…because black millennial women who balance the personal and professional need the spotlight, too.
In life, our main assignment should be to use our influence to impact. Today’s millennial woman is multidimensional and chooses to define herself by her acts of service in the community, personal growth, and development in addition to the lives that are impacted by her influence. Sherina Maye Edwards is a woman who carries her crown with dignity, style, and grace. As a wife, mother and boss Sherina shares with us why living authentically is the ultimate class act.
Sherina, how does your influence impact the world?
I always approach impact through the lens of “what would the world be like tomorrow?” So it’s really not about the present for me as much as it is about molding our future. I believe that my influence continues to cultivate and mold young black women (through my mentees and a variety of mentorship programs that I am a part of). My thought process is: As great of a person that I am today if I am not doing anything to ensure that there is a long lineage of black female women who will carry the baton further what impact am I making?
How do you define authenticity as it relates to finding your voice in this world?
Authenticity is simply finding what makes you happy. I always say (and I live by sayings), that until you find happiness you will never find joy. Until you start living for what you really want, who you desire to be and according to what makes you purely happy you are not living an authentic life. Authenticity is what makes you, you.
Sherina, simply put you’re a beast. We like a woman that lives life by her own standards. As the first black female appointed as President & CEO of the construction company Intren, Charter Member (and 1st VP) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated Chicago Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter in addition to founding the Women’s Energy Summit and Women’s Energy Network of Chicago one can’t help but pinpoint your success to being that of a Spelman woman. As a proud alumna, how did Spelman prepare you for the success you have attained?
As a proud Spelmanite, I truly credit that amazingly dynamic institution for giving me the foundation of success and molding me into the woman that I am today. Spelman College provided me with confidence, courage, and character. Spelman teaches you that not only do you have a place in this world but gives you the tools of where to find it. This institution continues to build up, nurture, and speak life to black female leaders across the globe. I always say, Spelman taught me not only how to walk through a room but to let people know that room has been walked through. I really believe part of the reason I am so successful is because of my executive presence (and I credit that to Spelman College).
What are 3 pieces of advice you would give a young woman looking to make her mark in any industry?
Never underestimate the value of hard work. (You cannot escape working hard – if you’re lazy, set your standards accordingly).
Your network is your net worth. (Do not wait for someone’s LinkedIn status to change for you to reach out and say hello. Don’t wait for someone to be deemed by the world “important” for you to put them on your radar. Have continuous relationships).
Dance when nobody’s watching. (Every achievement that I have received in life personally and professionally was because someone was watching me when I didn’t know. As a mentor and sponsor I gravitate to young women who don’t know that I’m watching them and continue to crush their goals). Execute to your fullest particularly when no one is watching.
You’re no stranger to community and civic work. In 2019, you and five other women recognized the need for distinction in the city and sought to create a second Chicago chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated calling it, CMAC. Why is it important to Sherina to connect women to sisterhood?
Sisterhood is a necessity for our survival. There is power in one but there is empowerment in many. There’s only so much one can do by themself but when you join forces with other like-minded individuals that impact is limitless.
Shifting gears, let’s talk about self-care. With such a busy schedule, how does Sherina carve out non-negotiable time for herself?
Calendaring is really, really important (and I have to live by it). My calendar helps me align with self for self-care. There are two things I love that make me feel great. I love the peloton simply because it centers me. I also love being pampered and have now made time every other week for a 90-minute at-home masseuse. This has become such a blessing to my life because of convenience alone.
If you could gift your younger self with one thing personally and professionally what would it be?
I would gift myself with a clock (time) and the opportunity to soak in the memories, and experiences of life and to not rush it because time is not on our hands. Life moves at an ever-rapid pace.
As a wife and mother to a toddler, what does balance look like in your household?
I don’t think balance exists; I think that this is something once again society has placed on our plates to stress the hell out of women. Balance implies that you’re doing everything perfectly even, and that simply is not true as it pertains to anyone’s life. I do however believe in work-life integration. This means whatever you are focusing on at that moment gets your time. This involves mapping out successful strategies in both personal and professional life. This concept alone works amazingly for the success of my marriage and motherhood.
Lastly, finish this sentence. As a millennial mind, it is important for readers to know…
It’s going to be okay.