, streaming. . . I was a temp for most of my years after college, working retail, administrative, receptionist, [those jobs] that didn’t set me back. Thereʼs a lot of people like that [in the industry].”

- Taylor Lorenz, New York Times Culture and Technology ReporterBlockquote close

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By: Bareerah Zafar

Bareerah Zafar is a journalist based in Southern California. On top of her freelance reporting, she works as a beauty editor for Parachute Media. Zafar dedicates her career to empowering underrepresented communities through storytelling.

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