Normally when I introduce myself, I focus on what I do for work or my relationship to other people. I might say, “I’m an attorney,” or, “I’m Fred’s wife.” While those titles are a big part of my life, they are not WHO I am. But who am I? A series of titles? A combination of experiences? I am a collection of verbs!
Hi, I’m Jennifer!
It’s hard for me to describe myself as a tangible, static being. The only constant in my life is that I always seem to be growing and changing. I am a consummate work in progress and like to think of myself as a collection of actions or verbs. So, let me introduce myself with the verbs that describe me.
I work as an attorney at General Motors. I handle multi-million dollar transactions and work on large scale diversity, equity, and inclusion projects. I’ve been an attorney for over a decade and was formerly a partner at Dickinson Wright PLLC, a large, Detroit-based law firm.
While being an attorney is not necessarily surprising, my mom would have probably been less surprised if I had joined the circus. I started dancing at three, taking voice lessons in fifth grade, and always wanted to be a performer. I studied dance and music theater in college. After graduation, I decided that I needed a back-up plan in case performing didn’t work out, so I went to law school. During law school, I landed one of the highly sought-after internships at a big firm and, as they say, the rest is history.
I practice self-care, self-love, and self-discovery. After several serious bouts of depression, a life-long battle with anxiety, and 20 years struggling with an eating disorder, it is clear to me that if I don’t take care of myself, I will fall apart. So, a couple years ago, I started following the advice of those airline safety videos and have been putting my mask on first ever since. Before I tend to the needs or desires of others, I make sure that mine are met.
As a woman, and especially as a mom, this is really hard to maintain but the difference in my well-being is night and day. For me, this looks like prioritizing my health and fitness. I work out regularly and maintain a balanced, flexible diet. I also prioritize spending time with my friends and seek out joy. I mentioned before that I studied theater and dance. A little over a year ago, I started doing theater again at Stagecrafters, a community theater in Royal Oak. Since then, I have been in three other productions at community and professional theaters.
I advocate for women, minorities, the LGBTQIA+, and any group of people that might feel “other.” As a Black woman who has spent the majority of her life in predominantly white, male-dominated spaces, I know all too well the pain and stress that comes with feeling other. I have slowly but surely found a sense of self that feels comfortable and secure and I feel empowered to speak out and stand up for others that are not able to do the same.
I work on this through my writing, speaking, social media, and volunteer work. For the past three years, I have sat on boards such as the Pope Francis Center, a non-profit that provides services to Detroit’s homeless population, and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, an organization that advocates for women’s rights. This year, I also joined the board of the Mercy Education Project, an organization that provides tutoring services to women and girls in Detroit.
I live in Detroit. I am a Detroit girl to the core. I grew up in the city but moved to Troy when I was 10 years old. I love exploring the suburbs, especially Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Ferndale, but Detroit always has my heart. It is my favorite place on earth. The music, culture, restaurants, art, and people are unmatched. I always say that Detroit is a small town big city. It has all of the amenities of a major city with all of the access and familiarity of a small town. There is no place I would rather live!
I love my family and friends. I met my husband, Fred, when we were both interns at the same law firm. We fell in love slowly over late nights in the office and cocktail parties. He is also a native Detroiter and has a deep love for the city. It was one of many things that made me fall for him. We have two sons, Louis (5) and Carter (3). Our parenting style is relaxed and we try to laugh through the hard parts. My husband and I are committed to working on ourselves and our marriage through therapy and couples counseling because we believe relationships require work, but it’s the most rewarding work you could do. We are trying to raise compassionate, kind boys, and value happiness over achievement.
I WRITE as a way to express myself. I love taking big complex ideas and breaking them down into manageable parts. I have been contributing to different platforms and am currently working on a book! I am excited to get to know the Detroit Mom community and for them to get to know me. Having mom friends has been such an important part of my journey as a mom. I have had some serious ups and downs, and I am excited to share them with you and hear your stories.
Thanks for letting me introduce myself. What verbs describe you?