Pam Keith is a Democratic congressional candidate for the 18th District in South Florida. The former U.S. Navy JAG officer recently won 80% of the votes in the Democratic primary. With a win she will become the first Black woman to serve that congressional district. She grew up living around the world as her father is a former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar and the Persian Gulf but she considers Oakland her hometown.
Keith is an experienced lawyer by trade with an extensive background in civil rights and labor and employment litigation. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California, Davis and received her juris doctorate from Boston College Law School. Keith is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Rolling out spoke with Keith to find out about her superpowers.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower(s) to be?
Resilience. My superpower is being able to come back again and again when dealing with rejection or frustration.
What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
Empathy is the single most important characteristic to being a leader because it ensures that you are making decisions in the best interest of others. I also think Black women have to always be very practical and pragmatic.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t put your sense of self-worth on a platter for others to control. Don’t let people who can’t do what you do, assess whether you are good at it. How would they know? They aren’t you.
Why is it important for women of color to work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
Women have a greater capacity for compromise, I think. We see so much suffering that is principally the result of ego, bombast, revenge or self-promotion in the world. I just think women leaders are less prone to rash decisions.
If you could thank any Black woman for her contributions to history and society, who would it be and why?
Shirley Chisholm, no doubt! She is my spirit animal and the voice in the back of my mind. I can think of no other woman more profoundly and unshakeable assured of her own merit.
Why is it important for more experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?
In politics, Black women always receive the least help because we are always treated as inherently not viable. Help comes to make other people successful. Help comes to Black women when they already are successful. It is one of the starkest double standards out there.
What three success habits do you incorporate into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity and peace of mind?
I exercise! Keeping physically strong is a big part of managing stress.
I spend time in meditation and prayer. It’s super important to stay grounded.
[I] check in with people who really know me and believe in me. They keep me motivated and optimistic.
As a successful woman in business, what is your proudest achievement?
The thing I am most proud of is inspiring young people to think big! I have had a few chances to make young women see themselves as powerful. It is my greatest delight.
For more information about Keith and her campaign, go to www.PamKeithFL.com and follow her on all social media at @PamKeithFL.