I’ve always seen leadership as someone with a clear vision that takes the opportunity to inspire, motivate, and guide people towards their goals and dreams.
As part of our series about ‘5 Steps That Each Of Us Can Take To Proactively Help Heal Our Country’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexia Wambua.
After more than 15 years of experience in the treatment room and always having limited access to clean beauty Alexia Wambua made it her mission to change that.
Native Atlas was born in 2014. A line of luxe self care products free of harmful ingredients that can be trusted in spa treatments and that clients can take home and incorporate into their everyday lives. Native Atlas showcases the transformative power of plant derived blends ranging from essential skincare, active skincare and wellness focused body care.
Alexia is married to a native Kenyan who is an athletic trainer and the inspiration behind the MISULI Collection. The couple collaborated to create a wellness line for the everyday and active lifestyle.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I was born in Cape Canaveral, Florida where the space shuttle takes off. I have lived on the East Coast, West Coast and the Midwest. My family relocated to Kansas City in the late ’90s. I moved out to California for a couple of years to further my beauty career and ultimately landed back home in Kansas City. My husband is from Kenya and we have two beautiful baby boys.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
As a child, I used to read books of poems, and one poem in particular resonated with me the most — “If” by Rudyard Kipling. It also happened to be my grandma’s favorite and always inspired me. This poem exudes empowerment and was also a great life lesson for me. It caused me to think about my actions and how important it is to be conscious of the decisions you make in life.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
My mother used to always tell us, “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and this statement became ingrained in me. I truly believe if you want something and have an ounce of will to go after it, it will happen. With this perspective, I’m able to tackle things that I set my sights on. I make a list of goals periodically throughout the year and constantly cross them off as I achieve them.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I’ve always seen leadership as someone with a clear vision that takes the opportunity to inspire, motivate, and guide people towards their goals and dreams. As the founder of Native Atlas, it’s my responsibility to lead my team with a clear understanding of the things I’m working to accomplish. Having a team behind me that also believes in the dream and vision of the company is what makes everything possible.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently facing a series of unprecedented crisis. So many of us see the news and ask how we can help. We’d love to talk about the steps that each of us can take to help heal our county, in our own way. Which particular crisis would you like to discuss with us today? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Black Lives Matter is the most important topic right now. I am married to a black man that immigrated from Kenya. We have two mixed baby boys and this is very close to our hearts. I understand that when my husband and kids leave the house, they will have to navigate through the world differently than I, and it’s an issue that shouldn’t remain in society any longer.
This is likely a huge topic. But briefly, can you share your view on how this crisis inexorably evolved to the boiling point that it’s at now?
Our country has such deep-rooted seeds of hate and lies. The hatred, violence, and police brutality is terrible and we have to change. We cannot stay like this any longer. Innocent people are dying for no reason at all and there is little to no accountability for it.
Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience either working on this cause or your experience being impacted by it? Can you share a story with us?
Education with children is really important to me and ending systemic racism. I want to support getting the right tools into the hands of educators to teach children the importance of anti-racism and that we are all created equal. This is exactly why I made the decision to support The Conscious Kid Organization. The Conscious Kid is an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting positive racial identity development in youth. It’s a step in the right direction to teaching children at a young age.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Steps That Each Of Us Can Take To Proactively Help Heal Our Country”. Kindly share a story or example for each.
1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you — As we navigate through life, we have to remember to move with empathy. To take the time to think about others and take into account how they’d feel.
2. Be a listener — Listening is not just about hearing the words that come out of someone’s mouth but taking the time to truly hear what others are saying and working to understand them. We are currently in a time where Black people are standing up to say things are not right and have never been right. This is an opportunity to hear them and take the appropriate steps to make a difference.
3. Lift each other up — As a society, we all win when we’re not tearing each other down. This is a time for compassion, checking in on your friends, and being a listening ear there for those that are having a hard time.
4. Be anti-racist — There are a variety of resources available to educate ourselves on issues we’re unaware of. Regardless of the medium you prefer, you can find books, articles, TV shows, and social media channels that provide a wealth of information.
5. Support: More than anything, we need to support those suffering from injustice and stand up for voices that have been buried or have gone unheard. Practical ways to do this include: using your platform to share information to keep the conversation going, using social media to highlight and celebrate melanated voices and businesses, and purchasing from Black-owned businesses.
It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but what can we do to make these ideas a reality? What specific steps can you suggest to make these ideas actually happen? Are there things that the community can do to help you promote these ideas?
Things that can be done to make these ideas a reality is taking the time to talk to your family and friends. Silence has created a space that has allowed systemic injustices to go unchecked for too long. We all have influence in our respective circles, use that to speak up, speak truth, and make a difference not just with your words but your actions. Way to do that can begin with getting involved with your community or an organization like The Conscious Kid. And ultimately, everyone actively working on themselves to make a change.
We are going through a rough period now. Are you optimistic that this issue can eventually be resolved? Can you explain?
I’m optimistic that this issue can eventually be resolved because I’ve seen a shift in the conversations that are being had amongst friends, families, and society. Real and open conversations that provide viewpoints and truths that were ignored, never thought of, or known. I’m optimistic because people have a voice and can share it in different ways and be heard. I’m optimistic because I’m committed to being an advocate for my husband and my kids.
But I’m also deeply aware that there’s a problem and things really must change. Being married to a Black man, my family has always been hyperaware of the issues my husband could face being out alone or at night. We’ve talked through game plans to ensure he’s safe at all times and it shouldn’t be this way. Black Lives Matter is not a trend, but a human right, and for there to be lasting change, there is a lot of inner work that must be done in our society.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
If I could tell younger people one thing, it would be that the effort you put in, is what you’ll get out. Ultimately, our youth will take over once we’re gone. Everything that is happening in society now is to make it better for them. But the work won’t end there. It will take the efforts of the younger generation to keep inspiring change and making the right choices. To keep standing up for what they believe in and not allowing others to mold the world they live in. It is up to them to shape a future they’d like to see themselves in.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Alicia Keys! Her music has been with me since I was a teenager and I can still listen to her on repeat. I think she is an incredible human being.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can find us on Instagram @native_atlas