#MEFIRST SERIES FEATURED POWERHOUSE
Writer + Founder, The Fierce Woman Global
Nancy A. Ruffin is a 4x award winning writer and leadership expert committed to developing the next generation of leaders. As a modern thought leader, healthcare executive, and leadership expert she works with individuals and organizations committed to career success and leadership development. Her 20+ years of experience as a business professional in the Health Care industry leading large teams & driving performance improvement initiatives has allowed her to use her leadership, communication, & team building skills to engage & develop the next generation of corporate leaders.
A seasoned speaker, facilitator, host, and writer, she's given key note speeches at an array of schools, universities and corporate events including, but not limited to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), S&P Global, The Cedarmore Corporation's 2019 Lifting As We Climb Annual fundraising gala, United Bank of Switzerland's Hispanic Heritage Celebration (UBS), the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's 10th annual Women in Business Lunch, Hostos Community College, New Visions Charter HS, & The 100 Hispanic Women's Annual conference.
In 2014, tired of attending women empowerment events that fell short on their mission to support, empower, and inspire women, Nancy took the legal steps to formally establish The FIERCE Woman as a LLC in an effort to fill that void. She wanted to create an organization that not only supported and empowered women, but was also committed to their development and growth.
A community activist and social justice advocate, Nancy is a firm believer in the West African concept of sankofa. Sankofa is an Akan term that literally means, “to go back and get it.” Loosely interpreted, sankofa's principle is simple, as we rise and excel it is our responsibility to reach back and help others. That is the principal that The FIERCE Woman is founded upon.
For Nancy, The FIERCE Woman is her way of reaching back. Her goal is to empower, support, and connect women globally so that we can learn from, grow, and build with each other. The present and future is female.
What does a week in the life of Nancy look like? In what ways do you manage to put yourself first even through a busy schedule?
Nancy: These days (because of Covid-19) the majority of my days are spent at home. I am working remotely while my children also attend school virtually. Working from home can be great, but there's also the danger of working too much (at least for me). I find that being in the comfort of my home while simultaneously not having to commute to and from the office has resulted in me sitting in front of my computer for hours. I lose track of time and put way more hours in at home than I did when I commuted into the office. All those hours started taking a toll on me so I had to intentionally schedule break times throughout my day to make sure I move, stretch and eat.
When I'm not working, I'm reading, writing, meditating, praying, or listening to music. I love bubble baths, scented candles, and flowers. Every week I buy fresh flowers and place them all over my home. My home is my sanctuary and I take time to make sure the energy in my home is one filled with peace. Also, me time is important for mental, physical, and spiritual health. I make sure to disconnect with the world and schedule time just for me to do things that feed my soul and spirit. Sleep and rest are also important. Being a career woman, mom, wife, and servant leader can be exhausting so I am intentional about resting my body and giving it what it needs.
What does self-love mean and look like to you?
Nancy: Self-love is a process. You have to practice loving yourself everyday until it becomes a part of you. In a world designed to make us question ourselves, doubt our gifts and compete with others who are also trying to figure out self-love looks like for them, we must be intentional about what we internalize.
Self-love for me is surrounding myself (both online and in real life) with individuals who inspire me, motivate me and encourage me. Self-love is unlearning everything I learned about what it means to be successful and happy. Happiness will never be found in things or in other people.
Self-love is detachment from people and material things and understanding that nothing outside of me can ever truly make me happy. Happiness is an inside job. We must heal ourselves from the inside out. Whatever is happening within us is what manifests in our external world.
Does your journey to and through self-love inspire your creative pursuits? If so, how?
Nancy: How I feel about myself gets poured into everything I do. My writing, my speeches, my workshops and seminars all are extensions of what I've learned on my self-love journey. We can only teach what we know and have experienced. My creativity is a God given gift and it is only when I truly honor myself by loving myself that I am fully stepping into the gifts God has given me.
This month's theme at Loved by Destiny is "Grace Through Gratitude." What role does gratitude play in your life? What does it mean for you to have grace? Do you find a connection between the two?
Nancy: Gratitude and grace are two sides of the same coin. To have gratitude for the grace God has given me simply because of his love for me are two principles I work really hard to apply in my life and interactions with others. Grace is acceptance. Grace is understanding. Grace is loving others not for what they have done or haven't done, but simply because they are children of God and God calls us to love each other as we love ourselves.
One of the pillars of our brand is self-awareness. What does self-awareness look like for you?
Nancy: I practice self-reflection by journaling and taking inventory of my day. I look at what went well and what didn't. I assess what didn't and think about how I could have had a different outcome. I also practice self-reflection by identifying my triggers, I look at myself objectively and ask myself questions about why I respond to certain experiences the way I do. Self-reflection is about looking in the mirror (literally and figuratively) and confronting all parts of me.
What advice would you give to people who don't know where to begin their self-love and self-discovery journey?
Nancy: My advice would be to look at yourself and identify any area in your life you're not happy with and start there. Identify why you're not happy and then start digging. Most of us walk around with unhealed traumas that we've carried with us since childhood. We have to begin by unpacking some of that baggage so that we can start to heal and begin loving ourselves. Forgiveness is a big part of self-love.
Learn more about Nancy by keeping up with her on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter @iamnancyruffin. Visit her website www.iamnancyruffin.com to get the latest updates on her brand, and her business www.thefiercewoman.org to learn more about her upcoming offerings.