Wise Women Wednesday: Elma Hairston

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Q. Who are you? What is your background? 
A. Author, motivational speaker, community servant, political activist, woman of God, living her dream sharing with and caring about others.   A national presenter and author  known for her thought provoking and highly interactive sessions, which have led to substantial change in the lives of  young people, up and coming professionals and future executives.  Elma was born in North Carolina, lived in Colorado for over twenty years and completed  a twenty-five year successful career in corporate America. As an advocate for excellence and high sales performance, she was awarded the President’s Award and Eagle Club Award, during her tenure.   Elma has spent most of her adult life serving  her community and providing leadership skills and professional image principles.   She utilizes her  talent  to communicate, inform, encourage,  enlighten and uplift all she meets.  Elma also leads the growth of her non-profit organization,  Dynamic Images by the Hairston Group®  “Professional Style at its Finest.”  Elma has received numerous awards and recognitions, most recently an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service.  She has served as president of  numerous church, community and political organizations, served on national boards of directors and  now creating unique  programs and tools to help individuals “become dynamic” to ultimately reach the pinnacle of success in life,  career and community. Her most recent work is Becoming Dynamic 7 Compelling Strategies for Success. On sale now at www.dynamicimages4you.com,  bookstores, Amazon and Google Books.    

Q. What is your work?
A. Founder and Managing Director, Dynamic Images International LLC,  Customer Service, Professional Development  and Career Advancement consultants.  

Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. Currently working on an account  where I will  provide the core skills for enhancing the customer service experience, reflected from the inside out. Customer Service starts with  building a sense of teamwork and cooperation which reflects  the core values and  company vision  at every touch point.         

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. My move from Colorado to my home state NC.  Change is hard and it takes courage and fortitude to endure.  I had moved to NC with all intentions of moving to Charlotte, which is branded as the heartbeat of business in the south.  As I began to practice what I teach in networking and the importance of a professional image, I affiliated  with the business community, connections and contacts  made, and now I am residing in the Piedmont Triad. I am glad I made the decision, and of course, having my family here makes it all worthwhile. Anyway, my corporate career was done  and it was time to come home.

My reservation about  moving to NC is centered in changes in the political landscape. Many of the strides that had been made for African Americans along the way have been far removed.  

 

Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it?  If not, why not? What's stopping you? 
A. I am doing the work I want to do. My desire is that I leave things better than I found them. What better way to accomplish that goal than through enriching the lives of people.

So many times we allow fear and procrastination to prevent us from reaching our potential. As Marianne Williamson (1992) says in her piece titled Our Deepest Fear “ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. Your playing small does not serve the world.” As you let your light shine, you give permission to others to do the same.

Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Exactly what I was told as a senior superlative – Most likely to succeed.   And, I did.   The advice that I give to youth in high school – do not allow peer pressure to define who you are. You are uniquely and wonderfully made. The talent you are given was designed for you and no one can take it away unless you allow it.  

Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Never allow anyone or anything to stand in the way of your dreams.  If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. I reflect on how much more needs to be done. I reflect on  all the accomplishments in my life (which have been many) and all the people whom I have made an impact on in their lives. When I feel down I retire to my office and look at the plaques on the wall and reminisce. It lifts my spirits.

 

Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I share a message to women and girls – far too long we have not realized the power which lives inside. The power is inside; but it is only as we  give ourselves permission do we  live abundantly.  We must have the courage to change those things that beset us; work within those things that challenge us; and  know the difference.

Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. Neve stop growing, never stop learning (currently a Master’s candidate Integrated marketing communication) and always reinventing myself  

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