Jamila Trimuel is a youth advocate with over 10 years of experience in mentoring, youth employment training and leadership development. She is the founder of Ladies of Virtue, an organization that instills purpose, passion, and perseverance in girls, ages 9 to 18, while preparing them for college, career, and to become change agents in their communities. Over the last five years, LOV has served over 1,000 girls through their Saturday mentoring and leadership institutes, in school programming and workshops in the community.
Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point?
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, my father instilled a daily mantra: “You are an African girl and you can do anything.” My mother used to sing, “Me and you will conquer the world.” These affirmations set a tone, providing me with the confidence to know that I could achieve her dreams. But after 10 years of volunteering in the community, I realized that many low-income and first-generation college students living in urban areas were ill-prepared for the 21st century. It became my mission to ensure that youth from all walks of life achieve their purpose. All children can succeed and accomplish their goals with the right foundation.
I had a passion and a dream but no money! I hosted a launch party in August 2011 with close friends and family and raised $2,500 from that event. I participated in an A.R.I.S.E. business plan competition hosted by Salem Baptist Church and won second place. This program provided Ladies of Virtue with a $2,500 cash prize that year! How did I get to this point? God has truly been a provider throughout this entire process. Also, I have never heard the word “no” as a final answer.
What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?
I stay on top of my game by joining leadership development programs. I am a Schweitzer Fellow alum where we were trained to develop programs to address health disparities and social determinants of health in the Chicagoland area. I am also a Broad Residency alum, a leadership development program that places participants in high-level managerial positions to help transform our public school systems. In addition, I am currently a Chicago Urban League IMPACT Fellow, a program designed to develop and engage culturally competent executives across public, private, and not for profit sectors. These programs not only exposed me to career coaches and mentors but I have also received world class instruction from some of the best leaders in the nation while collaborating with emerging leaders in my cohorts.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
I could literally work on Ladies of Virtue all day from the time I wake up till the time I go to sleep. I have to make myself get up to do other things. #PassionOnSteriods
Needless to say, I am still learning how to balance my personal and professional life!
What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur or career woman?
There are going to be days where you may feel like you don’t know what you are doing! There are going to be days where you feel like you are not making a difference! Keep pressing! In those moments, go back to those pictures of your customers and read their testimonies. Pray! Whatever you do … keep encouraging yourself and never ever give up! You will reap if you faint not!
What has been the biggest obstacle so far and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle so far has been managing devastating personal losses while still overseeing a business. I was five months pregnant when I lost my baby on Nov. 8, 2015. Initially, I was depressed and lost faith in God’s miracles. Through the love of my husband, family and Pastor I was able to overcome. I also stood on God’s word: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
What does being a BOSS mean to you?
I am reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, ““Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve.”
Being a BOSS means that I am great by serving my community and leaving it better than how I found it.
For more info about Ladies of Virtue go to www.LOVChicago.org and follow @LOVChicago