Dr. Tammy Hicks is the chief executive officer of the Chicago 300 Black Women nonprofit organization. She holds a Ph.D. in social work with a research focus on child welfare, youth exposure to violence and African American women’s issues. Hicks has 18 years of experience in working with families and children in child welfare and human service. She is currently a private practitioner who works as a life coach in the areas of depression, anxiety and addictions. Hicks is the founding member of the Chicago 300 Black Women, an organization that empowers thousands of African American women from the Chicagoland and surrounding areas. Her advocacy combined with her work experience has given her the role of monitoring social work services for a variety of private agency programs.
Rolling out had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Hicks about her many accomplishments.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
The Black Girl Magic connector would be my superpower. Having the ability to bring hundreds of Black women in a room to network, connect and cultivate solid sisterships is a blessing and I do not take it lightly. It appears to be a God-given gift. Many of the women that I have connected have chosen collaboration over competition, purchased property together, became sister entrepreneurs and celebrating the beauty, power, and resilience of black women.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
First, “Be true to yourself” and please don’t be afraid to be dope and shine brightly. As women of color, we are taught at a very young age to flow under the radar and not celebrate one another’s greatness. Also, I would have educated my younger self on not taking negativity or envy personally. Normally the way a person treats you is a direct reflection of their own insecurities. My mother is a wise woman and she shares some of the most profound things with me … one being “never react to anything that has the potential to make you react out of character!”
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
Iyanla Vanzant would be the epitome of everything I aspire to be. Iyanla reminds me of a superwoman that is incredibly resilient that has overcome overwhelming personal difficulties as a doctor, lawyer, talk show host, best-selling author and motivational speaker. Dr. Iyanla has remained true to herself with being transparent about her troubled childhood, experiences of molestation and domestic violence. Her plight has inspired me greatly. She remains on a mission to educate women, especially women of color, on healing and transforming the mind, body, and soul. One quote I hold dear to my heart that Iyanla stated, “You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.”
What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?
Risks: Please trust yourself. I am a strong believer in going after what I want and not allowing fear to cripple my progress. Mistakes: You will make them along the way, however, there will always be an opportunity to regroup and return 10 times better. There is beauty in failure because it gives you a blueprint on how to win!
What are three success habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity and peace of mind?
Prayer and walking alongside the lakefront three times a week allows me the ability to view the day positively. Directly after my morning routine, I utilize music as a form of inspiration, currently, I am listening to Tasha Cobbs, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Sade. Daily positive affirmations give me a sense of peace that can’t be disturbed by the enemy. I also make sure that I make time for my sister friends at least twice a month. I am a strong believer that you are a reflection of the women you spend the most time with. Every woman needs a genuine sister circle! Sisterships are truly a blessing to the heart and soul. I prayerfully wish every woman gets the opportunity to experience a genuine sistership.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
My daughter is everything to me. She is the inspiration behind it all. I absolutely adore being her mother. I refuse to fail her. … I prayed over her all the while pregnant with her that she would live life out loud, move forward without regret and my wishes were that she [strived] to be better than me in every area of her life. It has been a genuine blessing to observe God bring all the very things that I have prayed for to fruition. I am extremely proud of her. Motherhood has been amazing to me and I adore it.
What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
Integrity is essential. Your character is a true factor in becoming successful and remaining successful. You are allowed to say, “Treat people how to treat you” never allow anyone to mishandle you intentionally. Seek to be respected first before liked. You may be too much for some and that’s OK. Live out loud. I’ll leave you with a quote a wise woman told me here recently that another wise woman shared with her “Embrace the chaos.” There is beauty in chaos, per Ayesha Curry. Everything has a divine purpose.