She's a Gem - Dr. Valerie Small & Constance Victory
In featuring this week's fabulous mother & daughter duo I can't help but think of this quote - "Here's to Strong Women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them." Valerie and Constance are irresistible. Valerie is earnest, endearing and full of thoughtful questions - she's an accomplished educator, teaching courses in communication, public speaking and psychology at several notable New York City universities. Her daughter Constance is creative, dazzling and free spirited. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design and earned her Masters in Historic Architecture from the University College of London. She now has her own namesake collection of chic designer handbags (check her out! VictoireFocx.com and @therealconstancevictory) I met this marvelous mother daughter duo in New York by chance! The love between these two women is palpable and they spent most of our time together poking fun at each other and laughing arm in arm - each adoring and proud of the other. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know them as much as I have!
Share something you learned from your mother and something you learned from your daughter:
Constance - One of the many things I’ve learned from my mother is generosity in compassion. My mother has a warm and welcoming heart, and I’ve watched her love and forgive without expectations, and this has been a great inspiration for me.
Valerie - I learned that being a mother you must listen more and talk less unless you have been asked for feedback. Additionally, that as a mother you must self-reflect and make efforts to be consciously aware of how you are saying things to your children when you are upset and in general it might be percieved in a way that your "intentions" were not meant to be received.
I am happiest when I am…
Constance - showing gratitude to the people and things that are in my life.
Valerie - adding value to other's lives and in a position to take care of me first and my family.
What is your Spirit Animal…or Alter Ego?
Constance - a sensual songstress who belts thunderous notes while elegantly draped across a grand piano.
Valerie - a famous dancer or backup dancer for a band, e.g. the late Prince, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, etc.
Favorite way to spend a rainy day?
Constance - indoors, watching episodes of Murder She Wrote, as I snack on comfort food.
Valerie - in my library writing and researching, listening to old sermons from the late Bishop S. McKinley, and catching up on missed teaching from Dr. Charles Stanley.
Biggest lesson learned in the past 2 years?
Constance - the dissimilitude of appearance versus reality, with special attention to social media posts, and also including the way in which people project their own life scenarios to those close to them.
Valerie - there are some people in my life that really value what I do for them and that they are really grasping the wisdom that I impart to them. Additionally, I've learned that everyone that's walking with you is not necessarily celebrating your greatness. They are just around to say, "Yea, I know her too."
What do you wish you had more of?
Constance - I wish I had more patience.
Valerie - Access to people that are influential and wealthy so I could share my vision with them and they could support me on this journey.
Who is your role model or hero?
Constance - My Granny is my role model; she’s arguably the most compassionate and understanding person I know. Compassion and understanding can move mountains in life.
Valerie - My elder sister, the late Linda Small. She was a woman that was dealt a hand in life that most people would have thrown in, but she persevered to the end without any public complaint, that I'm aware of.
What’s on your bedside table?
Constance - an antique ashtray (that I don’t use) that has an illustrated depiction of a cozy sitting room interior. The illustration has an old English townhouse feel to it that reminds me of time in London.
Valerie - Linda Small's clock, lamp, perfume and her bracelet.
I feel powerful when …
Constance - I’ve been more productive than I intended to be for the day.
Valerie - had a good night's rest and am able to function to my full capacity in the classroom and/or during a seminar/workshop knowing that the information I'm about to impart will be life changing for all who receive it!
Constance - vanilla flavored birthday cake, topped with vanilla icing and rainbow sprinkles.
Valerie - hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream
What do you want to tell other women?
Constance - I want to tell other women that we must understand that our worth surpasses a day or month of commemoration; we are the closest thing to God—since God—as we are THE chosen physical vessel of creation in this dimension.
Valerie - I want to tell other woman that they were created and formed in the image of God and there is something unique that only they have to share with whomever they come in contact with. Also, they can do whatever they set their minds to do regardless of what others might say and/or think of them.
What are you most passionate about in your life right now?
Constance - showing respect and human dignity to ALL, which includes defending the voices of those whose voices are overlooked or silenced.
Valerie - fulfilling God's purpose for me, that is reaching people that are less fortunate and at a disadvantage and marginalized because of who society has said they are.
What’s your favorite joke?
Constance - “A man walks into a bar— Ouch!! It was an iron bar!”
Valerie - "Did you hear about the funeral home around the corner? No. Well, people are dying to get in there" (This joke was so funny to me growing up and I got scared, there really was a funeral home around the corner from where I lived!)