We are gearing up for another round of workshops, beginning May 5th, and we’ll have many new women from the community coming to speak. With the help of Microsoft, these workshop will continue empowering young women to embrace their own beauty!
Erica Williams, the speaker from our last “I Am Enough” workshop, shared her story AND her book Eviction Notice: 10 Steps to Putting Guilt and Shame Out of Your Life with the young women at the workshop.
Eviction Notice is a self-empowerment book for women. According to Erica, the book “takes the reader on a journey of comparing herself to a house. The tenants who live in that house are her thoughts and character traits.” The goal is to ‘evict’ guilt and shame from a woman’s life. The inspiration for this book, Erica said, came from her own life; including her spirituality and her belief in keeping an intentional and positive mindset towards life.
In the following interview, we dive into Erica’s life and passions. Enjoy!
Q: What made you decide to be a part of this project?
A: I decided to be part of this project because there are so many things I didn’t know as a teenager and I’d love to share some of those lessons. Being a teenager was hard in my day, so I know our girls today need much more love and encouragement.
Q: What message do you want girls to take away from the EYOB (Embrace Your Own Beauty) workshops?
A: I want the girls to come out of the EYOB workshops noticeably stronger and more confident than they were at the onset. I want them to leave knowing they are uniquely qualified to complete a mission specifically for themselves.
Q: Here at StitchCharities, we’re all about empowering women. We start by teaching our girls how to embrace their own beauty. What advice do you have as they journey through this process?
A: There will be people who spread love and people who spread hate. By loving yourself first, you have the power to spread love.
Q: We understand no one is 100% confident all the time, how do you handle self-doubt and uncertainty?
A: Personally, I use the word of God to get me through those times. These thoughts come often and I use scripture-based affirmations to remind me of who I am.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for young girls to have self-love?
A: There will be times when you can’t count on the love of others. Being able to love yourself in spite of that is the fuel you need to keep going.
Q: What motivated you to choose the career path you are currently on?
A: Honestly, I just want to see people win. I just want to motivate every woman to find what she needs to win at loving herself, others and completing her life’s mission.
Q: If you could only use one word to describe what you want to represent in your chosen career field, what would that word be?
A: Perseverance. I want women to look at me and know that trials will come up, but we are equipped to keep going.
Q: What were the biggest hurdles that you faced as a female in the workforce?
A: The biggest hurdle I faced was compensation. Knowing what to ask for and how to ask was very challenging.
Q: Many say the glass ceiling is tough to break through for a woman in the workforce. Do you agree? If so, why do you think this is the case?
A: There is a glass ceiling and it definitely is hard to break on your own. I don’t think the glass ceiling is hard to break with a team, however. The tough thing to find is a tribe of people who love and support your vision and add value. Once you are surrounded with those people, nothing will stop you.
Q: Who is your role model and why?
A: So many…Robin Simpson (my mom), Oprah Winfrey, Wyvetta Granger, Sarah Jakes-Roberts, Stacia Pierce, Lisa Nichols…these are all women who have found solid ground to stand on in the face of adversities.
Q: How have they inspired your journey?
A: My mom reminds me of the strength that flows through my veins. Oprah reminds me it’s never too late. Wyvetta reminds me to keep God first. Sarah reminds me that the 1st part of my life doesn’t determine the rest of my life. Lisa reminds me that I can have all things and that it starts with my mind. Stacia reminds me that I can make it and turn around and help others.
Q: Now for some hard hitting questions, what is your favorite food?
A: My favorite food….this is probably the hardest question! I’m just a foodie through and through. If I had to choose a favorite I’d say soul food. That includes so many foods but what makes it my favorite is the love that goes into its preparation.
Q: Who is your favorite music artist?
A: My favorite artist is Beyonce because, well… it’s Beyonce. She exudes love for herself and people through music and philanthropy; not to mention she’s a great mom and wife, looking absolutely fabulous the entire time.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I would explore the entire continent of Africa. I’d love to see the places I learned about in my history books and I’d love to see where my people come from.
Q: Back to your journey, paint us a picture, what was high school like for you?
A: High school was overall amazing. I had great friends that I still have today, many opportunities and learned a lot of things. I actually enjoyed learning and helping my friends to learn. I often thought I could explain things better than the teacher which, in retrospect, caused problems with my classmates and teachers alike.
I enjoyed activities from basketball to flag line. I kept stats for the baseball team and I was a 1st Lieutenant in our AFJROTC program. I started working at 14, which gave me experiences I’ll never forget. I was growing out of a tomboy-ish phase and began experimenting with my hair, nails and clothes (but I was very safe with my experiments)!
I wasn’t the most popular, best dressed, or even the smartest. I was very sarcastic and my mouth got me in more trouble than anything. This was because on a deeper level, I was very angry. I hid it well for the most part, and created funny memories in the meantime. I had a great need for acceptance which led to some bad decisions, but what’s being a teenager without those?
I didn’t have “rebellious” phase but there was a bit of a struggle period between my mom and I. She wanted to keep her baby and I was ready to branch into the world. These issues were mainly based around boys.
Q: What do you wish you knew back then?
A: I wish I knew that I was worthy of love from myself and others.
Q: Any advice for teen girls interested in starting their own business/entering the career field you are currently in?
A: Use your voice now. There are girls who need to hear your story.
Thanks for sharing with us, Erica!
Erica’s social media pages – click to learn more:
Thanks for sharing with us, Erica!
To find out how to be a part of StitchCharities EYOB Empowerment Workshops click here.
The workshops are held at the Microsoft Store located in the St. Louis Galleria Mall.
If you’d like to find out more about theStitch click here.