United We Stand (Join in)
Host: Andre Ward
Episode: EPISODE 28 - Najjiyya Arnold
NAJJIYYA C. ARNOLD
Biographical Statement, Significant Achievements & Statement of Goals
A seasoned professional and entrepreneur, my hometown of Detroit, Michigan is birthplace to my first foray into the arena of small business ownership. The firstborn of four children to Mildred (Saabira) Arnold, a housewife, and Paul Mack, an architect, my childhood was replete with lessons of fortitude, self-reliance, ingenuity, humility, and industry. Coming from a family grounded firmly in the Baptist ethic and faith, God has uniquely inspired and sculpted me for pursuit and achievement of great things. Driven to succeed and wielding the God-given gift of healing, management, training, and coordination, I became the owner of 12 successful commercial ventures throughout the Detroit area.
Not content to rest on these successes, and with my journey taking me on military-related international travel, I was determined to export my talents and capabilities. Professional modeling was my next achievement. Breaking into the industry during a time when women of color (especially those of a deeper chocolate hue) were not able to launch careers, I audition/modeled for Ebony Fashion Fair. Several years later, I became licensed as a modeling instructor and taught at one of the nation's top modeling institutions. Simultaneously, I wore yet another hat as a Base events coordinator and instructor. After more than 20 years of service, I topped off my military experience with what I consider one of the most rewarding achievements--I blazed a new trail for the California State Military Department.
In 1990, while working with the California State Military Department (National Guard), I planned, developed, and coordinated the first-ever Black History Month Celebration in the Guard’s history. With the backdrop of our troops' deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, I garnered enough support and commitment of resources to provide for a 2-week calendar of events, galas, ceremonies, and information sharing. An evening banquet featuring local distinguished guests from state and local government, tours of the Citizen Soldier Museum (to which an African American display was added, and is still displayed of significant military figures (including Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth, founder of Allenstown, CA), poetry reading, et al. Many luminaries such as Then-Senator Dianne Watson, historian Dr. James Williams, the Honorable Leroy James (Sacramento Superior Court judge), and others participate in and at these events. Commitments from ABC television network to provide satellite transmission of the event to our troops in Iraq had to be cancelled because of the conflict.
Most recently, that indomitable entrepreneurial spirit has found yet another outlet. In January 1995, I founded and became CEO of Profiles Unlimited, Educational Foundation, Training Institute (Profiles). A 22-year-old, not-for-profit (501(c)(3), Profile’s hallmark is its unwavering commitment to systemic change through the renegotiation of existing social models. The goal? A "leveling" of the proverbial "playing field" for our community members who historically encounter barriers to fully accessing and enjoying the richly varied opportunities our society has to offer. Diminishment of the impact that indicators such as mental health status, gender, racial or ethnic heritage, economic means, and other familiar "success indicators" has on one's ability to achieve success is without doubt a goal that we wholeheartedly embrace!
Profiles is committed to re-building and re-investing in our communities, one person at a time. As a Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern, which, in addition to being one of the most rewarding professions in which I've had the privilege of membership, is a powerful tool for helping to liberate and activate a person’s potential. Our strategy for success here at Profiles--assessment, resource identification and matching, then multi-disciplinary intervention/prevention--attacks barriers at their very core, acting as an agent for systemic change! The marriage of a research-driven, multi-disciplinary approach to system change is one pregnant with possibilities and potential. The best is yet to come.
To augment the tireless efforts, we at Profiles are engaging in to create systemic and sustainable economic change and social revitalization, in March 2018 I will be one year away from yet another key asset needed to achieve our goals—my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The Minneapolis, MN, online-based Walden University is the graduate institution of choice, and offers a rigorous and national-recognized Ph.D. degree program. As a Ph.D. Candidate, with two Masters degrees (an M.A. in Counseling Psychology and an M.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology), a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science, and an Associate in Science in Business Administration, I have taken up the gauntlet and am positioning myself to continue to grow and evolve in my role as a leader and change agent. Being a Psychological Assistant and Marriage & Family Therapist Intern is without doubt one of the most rewarding professions in which I've had the privilege of membership.
Despite all of these accomplishments and achievements, despite the very immediate need and importance of the vital work we do at Profiles, my first love and commitment is to my family. A proud grandmother and the mother of two sons who have served their country with distinction--one died in the Middle East and the other recently returned from the war zone in Baghdad, Iraq--I find myself continually re-assessing my own attitudes and values. This sense of purpose serves to re-energize and reinvigorate our efforts, and that drive translates into the passion and commitment that I invest in the important work that we at Profiles are faithfully engaged in.
Through Christ who lives in and operates through me, I continue to be exhilarated and thrilled when helping to transform lives from the inside out. It continues to be rewarding as I walk on to the speaker platform to have a conversation addressing some of the ills and concerns of our society today, (i.e. Mass Incarceration, Sex Education, and the Love/Hate Relationship with Self). These care and concern for our community extends beyond the confines of my professional work, but has also spilled into Profiles’ community involvement. As in the summer of 2000, I acted as a chaperone and advisor for California State University, Sacramento's Center for African Peace & Conflict Resolution's peace mission to Ghana, Africa.
A month-long sojourn to the "Motherland," a multi-cultural group of 25 Sacramento-area college students and high schoolers were given the opportunity of a lifetime! Everything from quasi-U.N. esque debates to cultural exchange opportunities enriched this once-in-a-lifetime experience. From Africa, to entrepreneurship, to Freud, I thank God for using me as a conduit and giving me the opportunity to time and time again be that lighthouse on a storm-torn night, helping to guide our "ships" safely home. Whether it's issues of simple insight or as complex as the issue of incest, there is a common and unchanging theme to who and what I am--a lover of people, a passionate champion of the underdog, and a tireless foe of ignorance and fear in a world filled with such dazzling light and hope!
Personal Message from the Host:
Check out our movie "United We Stand" https://vimeo.com/ondemand/unitedwestand2
Date: Saturday, December 2, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM PDT and 01:00 PM EDT
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