Sherikia L. Hawkins is making history as the first African American city clerk of Southfield, Michigan. Known as “the center of it all,” Southfield is a suburb outside of Detroit of which 75 percent of the population is African American. Driven by an innate desire to excite her community about civic engagement, Hawkins has worked in public administration for over 13 years. She takes pride in using unconventional methods to engage the community. Humble yet ambitious, she plans to remain accessible while promoting initiatives such as voter education, and a boot camp for women who aspire to run for public office.
A firm believer in giving back, she is active in several civic organizations including Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., the National Black Women of Congress, the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and the Baker College of Business Advisory Board. Hawkins’ comprehensive involvement throughout the metropolitan area illustrates a strong commitment to the edification of all residents.
During our recent chat, she revealed a run for Michigan Secretary of State as one of her future goals. The thirty-something wife and mother’s ascension is purposeful and by design. Along with her history-making election, she is a 2018 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence honoree. Read more about this dynamic sister with superpowers.
How did you determine your career path?
Public service has always been a part of my life. My father is retired from the armed forces. During the end of my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to work in public administration. So at that point, I applied to graduate school and completed my master’s degree in political science and the rest is history.
The most important factor would be that you believe in yourself and your worth. The second factor would be that you are not afraid to take risks. Lastly, you have to be willing to put the hard work in and do what it takes to make sure your goals are a reality.
As a Black woman/woman of color, what do you consider your superpower(s) to be?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a superpower. I just wake up daily and try to be the best version of Sherikia that I can be.
Why is it important for women of color to lead or work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
It’s very important for women of color to make sure we have a seat at the table and that our input is being taken seriously. We are change agents and a force to be reckoned with. The days of being silent are over. Our agendas matters.
What are three habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity and peace of mind?
I wake up earlier and meditate and pray for a few minutes in the morning. I also go on short walks during my workday. Lastly, I always make it a point to be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Describe how it feels to be a Black female history maker.
It is extremely humbling to be a history maker. I thank God for the favor that he has put [in] my life. At times, I sit back and reflect and I am truly speechless.
What advice can you offer women who are raising families while achieving their goals?
The advice that I can offer to women who are raising families while achieving their goals would be work-life balance. This can be tricky to figure out, but it’s extremely important to find that balance.
Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.
People would be surprised that I am actually pretty humorous.
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