Welcome to She Leads Podcast Season 5, Episode 10! This episode of She Leads Podcast features Dr. Melissa Noland Chester founder of Black Educators Rock, Inc. Dr. Melissa Noland Chester is an Author, Educator, and Motivational Speaker who leads her life like the Boss she is. To hear Dr. Melissa Noland Chester’s take on leadership, listen to her interview as she discusses the value of validation, the importance of self-care, and the necessity of delegation.
Dr. Melissa Noland Chester Bio
Margaret Meade once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. Dr. Melissa Chester is a part of that small group of thoughtful people, committed to serving and impacting the lives of those in our community. Dr. Melissa Noland Chester is a former professor who taught on the collegiate level for approximately fifteen years and is a two time best-selling author. She is committed to serving and impacting the lives of others by improving the situations of others through consulting, facilitation, and motivational speaking. Her dedication and passion to assist individuals and organizations is evident in the many seminars, workshops, and programs she has participated in and implemented with local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations, and businesses.
Dr. Melissa Chester is the Co-Founder and CEO of Black Educators Rock, Inc., a national nonprofit which boasts over 155,000 minority educators its Facebook group. BER, Inc.’s goal is to further the academic success of our nation’s minority students by closing the “attitude gap” that exists among educators and students. It accomplishes this goal through its local chapters, partnerships, and collaborations with other local, regional, and national nonprofits and their flagship event, the ROCK Conference. The ROCK Conference is a summer professional development conference and hosts the top educational consultants and educators in the country. Dr. Chester also runs the Black Educators Rock Network and its three Internet and talk radio stations, Enlighten Media, Elevate Media, and EmpoWEr Media. BER, Inc. is also in the process of creating BER Publishing, a platform to create educational materials that correctly reflects today’s society.
Dr. Chester attained her B.S. & Master’s degrees from Florida A&M University and her Ph.D. from Florida State University. She has taught at several universities, including Florida A&M University, Florida State University, Grambling State University, University of North Florida, and online at Southern New Hampshire University. While residing in Tallahassee, she was very active in the community. Some of her community outreach includes co-creating the grassroots program Positive Proof Mentoring at Raa Middle School, serving as event coordinator for the 1000 Men Rally, and working with the City of Tallahassee Parks & Recreation to create and present numerous programs, seminars, and workshops. Her volunteerism also includes The Black History Program at Dade Street Community Center (planning committee), The March on Wellness and Obesity Health Seminar (planning committee), Youth Teen Summit (presenter), Youth Talent Show (planning committee), and mentoring and tutoring preteen and teenage and college young ladies.
Dr. Chester currently resides in Jacksonville and is actively involved with many organizations and her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dr. Chester is a board member of the nonprofit, The Center, One Foundation, a member of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund’s (JPEF) Community Advisory Team (CAT), Urban Education Symposium (UES) steering committee, and is a certified instructor for the national initiative known as Adult Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA). She has also served as the Assistant Program Manager for the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program (a program that employed hundreds of youth), served on the planning committee for Operation Save Our Sons (a nonprofit for at-risk males), and assisted former Jacksonville Jaguar Donovin Darrius create and run his non-profit organization from 2011 to 2017. She has also presented at many conferences, seminars, and workshops at numerous universities, businesses, nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, including but not limited to Character Development, Increasing Self-Esteem, Mental Health Awareness, Personality Assessment, Communication & Conflict Resolution, Health and Physical Fitness, Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, and High school graduation/college preparation. Dr. Chester is married with two sons and is currently a broker and the Director of Training and Education at Premier Coast Realty, LLC and the Lead Instructor at Premier Coast Real Estate School, LLC.
Nicole Walker’s Interview Commentary
I really enjoyed this interview with Dr. Melissa and I hope you did as well.
I agree with Dr. Melissa’s viewpoint on the importance of validation and learning to complement each other without minimizing each other’s efforts. We all deserve to know that others feels we are doing or have done well. It’s a human instinct and natural to value this type of input. For whatever reason it can be hard for us to wholeheartedly recognize ourselves as well as others. As Dr. Melissa stated, we need to understand that it takes nothing away from us to celebrate others, and in doing so we not only give to another person we also give to ourselves. A quote by Rhonda Byrne reads, “Love is appreciating, complimenting, feeling gratitude, and speaking good words to others.”
I admire Dr. Melissa’s understanding of the importance of getting to know those we interact with to assist in creating better relationships and a winning environment for all parties. Dr. Melissa a great tool we can use to aim in this process, which is personality assessments. Everyone is not the same and must be dealt with on their levels to maximize their strengths and increase productivity. Understanding the need to know people individually is the foundation necessary to give us the information required to provide proper motivation. A quote by Jack Welch reads, “Take time to get to know people. Understand where they are coming from, what is important to them. Make sure they are with you.”
I can relate to Dr. Melissa’s personal commitment to put in the work and do what it takes to be great, as I believe the same. As with Dr. Melissa I do not see myself as bigger than any task, and will do what it takes to ensure attainment of the goal at hand. As Dr. Melissa suggested, the best leaders are the best and hardest workers. When we remain humble in our journey to the top, we are able to put ourselves aside and focus on what needs to be done as opposed to who needs to do it. Understanding that the least of us is the greatest of us and the greatest of us is the least of us, aid in this process. A quote by Vanessa Hudgens reads, “Work hard and follow your dreams, but never forget where you came from.”
Nicole Walker’s Takeaway of the Week
Dr. Melissa told us that it is okay to be the leader and we should learn to embrace and walk in our light. Taking note of the things that make us great and focusing on our strengths as opposed to our weaknesses is how we stay positive and motivated to be and do better. We are all great and must learn to maximize our greatness!!
I will make it my business to be bold and stand strong in my greatness as I know this is needed to impact others and be the leader I am destined to be. I will continue to embrace myself, and not hide by watering myself down out of fear or the need to make others comfortable.
A quote by Lao Tzu reads, “When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.”
Nicole Walker’s Leadership Challenge
My leadership challenge for you would be to think about the one thing you can take away from this episode and adopt into your life. I know it’s hard to absorb too much information at one time and it’s even harder to try and implement too many changes at once. When I attend a training or listen to podcasts I aim to walk away with a least one thing that stuck out to me and one way that I can change as a result. I challenge you to do the same!
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Thanks and until next time “Be Empowered and Empower On”!