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In the Spotlight:  Our Vice President, Kareem Willis

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

My mother influences how I approach my work. She is resourceful, selfless, tenacious and takes pride in whatever her final product is. 


What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?

I'd dedicate my success to my curiosity and willingness to learn. I've created new opportunities for myself and took risks that I wouldn’t have otherwise. 


If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?

At the risk of sounding vain, I'd love to become an expert at everything fashion. I love dressing up and seeing other people look fabulous however, I can't sew or design my own.


If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be and why?

At this point in my life, the title would be "Groaning and Growing". It serves as a memoir/reflection on the lessons I've learned about life, love and myself over the years and especially during the last year of my life. 


What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?

I'm learning that I cannot pour from an empty cup. I've heard the saying multiple times but it never became more relevant until during the pandemic when I found myself burnt out and running on fumes but still trying to be present for others in ways I couldn't be for myself.


What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

My mother tells me constantly to "Just Trust God!" It's the best advice I've gotten. It has helped comfort me in the hardest of times and to remain encouraged in the best of times. 


What book are you reading now?

I'm reading "Until Today" by Iyanla Vanzant, "Change Your Question, Change Your Lives" by Marilee Adams and "Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better" by Rob Reich and finally, "Black Girl Call Home" by Jasmine Mans. 


Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

I'm a GREAT Jamaican cook! I came of age on the island and the flavors continue to influence my culinary pursuits. 


What three words would your friends use to describe you?

Detail Oriented. Authentic. Supportive.


What’s one of your favorite memories from the past year?

Every therapy session I've had throughout the year was my favorite. I've become big on mental health and wellness and so taking a break from the hectic daily schedules and making more space for that has been super helpful, rewarding and beneficial.  

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