We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Waajida Small and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Waajida, how do you think about risk?
By nature, I am a risk averse person, so taking risks is always a second thought. When it came to my career all of the risks I took were calculated. They have paid off however. Each and every decision I have made has yielded great results. For me risk is moving past my fears. Once I have been able to do that, so many doors and opportunities opened for me. I think everyone should take risks, but be smart about them. I am all for jumping in head first, as long as you have a helmet on.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a Human Resources Executive by profession. I’ve been in this field since before graduating with my undergraduate degree, starting as an intern and now being the Chief Human Resources Officer. My journey has not been an easy one. It was fraught with racism, sexism, misogyny, so many things designed to prevent me from progressing. While these were very significant challenges, I, for the most part have over come them. I say for the most part because these things still exist and unfortunately always will always exist and I will still have to fight them. I will say having had to go through these challenges has made me so much stronger in mind and spirit. Through it all, I have learned that when I set out to achieve something, there is no one or nothing that will stop me. I also learned that the only person that I could be is me. In order for me to do my best all of the time, I had to be authentic, embrace all of who I am and be unapologetic about it. If I know anything about myself is that everything is done with intent and is aligned with my purpose. The motto for my life and work is to live, learn, and lead with purpose.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in New York so there are a few staples that we need to pay a visit to.
First Museum Mile. We are going to all of the museums- Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museo del Barrio, The Museum of the City of New York and of course the Guggenheim. Then we will head to the West Side and go to the American Museum of Natural History.
Of course we have to see a show or two on Broadway. My faves.. Wicked, Aladdin, and of course the Lion King.
The restaurants here are endless. My absolute favorite to celebrate at is Tao Uptown. If I bring it back to my hood, where I was born and raised in the Bronx, We are stopping by Little Italy for some of the most amazing Italian food and pastries, and of course City Island, some of the best seafood you’ve ever tasted.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am a member of a group of women called the Black Women of Influence. If anyone deserves a shout out it is that group. It was being a member of that group that showed me I could achieve the highest levels of success in my career and outside. The founders showed me that being a Black Woman is what makes me nothing less than amazing. I gained so much confidence in myself, my gifts, and my ability to achieve every goal I set out for myself.
The other persons I need to give a super shout out to is my mother. She has literally had my back no matter what. She supported me and kept me in check. She’s helped me keep my faith which has guided me and kept me focused my entire life.