November’s LeadHER of the Month: Mekkah Husamadeen

It may have been her commanding name that speaks power, her bright smile that lights up a room, or maybe just her warm personality that welcomes you. You may have already met or been inspired by Cathy Hughes School of Communications President, Mekkah Husamadeen.  A Junior, Legal Communications major from Cleveland, Ohio, Mekkah has been a woman to watch on Howard’s campus!  She is also involved in the 1867 Undergraduate Assistantship Program, Collegiate 100 Howard University Chapter, and even strolled on the Quad Drew stroll team in 2016-2017. Mekkah has paved amazing footsteps as a leader on Howard’s campus and here is her story and words of inspiration…

 

Asha: What inspired you to run for SOC president?

Mekkah: I was very involved in high school, I was the only Black person in my student council, and wanted to be involved at Howard but, I felt like I would be a little fish in a big tank, especially as a Freshman. So, I got here and ended up getting involved but I still felt like a small fish in a big tank…I just really didn’t know what was for me, and I was struggling with that. I was struggling with finding myself. After I was asked to run for SOC treasurer, that was when I realized that this is my time and this is for me. That’s something I feel like everyone is going to experience if they haven’t already, especially when it comes to a time when you feel lost.  Opportunities will find you and what is meant for you will always be for you. 

 

            After being SOC treasurer, I knew I could be a person that could hold down this school. I was nervous to run, I didn’t know who I was going to run with and I was hearing all of these rumors about who was running, making me want to hide in my shell. But, I had to get over all of that and be confident in myself, and put one foot in front of the other and walk into the playing field and play.

 

 

A: What is your favorite part about being a leader on Howard’s campus?

M: My favorite part is that I get to be myself.  Being a leader at Howard…it’s like I am who I am, and people respect me for that.  It’s really fun when you get to wake up everyday and lead genuinely, and serve your school and your peers by being yourself.

 

A: Has there been any roadblocks for you so far? How did you get past those?

M: Yes, there have been many roadblocks.  In terms of being a leader on Howard’s campus, it is still very competitive at times, and I feel like people get the wrong idea of what it means to be a leader here at Howard. We’re not in a competition with each other, because we’re all trying to make our school better, together. I had to grow and really learn about myself, and figure out what my character was in the midst of politics at Howard.

 

    Also, being a leader as a woman can be difficult. I have a vice-president that’s a male who’s a year older than me, and my treasurer is also a male. They’re very strong in personality, and running a staff can kind of get overwhelming at times. I maintain having a lot of friends that are women leaders, as well as mentors who have also gotten me through my hard times.

 

A: How do best balance school, leadership, and maintaining a social life?

M: I think I balance it so well!  That’s one thing that I really appreciate about myself, that I still have fun, regardless. I still get my work done, regardless. And I still lead and I still sleep and I still talk to my friends and check up on my family. I started having business hours for when I’m dealing with SOC stuff.  Yes, I might be up late at night working on stuff for student council, but in terms of corresponding and trying to book rooms and figure out events…you really just have to prioritize and plan out your life.  My life is so spontaneous so sometimes it’s hard to do that.  But, I know that if I really want to do something I’m going to do it. So for example, if I want to go out tonight I need to make sure this event is planned out and that my homework is done.  I’m never going to be on one level of focus, I’m always going to be very versatile…that’s just the type of person I am. I hate having a boring life, so I am always going to be able to balance what I do because I enjoy being busy…having a social life, having good grades, and leading.

 

A: Who is your biggest life influence and why?

M: I talk to my mom about almost everything.  It’s so funny because she actually tries to make me make decisions on my own now, since I’m growing up. But, she’s really just been there for me through so much and I am very appreciative of her and both of my parents. My mother is just a hustler and I feel like that’s where I got that hustling mentality from. I started a business here doing eyebrows, and I got certified. I feel like if it wasn’t for my mother I wouldn’t have had that motivation in terms of figuring out what I’m going to do about making money while I’m here, or even what I’m going to do in terms of making sure that my grades are good. When you have your mom’s voice in the back of your head it reminds you that you have other people to make proud. When you’re not trying your best in life it’s disrespectful to the people that believe in you. I just really appreciate my mom for everything.

 

     Another one of my biggest influences is my grandfather who passed way when I was in 9th grade. My name, Mekkah Husamadeen, is Arabic and he actually changed our last name in court when he converted to Islam. My name means so much to me, it just holds so much power.  Whenever the tough gets going I think about my grandfather and how he paved the way for my family.  He would always talk to me about growth and would emphasize it so much in my life.  He would tell me if you’re not growing and uncomfortable then you’re doing something wrong. At times when I am uncomfortable I have to understand that I am in a place where I am supposed to be learning, especially in these four years of college.  I’m never supposed to be stagnant. So I just always go back to thinking about my grandfather who experienced so many different things in his life. From being alone and homeless at twelve years old, to starting a family and starting a family business. When I’m struggling I think about how he’s still here now for me and my name that he gave to me.

 

A: There is a famous Maya Angelou quote that goes, “I believe that every person is born with talent.”  How would you interpret that and what advice would you give to Howard women in the process of finding themselves?

M: When I was getting into student government and really finding myself, one of my best friends was trying to get me to go to a modeling workshop with her and I was just too busy.  She didn’t want to go alone at first, but she ended up going alone. Now, she is an amazing model and would’ve never gotten that experience if she just stuck to depending on her friends to be available. So my advice to women at Howard is to go out and try new things, and if you think something is cool or interesting please just do it because you never know where your talent lies. I truly believe that the Lord meets you 50/50 so you have to take that first step out the door. You can’t be afraid of trying things alone or other’s opinions. I’m still trying new things even now. I know that wherever you go you’re going to find your heart and your talent there if it’s meant for you.

 

A: With great power comes great responsibility, do you at all feel pressured to be “perfect” while having others look at you as a positive example? If so, how do you overcome that challenge?

M: I’ve grown to understand that imperfection is perfection. You can never be perfect, it’s just not a thing. You just have to face that reality in life. But, what is perfect to me is when someone is telling me that I am inspiring them or when I’m pushing a movement forward and someone begins to follow it. It’s all about the positive reactions that you get from what you put out in the atmosphere. My advisor always tells me that I will know that I was a good president at the end of my term if there are people who want to be in this position after me. I definitely think that when it comes to perfection you have to be okay with not being perfect, that’s the “perfect” mindset to have. I personally believe that everyone is beautiful and perfect in their own unique way. I really want women here at Howard to understand that.

 

A: What is one quote or words of wisdom that you live by that can inspire someone reading this?

M: One of my favorite quotes is a two-part quote that goes “What if I fail?” and then the other person says “Oh, but darling, what if you fly.” Time after time, whenever I have a goal I always think about the negatives or the failures that could come from it, but I never think about the amazing opportunities, relationships, and success that I could gain from it.  You can’t be a pessimist when you’re trying to achieve certain things and move forward in life, you have to believe in yourself and your story. You have to believe in what you can bring to the table. YOU HAVE TO BRING A CHAIR TO THE TABLE. It’s not about failing, because we’re all going to fail at times. It’s about how you take the lesson from failure and fly with it.

 

We can all take Mekkah’s advice to constantly spread our wings and fly. Fly to your goals and dreams, fly to unfamiliar destinations, fly to risks and possible failures… just fly. She is a reminder that we have a force of women at Howard, not only leading us, but uplifting and rooting for us.  So if you ever feel alone, know that you have a tribe of Bison women wishing the best for you. This is what makes us a Bison family. Always remember that, and be on the look out for the next inspiring LeadHER of the month! #hcxo