Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew: Use your story to help others

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew recently led a Web Clinic for VoteRunLead called Real Story, Real Power about engaging others by understanding your narrative and identity to build your social capital. She was excited to host a web clinic to “use what I’ve learned and help women to be better or contribute in some small way.”

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is currently the Director of Community Affairs/Strategic Alliances for the State Fair of Texas. Formerly the National Community Engagement Director for World Vision, she served as a catalyst, partnership broker, and builder of the capacity of local partners in multiple locations across the U.S. to improve and sustain the well being of children and their families. She is the owner of Soulstice Consultancy and the author of two workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last.

VoteRunLead is such an excellent place for women to be around women who are driven, make a change in their community, and do something different.

Booker-Drew sees a few unnecessary obstacles in women deciding to run for office. She says, “it’s been such a barrier for women to be involved in politics, such a place for men of privilege and power and for many women it’s challenging to break through glass ceilings.” She says women wonder how can they be in politics and parent and run a company, when men don’t ask those same questions. When a woman juggles many positions, she’s questioned about her skill set. There’s scrutiny. But Dr. Booker-Drew encourages women to go for it! But before going for it, you make a plan, surround yourself with people who have done it before, know what to expect. It’s imperative to find mentors who have done the work, and remember your experiences may not be the same. Her advice to women running for office:

“learn as much as you possibly can, don’t just take newspapers and stats as your sole resource. How do you get into the community you want to serve? If you want to make a difference, you gotta learn all sides and perspectives, expand your network.”

For women who just want to make a greater impact in their lives, she says to find a place where you can get involved. Focus on just some of the needs, don’t make assumptions. In one case, it was assumed that all these kids with low test scores needed tutoring, but no, they were hungry. Don’t just rely on statistical data. Talk to people and roll up your sleeves, listen to people in your area. Your own life experience informs how you help others. Use issues near and dear to us that we understand as a foundation to help others. For example, if you’ve been through domestic violence, be a resource for other women. Even in the midst of going through those difficult things, you can still be an inspiration to someone else.

Use issues near and dear to us that we understand as a foundation to help others.

Booker-Drew has a dream one day of running for Texas State Board of Education. She has a gamut of experience in education both in elementary and higher education and has spent a lot of time working with young people in community organizations. She is now on the Texas advisory council and says it has been really eye opening to see how legislation is passed, how it affects the non-profit sector and the community. Her dream for the State Board of Ed is motivated by the fact that she can’t stand when people write a curriculum for students that leaves out the truth. But until she runs, she admires others’ political leadership, including Erika Beltran currently on the Texas State Board of Ed. Booker-Drew appreciates Beltran’s campaigning and her vision and care for young people of all backgrounds.

Dr. Booker-Drew is also driven to action by the problem of poverty, claiming that it is one of the most over-looked issues to date. She says the problem is people think it’s simple – there need to be conversations about how systems are responsible for keeping people in positions they’re in; the classicism, racism, how poverty is institutionalized, how we view women, the elderly, children.  And right now there aren’t resources for the large population of women getting older.“We say we care, but our policies don’t show the things we’re saying.”

Self-care is critical. It’s easy to pour into other people and neglect having a reservoir for yourself.

She has worked hard to put her beliefs into action. But working hard can take a toll on anyone. She advises all women and future leaders, “Self-care is critical. It’s easy to pour into other people and neglect having a reservoir for yourself.” Dr. Booker-Drew recommends making sure you have life giving activities available to you, and a community of support. In her experience, she got too busy and got depleted. Rest is not just sleep. Using your laptop while watching Modern Family is not resting. She says to figure out how you give your brain and your body a break; you need a place where you can just exist and be, we don’t do that. Her doctor has said, we’re human beings, not human doings.

And what’s next for Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew? She’s going to be working on her next book about reluctant leadership; what happens when you are thrown into a position you don’t want, but must accept. It concerns high-pressure job promotions and more personal issues like losing a spouse or having to step up as a single parent. It’s not an issue we talk about much. Many people are thrown into a position, build a bridge, and they’re walking on it. Soon she will be teaching a public leadership program at University of North Texas at Dallas. Her ultimate goal is to take writing, teaching, and speaking, and build it all into a bigger platform.

“I’m transformed by women I meet every day. It is mutually beneficial, to grow.”

Check out Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew’s Live Replay of Web Clinic Real Story. Real Power.