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A LEADER IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Henritta Stewart, Ph.D.

The educator talks strategies for work-life balance, building trust in the workplace, and most importantly being UNSHAKEABLE

At VBD Magazine, we are delighted to showcase individuals who are shattering the glass ceiling and paving their own paths. That’s why we are thrilled to feature Dr. Henritta Stewart, a multi-faceted professional and a committed educator. This trailblazer has proven that it pays to dream big and is now a driving force, equipping others to leave their marks on the world.

Recently, we had the distinct pleasure of talking with this powerhouse about her beginning, successes, challenges, creating a work-life balance, and building trust in the workplace. Henritta was quick to let us know “there were no shortcuts in her journey,” and how thankful she felt to see the “manifestation of her dreams.”

It was wonderful to learn about this unshakeable woman of God. When we ask her who motivates her, she says, “The fact that I’m alive means that I’m here in purpose for the Lord. True, too, I’m intrinsically motivated and I use this to influence those with whom I come in contact. I don’t settle for mediocrity but always strive for excellence.”

A Lady of Distinction

Henritta hails from North Clarendon, under the wings of the picturesque Bull Head Mountain in Jamaica. She had planned to become a medical doctor but fell in love with the students and started teaching mathematics at 17 years old, as a pretrained teacher.

Following her passion, Henritta gained her Diploma in Teaching at Church Teachers' College in Mandeville, Jamaica, and her Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Years later, Henritta then traveled to Tallahassee, Florida and completed a Master’s Degree in Education at Florida A&M University. This she finished in the year 2000 and immediately pursued doctoral studies in Educational Leadership at the same university, receiving her Ph.D. in 2003.

During her five years of study in the United States, Henritta gleaned a wealth of knowledge and professional experience. She actively participated in administration work at the university level, wrote and published many research papers, and presented several research papers at international conferences. “I’m grateful to have won several scholarships and awards in different areas.”

In 2007, Henritta made the decision to migrate to the United States to reside with her family and relatives. She is married and has three grown children and three grandchildren.

Her Successes & Challenges

“Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, such as giving back to the world and making a difference. My successes were not easily achieved, and the challenges were many. But trust and faith in God, through Jesus Christ, made the difference between a life well lived and a life of disappointment and misery.”

For much of her life, Henritta was focused on succeeding despite fears, naysayers, and unwelcomed events. “Life will throw the unexpected at you, but you must keep focus and remain resolute. The same God who kept you yesterday, will keep you today. I’m laser-focused, trusting God, until the issue is resolved.”

Henritta faced several challenges such as “balancing family life commitments while striving to achieve career goals and maintaining other healthy and supportive relationships.” Nevertheless, she came out victorious and even had time for “rest and relaxation so as not to negatively affect her physical, psychological, and emotional health and well-being.”

Strategies for work-life balance

To ensure that she and her family not only survive but thrive, Henritta shares the following strategies which she still practices. However, she states, “Above all, pray for God’s guidance.”

· Nurture family relationships.

· Make family meetings fun.

· Exude positive attitudes by looking for the silver linings behind the dark clouds.

· Play on your strengths.

· Never try to be all things to all people.

· Prioritize your time and plan for personal time.

· Use your organizational skills.

· Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

· Budget time for involvement in outdoor and spiritual activities.

· Set and have prayer times.

Building trust and commitment in the workplace

With her extensive experience as an educator, we had to ask Henritta about building rapport, trust, and commitment in the workplace. She dished out these tips:

· Learn to listen.

· Be genuine by sharing your failures, challenges, and successes.

· Share about the activities you do outside of work, such as hobbies.

· Use recognitions, like awards.

· Ask meaningful questions and provide value during conversations.

· Understand the value that each person brings to the workplace.

On the Horizon

When she’s not on a vacation or having fun with family and friends, Henritta is busy working on her passions, “educational consultancy, mathematics research, event planning, writing, and working in her community with the youths.” For the next leg of her journey, she hopes to retire so that she can take on more work in God’s vineyard, “because that’s all that will count.”



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