When I was asked if I’d be able to interview Valeshia Butterfield Jones, I calmly responded by saying ‘sure I can do it.’ On the inside, I was screaming with excitement! Here I was, new to the freelance world and having the opportunity to interview one of the most influential black women in the world of technology, equity and young women around the globe. She’s a Google executive, worked as part of the President Obama Administration, a CEO, wife and mother among her many hats. She was in Memphis, TN as the keynote speaker at the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis luncheon.
One of the most impressive points about her is her humble spirit. She’s smart, beautiful, articulate and knows what she knows-well. She speaks with confidence and understands her weight of her platform. There were four of us who were allowed to give an interview. I was the last person to interview her, and I was honestly disappointed because the two more well known press cut into the interview time for myself and another writer. The writer before me was fine with what she heard from the others and had only one question which was indeed different from everyone else.
Our interview felt more like two friends talking. And, I sincerely think she was impressed with the fact that I wanted to know more about WEEN. You should have seen her face light up when I did! Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network, or her ‘baby’ as she calls it, was a relevant part of why she was speaking in Memphis in the first place. If you are not already familiar with Mrs. Butterfield Jones, I strongly encourage you to Google her, pun intended!
I do hope to meet her again and possibly work with her. I was very transparent with her about my experiences with domestic abuse, particularly in my late teens/early adulthood and the work I’ve done with young ladies. Her work with WEEN specifically, continues to speak to my heart. But, her overall character is what has been an inspiration to me, and I’m sure, to many of women. Especially to those of us who identify as women of color.