This week's World Class Woman is one of the first women I requested the honor of interviewing, my friend, Kisha Johnson. She is a dynamic human being who loves God and seeks to introduce others to Him. She is passionate about and instrumental in her ministry, H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Prepare for Eternity), a non-denominational Christian women's ministry whose purpose is to meet each woman where they are in their spiritual walk, strengthening their relationships with Jesus Christ along the way. They are everyday women who face real challenges, and their passion is to encourage other women throughout the various seasons of life and to serve God through service. Read my interview with Kisha below.
At this point in your life, what do you feel your claim to fame is?
I would say that my claim to fame would have to be my H.O.P.E. ministry. I was at a point in my life where I truly understood and valued the amazing women that God had placed in my life. I knew how important their guidance, prayers, encouragement, and truth had been for me so I wanted to share it with other women.
When you were just starting out, who was your first mentor?
When I was starting out my first mentor was Amy Edwards Quaye. Her words are melodies in my soul. Amy's words roll off her lips as if John Coltrane is playing in the background. When she speaks to me, the words take life in my soul and whenever I am in doubt, the melody of her wisdom reminds me to stop, pray, and follow that path that God has laid out before me.
How do you suggest women find mentors, especially if they don’t naturally fall into a relationship early in their careers or early on in life?
I would suggest that you listen to the women around you to find the ones that you admire. God leads us to our mentors, you just have to let Him. Also, you have to stay open-minded. I almost missed out on learning from one of the biggest inspirations in my life--another friend of mine--because her views differed from mine. What I learned and what I admire about her is her passion. She doesn’t compromise what she believes and she loved me in spite of our differences. It taught me not to judge the surface of everyone I meet.
Who are your biggest influences now?
My biggest influences now are my mom (she is a superstar), my aunts, Jill McAllister Burcham because she is ministry in action, Amy Quaye because she is wisdom, and all the H.O.P.E. girls because they teach me something every day.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Do you still follow it, or has it changed?
The best advice I ever received was from Amy, and it was to not let anyone or any situations steal my peace. That I have the power with every sunrise to decide what I allow to steal my peace and diminish my light. That was ten years ago and it changed my life. It is the one thing I remind myself of daily.
Do you consider yourself a role model for others? If so, how does that change the way you approach work/life? How do you pay it forward? How would you advise other women to mentor others?
I don’t know if role model is the best description for me, but I consider myself an example. I’m an example of what God can do in your life. I make mistakes, but I know that His grace can pick me up, dust me off, and put me back on track. I approach life that way. No one and nothing is ever hopeless to me. I suppose I have evolved into the eternal optimist. I have seen how people change their lives when they are introduced to this amazing man named Jesus. I pay if forward by remaining passionate about what I know to be truth. No matter where you came from, what you’ve done, or what has been done to you, the power of Jesus gives you the authority to live abundantly! Above all that you ask or think – Ephesians I would advise women to think about what they know are the truths in their lives and share them. It’s about sharing the wisdom from our journey with other women that empowers us. Trust me, I know.
When you hear that someone looks up to you, what do you say to them? What is the one piece of advice you find useful to both give and remember in your life?
When I hear that someone looks up to me, I am always humbled but mindful that it’s the Jesus in me, and I tell them that. Without Him I would still be a mess. The one piece of advice that I find useful to give and to remember is to REJOICE as much as possible. It’s very liberating. Rejoice when someone is gracious to you, when the meal is fantastic, over new babies, beautiful art, great music, laughter with friends, walks in the park, learn to rejoice because of the everyday miracles.
How do you utilize social media to further your influence, if at all?
I use Facebook a lot. If someone has posted their sadness then I will often send them a private message to encourage them. We live in a world where many times people will say on social media things they would never tell you in person. I just think that we have to be mindful of others' emotions.
How do you empower women?
I try to empower women by connecting them with other powerful women. We all have strengths that we can use to push each [other] along.
To learn additional information about the H.O.P.E. ministry, click here. If you are interested in donating to assist H.O.P.E. in their outreach and attainment of various goals, contact Kisha Johnson directly at email@example.com.
|Kisha pictured with her daughter, Zarah.|
Until we meet again...