When our editor-in-chief, Dr. Shellie Hipsky, met Ola Jackson, she knew she had found another woman who shared her heart for empowering women.

Jackson is the founder of Onyx Woman Network and has spent the last 25 years being a voice for women of color. She is also the creator of Nurturing Evolving Women (NEW) and the blogger for Your Stylish Ways, focusing on cooking, decor, entertainment, and travel along with fashion, shopping, and style inspiration.

Jackson’s NEW branch is radio, television, and social media that present a positive, realistic view of both African-American and Latina women by providing culturally relevant content that nurtures their evolution. Through her website, thenewnetworktv.com, Jackson introduces her audience to women who inspire by sharing their experiences, advice, and encouragement.

Recently, Jackson interviewed women about their inspiration, following their dreams, their careers, and their purpose, and Dr. Shellie was inspired by this article to ask women, including Jackson, about their passions, obstacles, and sisterhood.

Their answers speak to their wisdom, courage, and ability to inspire other women to achieve.

Ola Jackson: Founder, OWN, Onyx Woman Network

My dream is for future generations to never let fear be an excuse for not living their dreams. 

I am passionate about empowering women to pursue their dreams and providing them with the encouragement, information, and guidance to do so. I am proud that OWN has been a resource to women who seek motivation and encouragement. Our trusted brand is known for celebrating the accomplishments of women of color today and tomorrow.

I want future generations to keep excuses from becoming barriers to their success. I also want them to make happiness a priority in their lives, not replace ambition with peace of mind, and never compromise their integrity to gain success.

Major business opportunities today still don’t include women of color; that issue is disturbing and upsetting to me. It means that we have not come very far in the 25 years that I have been in business. Another issue is women’s organizations claiming to be inclusive, yet exclude women of color when it comes to utilizing our services. I am protective of the network I have built trust with over the years, so I am quick to advise them on who and what I think is viable.

Having a sisterhood means the world to me. I value their worth. I have had the same support system for over 20 of the 25 years that I have been in business. I also have an extended support system of women who may not work directly with me, but we look out for one another when it comes to business opportunities and personal support.

Tianda Blount: Executive Vice President, Mel Blount Youth Home and Charities

I faced many obstacles growing up, but I rose above my circumstances. I didn’t allow those circumstances to define me; instead, I became motivated to do better, get an education, and dedicate my life to having a positive influence on others to do the same.

I am most passionate about my walk and influence of Christ in my life in three major areas: my family; being committed to my mind, body, and spirit; and showing love in my relationship with others, especially with youth. My dream for future generations is that young people would fully realize and utilize the gifts and abilities the Lord has blessed them with so they can have a positive influence for our world. I also hope that young people get an education to equip them for their life’s work and to develop a personal relationship with Christ that would be dedicated to self-reflection and purpose.

Having a sisterhood or a tribe of women who have my back assures me that no matter what challenges or battles I may face, I have the support I need to get through those difficulties. I know that I am totally accepted in spite of my faults and that I can be myself without being judged. Being connected with a special group of women who help me stay focused on the important things in life encourages me. We make these connections happen through words, prayer, or just being in the presence of each other.

Donna Baxter Porcher: CEO and Tech Diva, Soul Pitt Media www.TheSoulPitt.com

It wasn’t until my darkest hour that I realized how important the female friends I have in my life are to me. They stepped up like sisters when my mom passed in 2014.

Most people may not know I used to be a rap artist signed to a label in California and then with one in Pittsburgh, Pa. During that time, I did small tours, had my videos featured on BET, and frequently performed on the PBS show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? I didn’t know it at that time, but those years of my life prepared me for entrepreneurship and dealing with public speaking, branding, competition, and inspiring audiences. Now, I am passionate about technology and teaching people, especially the technically challenged, to embrace it and use it to get ahead, build their business and personal brand, and so much more.

I grew up in the small steel town of Johnstown, Pa., and I watched my father, one of the only minority bosses at the wire mill, deal with blatant racial discrimination on the job daily, but it didn’t stop him from creating a great life for our family. As an African-American woman, I know I can’t let little digs and jabs get to me, or they will become obstacles and defeat me. That’s why I keep it moving, just like my dad. Our present actions are creating the future that generations will inherit. My dream is that this generation gets it together NOW so the future can have what they need to succeed.

Dr. April Avery Torrence: Founder and Executive Director at Zion Education Center

Having a sisterhood that has my back means endless possibilities. I know that my mission can be heard around the globe.

I am passionate about helping others reach their fullest potential through education, entrepreneurship, and empowerment. Young children can become scholars, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, world leaders, and technological geniuses. I want them to rise to the forefront of their classrooms and show the world that this generation possesses the greatest minds known to mankind. I have instilled these dreams in my own children and expect nothing shy of the impossible!

As an African-American woman, my pecan tan complexion has created many obstacles in my life. For example, I was hired for a position in 2014 to lead a predominantly white organization, but after I reported to the office, another candidate was awarded the position. The wounds of blatant discrimination are still open.

Being the ONLY minority in the room helps others turn a deaf ear to my words, even when I offer expertise to colleagues. Being a business owner, I have dealt with mistrust issues and have been hindered by the mistakes of other minorities, like their ethical dilemmas.

Being part of the Global Sisterhood means that people will celebrate my success regardless of my skin pigmentation. I also know that as my sisterhood grows, more opportunities await me to meet the world’s most incredible women from all walks of life. Our multicultural network is amazing, and the United Nations should take notice of how we are ROCKING THE GLOBE!