The Power of Your Voice

Written by LaQuinta Yates, participant in the 2020 Spring Leadership Discovery class, after hearing from mentor Kenya Dunn, Founder & CEO of The Power-Filled Woman

Thought-provoking, phenomenal and inspirational are three words that describe Mrs. Kenya Dunn. Mrs. Dunn is a spiritual-filled woman that leads with compassion, authenticity and commitment to excellence.

Kenya’s leadership development began at the age of 13 years old as the president of the Jr. Executive Board of the NAACP in Augusta, Georgia. She continued her leadership development through high school, serving as Class President for four years. Kenya later earned a B.S. in Management from the University of Phoenix, strengthening her leadership foundation. She has held executive positions in customer service and retail. Her professional career has taken her from Augusta, Georgia to Minot, North Dakota; Atlanta, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Chicago, Illinois.  

Currently, she resides in Charleston with her husband and two children. Kenya is the proud owner of a business consulting firm where she offers numerous services such as executive coaching and leadership training.

Kenya shared with the 2020 Leadership Discovery mentees her “Leadership Wisdom Nuggets.” 

  1. The Power of Your Voice – As the Jr. President of the NAACP, Kenya learned the importance of her voice and how it can reach and touch the hearts of people willing to accept her words. Always remember the power of your voice! 
  1. Rodney King Verdict – As the Jr. Class President at her high school, Kenya was asked to help smooth the race relationships at her school. She learned from this experience that when you raise your hand to lead, you raise your hand to lead and help during both good and bad times. Leaders must be ready at all times to guide their team members! 
  1. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – For the most part, we all share the same problems and anxieties. As leaders, we must show concern for the well-being of others by helping them adjust to life changes. Appreciate and utilize employee differences to create a better work environment! 
  1. Withdrawing as a Leader – This is a fatal mistake in leadership. A leader that is disconnected from his/her team will NEVER succeed! 
  1. Leadership Relationships – It is your responsibility as the leader to show your employees that you care. Get to know your employees. It will strengthen the relationship. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!  
  1. Hard Work – Hard work always pays off. As a leader, never shy away from new opportunities! 
  1. Strategy Sessions – A leader must make all goals clear to his/her team. Be sure to include the team members in deciding how to achieve the goals. Team members must “buy” into the process for goals to be attained! 
  1. Employee Development – A leader should not automatically fire an employee who is not initially successful in his/her position. Coach the employee to resolve issues to help him or her be successful before any termination decisions are made. Try two coach ups before you coach out! 
  1. Transparency and Vulnerability – It is ok for leaders to be transparent and vulnerable with their leadership teams. It shows confidence and leadership abilities. Transparency and vulnerability are two weapons that should be a part of every leader’s resources! 

Final Thoughts… 

  • Know what you stand for as a leader. 
  • Know what you want to be remembered for within the organization and by your team members. 
  • Culture beats strategy every time. 
  • Lead with a service heart. 
  • Listen to those around you and let them know you care. 
  • Never chase money or position. 
  • Enjoy what you do. 

Thank you, Mrs. Dunn, for taking the time to share your experience and advice with our group. 

Learn more about Kenya Dunn’s new role as the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Executive Fellow.

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Leadership Lessons: Ask the right questions, stay grounded, continue to learn