We spoke with Lanice Williams, Sr. Program Officer, Jhpiego, and one of the members of our 2022 U.S. Leadership Journey. Read the Q&A below.
Why did you choose to apply for the WomenLift Leadership Journey?
I decided to apply for the WomenLift Leadership Journey as the pillars of the program aligned with my leadership goals. However, I am grateful to Dr. Joannie Marlene Bewa for nominating me for the program. Her nomination gave me the push I needed to take advantage of this opportunity and not discredit my experience and growing impact in global health.
What has been a highlight of your Journey experience so far?
My highlight of the program so far is connecting with the many amazing and inspiring women in my cohort. Over the past few months, we have had many opportunities to expand our thinking, leadership style, and presence.
What is your Leadership Journey Project, and why did you select it?
My leadership project will focus on assessing the barriers that prevent women of African descent from moving into senior-level leadership roles in global health and strengthen the collaboration among women in the Global North and Global South. Through key informant interviews, I plan to develop 3-4 recommendations that a subset of global health organizations can implement to ensure their organizations are more inclusive and provide growth opportunities for women of African descent to move into leadership roles. I plan to publish these recommendations as either a white paper or an opinion piece.
How can we ensure that we are focusing on women and girls in health?
We can ensure that we are focusing on women and girls in health by addressing the barriers that keep them from accessing quality care and how it limits their social, economic, and political participation. The barriers must also be addressed for gender-expansive people. We need more equity, equality, and inclusion as we address and dismantle systems of oppression.
Who inspires you and why?
There are many individuals that inspire me. However, my two biggest inspirations are my mother, Sonia Wissorth-Williams, and my late grandmother Edna E. James. They taught me what it truly means to use your voice to advocate for the rights of others and invoke change.
What would you say to future women leaders seeking inspiration and guidance?
I will tell them never to be afraid to ask for help and guidance. As you navigate through life and your career, always remember that challenges will arise. It is vital to adapt and innovate but also reach out to those in your network or your personal board of advisors. Always remain open to new opportunities, and remember there is power in your story. Your story is what sets you apart.