Dr. Suzanne M. Henderson is the assistant dean of the graduate division at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. While her professional career is at its peak, her passion was to share with others by writing her first book, The Torch. Thus far, there has been great interest in the book in the New York area. As it is marketed nationwide, she expects more women to be empowered.
What inspired you to write a book?
In 2013, I was invited to be a panel chairperson for seventh annual Women of Power Conference PASSING THE BATON: Passing On Aché, Nurturing & The Intergenerational Power to Make Things Happen coordinated by the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. There were about 100 women of all ages who participated in spirited conversations about the need for mentorship and the exchange of knowledge across generational and cultural lines. During the conference, we realized the need to share personal life lessons and how to successfully prepare future leaders using tools and resources from their cultural legacies configured to address contemporary concerns. Scholars, activists, spiritual leaders and cultural activists led several panels and round table conversations. A number of the contributors I had already known personally — friends, former classmates, a former student, a former professor and one of my mother’s close friends. In speaking with each of them, I wanted to get a better sense of how they viewed their life journey as a woman of color. I asked them [if] they would be willing to share with me and other young women their stories of being a “purposeful woman” and some of the lessons, trials, and struggles they endured to become this woman.
Each of the contributor’s memoirs captures what I believe to be the essence of each of their stories. Each story provides the reader with real-life relatable experiences that detail how each woman overcame tribulations or employed wisdom to become a woman of purpose.
How has the initial response been to your book?
The initial response to the book has been incredible! So many women have told me how the book has affirmed them, inspired them, and moved them to be a positive force in the world for other young women.
Since your mom had an extraordinary level of influence in your life, what is her most valued advice you hold dear?
My mother had a very simple mantra that, I believe, sustained her throughout her life. “This too shall pass”. Life is challengeing there is no doubt about that. But my mother’s mantra always reminds me that all things are temporary and the only thing that is constant in life is change.
How do you feel this book can benefit or impact men?
I think this book allows men a critical look at how women oftentimes perceive themselves and how women tackle all manner of life’s difficulties. This book goes inside the mind and soul of these women and candidly details the thoughts, feelings and coping strategies that women often endure and employ to negotiate life.
What do you hope to have young women walk away with after reading your book?
It is my hope that our sisters will come away with a feeling of power and resolve that they matter in the world. I hope they can see themselves in the portraits of the authors and get some tools as to how to get through life’s ups and downs.
Read more about Henderson’s book at http://suzannemhendersonphd.weebly.com/buy-the-torch-here.html