When I met Asia at Pepperdine University five years ago, I never knew that she’d become everything she means to me today. This month’s GRAYT PEOPLE Profile Series explores the stories of some of closest & dopest friends, Asia being one of them.
As a fellow Las Vegas resident, somehow we both ended up attending Pepperdine University and both leading the Black Student Association at Pepperdine. Divine indeed, as throughout the course of friendship she’s unknowingly encouraged me to ride the wave of life, no matter the size of the wave. As a millennial, a wife, a mother to three, a friend to many, and a healthcare professional on track to transform lives, I believe Asia can do the same for you, as we chop it up about her life, journey, and career.
1. At Pepperdine, you to engaged in different science courses and hands-on work with medicine. What compelled you to work in Public Health & Administration versus the more hands-on, patient interaction aspect of the health sector?
ASIA: While pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine, my educational focus was primarily in the biological sciences and I put a good amount of time into gaining direct patient care experience in pursuit of a career in the medical field. At the same time, I became increasingly involved in culturally-focused student affairs organizations, such as the Black Student Association and Women of Color. With social justice issues at the forefront of my thoughts and discussions, I came to a better understanding and appreciation of the role social determinants of health play. I realized I could continue doing things that I love and am good at, in the programmatic and partnership development sense, while directly and indirectly affecting the health of populations. After two experiences abroad, it was pretty much sealed in my mind that I should be working toward public health on a global scale.
2. You’ve raised a family & obtained your bachelor’s & masters simultaneously, how were you able to surpass any of your own doubts or the doubts of others to embark on chasing your goals in the health sector?
ASIA: I don’t think I ever have enough time to really let the doubt sink in. When people ask how I manage it, I have to be honest and say “barely!” – but I’ve only gotten this far by reminding myself that I’m my own greatest limitation, and I don’t have to stick to a “traditional” way of doing things. If you just keep pressing on in the direction that is right for you, you’ll look back and realize you’ve traveled some distance. Career-wise, it can be overwhelming, rapidly changing, fast-paced, but I’ll never struggle with finding meaning in playing a part of people living longer, healthier lives.
3. What are three (3) values you have brought with you from your upbringing that are significant in shaping your perseverance towards fulfilling your purpose today?
- Kindness. No matter the result or reciprocation, I just always want to know that my intentions are good. I’m also not good at holding grudges, it consumes so much energy and more often than not I find that kindness wins.
- Consistence. If I make a commitment, whether to someone else or to myself, I don’t want it to be a question of whether I will hold up my end of the bargain or give up halfway through. I’ve learned my own capacity and try to focus on that which I know I’ll be consistent and dependable.
- Adventure. Doing something new, being somewhere new and all of the emotions and challenges that come with it really help me appreciate life. Adventure often brings about curiosity, determination and courage. I’m laughing because my three-year-old daughter is singing “I can be anything! I can do anything!” at the top of her lungs right now.
4. What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other healthcare professionals?
ASIA: I’m still in my career’s infancy, but I feel I’ve come a long way in this short time. I’ve ended up where I’m at by not limiting my aspirations to experiences that would exclude all of the attributes and talents that I feel make me “me.”
5. I know I am not capable of raising a family and pursuing a college degree, yet you succeed. What advice can you give on the importance of applying all of life’s experiences & lessons in pursuing one’s personal [graytness]?
- Don’t give up when things seem hard.
- Remember that the journey is as significant as the destination: The day-to-day can feel like a constant uphill battle, but when I think back to any season of life I’m flooded with good memories and positive thoughts.
- Recognize that you can’t and shouldn’t do it alone: Chris (husband) and I have really grown up together, and doing so much life with another person really teaches you about who you are. I think the biggest takeaway is to remain (graytful) and to remember that you can make your life whatever you dream for it to be.
6. What are three (3) routine practices you implement to ensure your purpose in life consistently aligns with the trajectory of your profession?
- Listing: I make lists and cross things off as they get done. It helps me to take things step-by-step and also reminds me that I’m making progress.
- Maintain good relationships. We need positive human connection – that’s how the world becomes a better place. Professionally, it works the same way. I’d much rather work well with others, get and give help along the way and ultimately share in successes vs. bulldozing my way through and ending up alone.
- Prioritization: I’m not super-organized, but I know what needs to get done and in what order. I also realize that my brain has limited capacity so I prioritize what I need to store. So until life gets simpler or my mind gets bigger I’ll keep prioritizing my thoughts lol.
7. You work in the more business side of healthcare in Las Vegas, how do you contribute to surpassing the status quo in the healthcare industry?
I have to remain cognizant of opportunities that arise and try not to pass them off without giving some level of consideration. From a business perspective, that doesn’t mean that every deal make sense or that every idea is plausible. I can think of a lot of personal and professional experiences I could easily have brushed off/not pursued that ended up being really good decisions.
8. What are three (3) impacting scriptures/quotes/mantras that you use to guide your life?
ASIA: Our time on earth is relatively short. I think if I keep these things in mind I’ll be fulfilling God’s purpose for my life:
- Be inspired
- Live intentionally
- Love unconditionally.
9. I admire your ability to be a wife, mother to Destiny’s Child (3 daughters), and career-driven woman at such a young age. Who is another woman who you resonate with?
ASIA: My mom. She’s the do-it-all woman I never knew I’d grow up to be. She was a young mother, wife, career woman etc. I’ve seen her persevere through a lot, accomplish a lot and ultimately maintain a positive outlook. Even as we see many things differently, I can’t think of anyone that I resonate with more. She really does work tirelessly for her family and I wouldn’t hold myself to any lower standard.
10. What was one moment of personal failure or personal success that would motivate someone else to continuously press towards fulfilling their dream?
ASIA: I became a mother at a young age, and some probably considered that a failure, given the high hopes and aspirations others had for me. I never let it be a failure, though, and actually having someone to motivate me to be the best example I could be, helped me press on. I can begin to feel like I’m failing (being responsible for a family is SO much pressure!) but when I see the way the girls treat others, and how they love and look out for each other, I know we’ll be just fine.
[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.