They call me Ebony Francis, I am a senior originally from Orlando, Florida , however I attended secondary school in Mckinney, TX (North Dallas). I am a strategic communications major at the Missouri School of Journalism embarking on a career in the advertising field!
What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
My proudest professional accomplishments include becoming vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists -MU, being chosen as a finalist in many internship programs including AAF’s Most Promising Minority Students (MPMS), the 4 A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP), and becoming an Account Executive and presenting a complete campaign for the University of Missouri’s MOJO Ad, a student staffed advertising agency.
My proudest personal accomplishments include growing out my natural hair, becoming more comfortable with the skin I’m in, and embracing my independence as an intelligent, quirky, loving, awkward, talkative, sexual, inquisitive, personable, single, black woman.
What made you become so involved on your campus?
I think I became so involved on campus out of a desire to meet people and learn about different activities, some activities I was familiar with from high school such as the dance team, while others I had never experienced and even some that I felt would be beneficial to my professional goals. I think they were all beneficial to me in terms of exposure and widening my perspective.
Who or what in your life inspires you to be a leader?
In addition to my mother and various historical figures, overtime I began to see my peers as a source of inspiration. Seeing my friends and peers taking chances and following their dreams by creating their personal brand, leading organizations, fashion companies and start-up businesses really motivated me to look into myself and figure out what I was passionate about; what excited me and how that could fuel my greater purpose. I found that I was passionate about people- what motivates them, and what makes them tick. I wanted to place value on the characteristics that made them different, mentally, physically and spiritually. To me, the field that best utilized this passion to me was advertising. My love for the industry and for people really inspired me to step up on campus, gain experience and reach back to motivate my peers to do the same.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself in New York as an account executive or account director role at a major advertising agency encouraging the increase in staff diversity and use of unique insights to create powerful advertisements that reflect the ever-changing culture and face of our world.
What is most important for you to achieve in your life right now?
What’s most important for me at this point is self-love and self-exploration. At such a young age I feel like this is the time to really explore the world and dig deeper into who I think I am, and figure out who I want to become. I’m constantly challenging my thought process and setting new goals for myself. I never want to be boxed in with only one end-goal. I have many things I want to experience and there isn’t just one thing that will provide me with complete happiness or satisfaction.
If I had to choose one thing I wanted to achieve, it would be financial independence. As I start my new job, change states and begin living on my own that will definitely be important.
What advice would you give to young girls wanting to step up into leadership roles, but are afraid to?
I would tell young girls, or anyone for that matter, that they have to take the first step. Preparation and experience are great for leadership roles, but you can only gain those two characteristics by taking a step out of your comfort zone and accepting the challenge. It’s important to asses the time commitment and the necessary experience. If you have it, go for it, and if you don’t, invest time and ask for help so you can acquire both. I would tell them that if they want something they can have it, only you can make yourself feel inferior.
Have you ever wanted to give up?
I can’t recall a time I actually wanted to give up, but I’m sure there has been one. I usually have an option to give up, step down, or quit- as we all do. I have been tired, nervous, self-cautious and overwhelmed but what makes me push forward is the idea of achieving whatever it is I’m working towards. I knew that going into certain roles would require a lot of courage and work, but I felt like the outcome was worth it; I pride myself on finishing what I start.
Why do you think black women should consider themselves as queens?
I think that everyone should be true to who they are. That being said, black women are queens, and have always been queens, so there isn’t much of a reason not to see yourself as one. No one will love us the way we can love ourselves. We should be proud of where we come from, what we’ve overcome and the opportunity of what we can become as individual identities and as a race of black women.
Would you like to add anything else?
I’d like to thank you for creating and maintaining a blog like Hay Queen! that provides a space to praise black women and share ideas and tips that relate to us. There aren’t too many of these spaces, but they’re extremely important!