Who is Dr. Tunya Griffin? Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Tunya Griffin (D. Min. Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College) is a Black woman, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, teacher, grandT, and CEO and Founder of Black Women Voices – Dr. Griffin addresses the historical, cultural, religious and political context of Black women, abuse, and the Bible. in her recently published dissertation topic: “overcoming barriers to leadership equality in the Black church.” Through the lens of theology she explores the intersections and tensions on issues of race, class, and gender. More specifically, its purpose is to examine how the Black “Church’s social activism and its inconsistent support for gender inclusivity have sparked a conversation about whether attention to social and racial justice issues undermine efforts toward increased gender equity in the Black church.”

What makes you hustle?
Simply put, this is why, “I hustle?”
Russell Ledet noted, “We are our ancestors wildest dreams,” When I consider the history of my ancestors, and my parents’ migration from South to the North, captured Africans that toiled under the hot sun, no sanitation, no family, no nothing. Women and children were not spared. My ancestors and parents were “strong enough” to withstand the journey through the Middle Passage. The realization that millions of kidnapped African people died before they even boarded the ships. We know about the survival rate of enslaved Africans in the New World, because they worked 70–100 hours a week, because they were underfed, malnourished, had no access to medical services…. for all these reasons, I hustle. Moreover, I am duty bound to make this world a little better than the way I found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate, you have not wasted your time,but have done your best.” whether by providing support through difficult times, tasting words before they leave our lips, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because I have lived —

What gives you strength? How did you get to where you are today?
My Faith in God. How? Blood, Sweat, and Tears – Family and friends that stood by me from start to end to ensure that I made it to shore safely.

1. Rebuilding my reputation after a public scandal/crisis
2. Onslaughts of attacks
3. Overcoming Victim blaming in many forms, and is oftentimes subtler and more unconscious. It can apply to cases of rape and sexual assault, but also to more mundane.. Any time someone defaults to questioning what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime, he or she is participating, to some degree, in the culture of victim blaming.
4. Attachment/detachment: Similarities and differences: The psychologies and spiritualities of Henri Nouwen and Adrian van Kaam
5. Welcoming Change – Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might now be not the best approach. All too often, avoidable mistakes turn what could have been a great business into an also-ran.
6. Deciding what to keep and what to discard. I call it the sifting process – Those who are on the boat poking holes in the boat Jim Collins writes, in the book good to great the writer expressed, “Those who build any great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and right people in the key seats before you figure where to drive the bus.
7. Identifying financial support

How have you pivoted?
How? I intentionally took a step back, and evaluated our vision/mission/goals resulting in a simpler, more streamlined offering. I understood, If only one aspect of our organization is succeeding and the rest are failing, or, at least, moving slowly, then that may mean that your company should focus on capitalizing on what’sworking and change, maybe even radically, or completely ditch what isn’t working. We launched a pilot program directing our attention on what works, depending on what strategy to take, in hopes that the organization can experience a boost in productivity, efficiency, and revenue. It was through this process that we were able to pick new goals that align with our vision, but in order to do so effectively it required brutal honesty with myself as possible.

What motivates you and keeps you moving forward ?
First and foremost, my children and grandchildren. Hearing the stories of my ancestors. Lastly,my biggest influences and what motivates me are strong creative women that chart their own path, lead their own lives and drive the course of history.

Please Share With Us What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mean to You and Why They’re Important.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Diversity is the presence of differences within a giving setting. Equity is the process and programs that are impartial, fair, and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging.mDiversity, equity and inclusion means policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientation.

Why are they important?
Why investing in intentional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices is an imperative:
Promote a Shared Experience
Provide Broader Perspectives
Nurture a More Positive Workplace
Understand Customers Better
Add Integrity to the Team
Put Actions Behind Words
Give Opportunities to All
Mirror the Market
Generate Fresh Insights
Gain Global Appeal
Encourage Innovation
Experience Better Retention
Diverse organizations are more successful at recruiting and retaining talent. Companies with higher levers of gender inclusivity
Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in the next 3-5 years?
Over the next few years I plan on attending law school.

What do you feel makes you a successful business woman and how do you coach others to empower themselves?

Whether you’re a man or woman, it takes guts to run a business and deal with all the difficult challenges you will undoubtedly face.

You have to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone to move forward, boost confidence and ultimately succeed. This means you have to take risks and accept that when things go wrong, you can always survive and turn things around. Be brave and you will never look back.

Starting a business is one thing, keeping it going is another matter entirely. To be a successful businesswoman, you have to be persistent and never give up.

Granted, there will be days when you feel like sticking your head in the sand. But when you’re feeling down, remember why you went solo in the first place. Remind yourself of all the things you’ve achieved. Stick at it because the next best triumph could be just around the corner.

My ability, at times, to ty to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly.

How I coach others… For me, one goal of coaching is to teach others how to utilize their critical thinking and problem-solving skills so that they can better help themselves to perform tasks independently. In particular, assisting mentees to develop problem solving skills by introducing processes and strategies to find a resolution.

Tell us about one person who has stood out and inspired you.
Besides my parents, Dr. Elizabeth Gerhardt.

Has being a minority woman leader helped or hindered you in your road to success?
Both. They have helped at times, and hindered at times.

The stress of being a black woman in Corporate America means we can’t have a full range of our emotions. We can only be happy…never angry.

Support Black women when we call out bias in hiring practices, retention, admission, and promotion policies.

We see you. And we see through all the insincere words that are never followed by actions.

More investments need to be made to be made towards racial equality instead of knee-Jerk reactions like Kumbaya listening sessions.

With the micro aggressions and micro inequities in the workplace, I feel strangled and die a little bit every single day.

We want not only to be in the room, not only be at the table, but also be contributing in the decision-making process.

I want you to know how it feels to be the only one that looks like you in a conference room, in a meeting, at a networking event or happy hour.

In my professional life, my race always feels like an exercise in others’ conveniences.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities, especially being such a successful woman entrepreneur?
Play to your strengths. Don’t try and be all things to all people. …
Prioritize your time. …
Know your peaks and troughs. …
Plot some personal time. …
Have set work hours – and stick to them. …
Find time for your finances. …
Manage your time, long term. …
Make your workspace work for you.

Prioritize your time
You may have a to-do list with 50 tasks on it, so you need to prioritize those tasks into four categories.
They are:
Urgent and important
Important but not urgent
Urgent but not important
Neither urgent nor important.

Be realistic
At the end of each working day, perform a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked today, what didn’t, what went wrong and how the issue can be fixed. Remember there are thousands of businesses just like yours learning the same lessons every day. Don’t forget to tap into the valuable resources around you – your peers – for help.

Tell us about some of the things you have had to overcome in your life and how it has influenced the woman you have become.
Overcoming defying the Teenage mom statistics: the age of sixteen I had become a teenage mother. I can remember stating that “it was the day that changed my life.” As a result of becoming a teenage mother at a young age the odds of being successful were stacked against me.

Statistics on Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of high school – fewer than 2% earn a college degree by age 30.

Children of teen mothers do worse in school than those born to older parents. They are 50% more likely to repeat a grade, are less likely to complete high school than the children of older mothers, and have lower performance on standardized tests.

Each of these facts about teenage pregnancy was the driving force behind why:

● In May, 2021 – Dr. Tunya Griffin
● My eldest son Masters degree in social work
● Middle son Bachelor’s degree in communications
● Daughter Bachelor’s degree Fashion Textiles

Maintaining work and life balance

2006-2021 were extremely difficult years. Simply put, when your personal life takes a hit it can and will affect your work. Walter Brueggemann writes that human beings regularly find themselves in one of three places:

“A place of orientation, in which everything makes sense in our lives. This is the familiar day-to-day life we have become accustomed to. It is comfortable, reliable, and predictable. In terms of the current day, this would be for most of us, pre-corona virus. A place of disorientation, in which we feel we have sunk into a pit. It happens when our world collapses around us and we feel that there is no way out of the deep hole into which we have sunk. Life, as we know it, has changed in some way—we have experienced loss, death, a change in circumstances, health, or finances. Life feels unsettling, scary, and unpredictable. Disorientation often brings emotional pain and suffering.”

The challenge for us all is disorientation.

We don’t like to be uncomfortable. We don’t like life to be disrupted. We don’t like change. And we certainly do not like pain and suffering.

If we’re honest, most of us would prefer to skip this place and go directly from orientation to reorientation.

To avoid disorientation, we look for ways to numb, to escape, and to keep the suffering at bay. Unfortunately, if we do this indefinitely, we not only keep the pain at a distance. We may ultimately move into reorientation, but the residue of pain, grief, or loss keeps us from being fully engaged in the new.

How then, did I navigate through a time of disorientation while developing Black Women’s Voices platform?

I learn to lament. Lament is the language of disorientation. Lament helps us stay current with the condition of our souls and brings us into the place of intimacy and thereby, in some sense, it creates the necessary space needed to draw your world back into life and work balance. It provides pathways for you to stay in rhythm with what is happening with you emotionally in the present while working through the pain to exhale a better future forward.

“If our liminal spaces are approached intentionally and within community, rather than staying paralyzed, running away or going at it alone, we can boldly approach it and confidently move forward into our futures” (or reorientation).

Out of this experience, I learned that although people may have good intentions on helping a person through a difficult time, the fact is that many people lives are too busy to commit to: late night phone calls, unwanted visits, crying, praying; and staying up late at night to help a person receive his or her total healing. As I stated, one of my passions is to help women through this journey so that they are empowered, encouraged, and inspired to live a happy and healthy life.

What do you feel is the most crucial tool for empowering one’s self?
A good pep talk. In 2008, comedian Katt Williams taught us a very valuable lesson in one of his standups, you must be in tune with your star player. Who is the star player? YOU! You must do what is necessary to keep your focus forward and the wind at your back. Life happens and you have to be prepared to roll with the punches and roll over anything or anyone that tries to stop you from being a superstar and living your champagne life. You may be trying something new in your life to change course and people may not support you. The star player will have to go on anyway. Your money may get funny. The star player will have to go on anyway. People who you thought were your friends show who they really are when you are in need. The star player will have to go on anyway. You may lose a job. The star player will have to go on anyway. Sometimes you just have to look in the mirror and get up close and personal with the reflection and have a hard and honest conversation with the star player. Sometimes the star player is waiting for the team to rally around them to keep going. Well sorry to say sometimes the rally doesn’t come. Sometimes you just have to rally around yourself, pick yourself up, let yourself know that your are the shit, you are making moves, you don’t have time to lay around and be sad and depressed (if needed, take a day to feel how you need to feel then get your ass back up and get moving). Sometimes strong words are needed to drive a point home. You are the star of your life and your team, act like it. If you don’t position yourself there no one else will. And as Katt Williams told us “A star player can’t afford to give up. A star player is waiting for one opportunity and that’s to let people know they ain’t gonna play around with you – It’s go time…

Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
The idea of a like-minded community was popularized by the famous author Napoleon Hill. In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Hill calls such communities as Mastermind group. He defines the mastermind as the coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony with people for

the attainment of a definite purpose. Being with people of similar interest will contribute to one’s success in a great way.

Cheers you up when the tide is rough. Life is filled with ups and downs. And it is never easy to get back on track after a huge setback. When the going gets tough, like-minded people acts like a cushion to fall on, a shoulder to cry on and acts like a dose of your daily happiness.

When we have a like-minded community, we know they will support us no matter what, but also caution us on things we may not have considered. Having support with no form of judgment is very motivating. They hold us accountable. … That’s the power of having peer accountability because they have our best intentions in mind.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Building A Sisterhood: As a female leader, the most significant barrier in my career and a barrier for forward movement for women today is garnering authentic support from other women. My advice to women worldwide is to support and empower each other, starting with our basic principles of who we are — our morals, values, integrity. We must be just. Be humbled, show togetherness, passion, excellence and enthusiasm toward laying the foundation for our progress through our workWomen working with women in an authentic way.

What is some of the advice you share with young women today to encourage them to be empowered?

1. Disagree without being dismissive
We won’t all always agree with one another just because we share a gender identifier,” Nieves says. “As women, however, we often do share the experience of having been dismissed and left feeling unheard and like our point of view was unimportant. So let’s not do it to one another. If a woman makes a legitimate point (even if it represents an opposing view), honor her intelligence and courage before voicing your contrasting opinion. ‘I hear you, and that makes sense. And I know it’s not necessarily easy to have these conversations. My perspective is…’”
Go at your own pace

2.Own who you were now, and who you are becoming
I owe you nothing
I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah
I owe you nothing
I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah
I don’t have to smile for you
I don’t have to move for you
I don’t have to dance, monkey dance, monkey dance, monkey dance for you
See, I won’t help you understand
I don’t need no helping hand, no
See, these aren’t tears, this is the ocean
These aren’t fears, this is devotion
I owe you nothing
I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah
I owe you nothing
I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah

3. Stop taking the bait of projection
4. Never give up on pursuing your dreams! dedication and consistency will bring success. Stay the course and keep striving, even during the midst of adversity. If you give up, you will never know your full potential.
5. Stay positive. It is so easy to become discouraged when you feel like consistent work is not producing any fruits! What is said and believe in your mind will happen.
6. Financial literacy: Understand and monitor your financial data. Finances are extremely important because the fiscal data tells a story about the trends of your company. The patterns will allow you to make a strategic decision for your company.
7. Mentorship: It is important to learn from experts in your field. They have valuable experiences, knowledge, and strategies that may help your work’s process and progress, transition smoother and or faster
8. Stand up for other women
9. Invest in self-care mentally and physically. If you cannot sustain yourself, how can you sustain a company? Often, we find ourselves investing in the company but neglect to improve ourselves.
10. Find your voice and surround yourself with women that value the same things in life that you value.
11. All friendships are not worth keeping
12. My advice to women pursuing their dreams is don’t change your personal narrative on your road to success and remember that everyone around you is dreaming too—so embrace your personal path!
13. Don’t take any shortcuts (resist the temptation of The Fear of Missing Out FOMA)
14. Social Media is not reality.
15. Live your best life your life

What are some of the keys you have found to making it where you are today?
Surround yourself around people who believe in you and will open doors for you
Silence the noise – Solitude
everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.
Practice Mindfulness
Ability to delegate
Learning agility
Find the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work.

Where will we see Tunya Griffin next?
Follow BlackWomenVoices.net to follow what will happen next