Educator, Podcaster, and Humanitarian, Christine Reidhead, is an Assistant Professor and the Founder and CEO of the Nonprofit Organization, AfrikRising. We asked Christine to comment on the current situation about COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation. And, took a chance to talk about a few exciting happenings, like her, #1 Best Seller, "GET THAT JOB!”, her recent award, “10 Best CEOs to Watch 2020”, podcasting and much more in our exclusive interview.
CP: Hi Christine, you live in the heart of the Navajo Nation, with the COVID-19 outbreak, where it is the highest affected area per capita. How are you coping with these challenges?
CR: We have 500 people that have tested positive for the coronavirus, in our small town of Crownpoint, NM, so it’s pretty scary. I’m just trying to stay home as much as possible. I love to work, so I’ll work just as hard at home as I would at work. Many of my students have had family members who have died from this coronavirus. It’s really sad. We are losing some good, good people.
CP: Oh, that sounds pretty tough! Are there enough medical supplies at the hospitals? I hope everyone can get proper assistance.
CR: They are working on it. Hopefully, as time passes, the State of New Mexico and the Navajo Tribe, get more assistance from the federal government. There are not a lot of hospitals in and around the Navajo Nation, so that is a challenge. But the Navajo people are resilient and they will overcome this challenge facing their people. I couldn’t be more proud to have the opportunity to live and learn more about their tradition and culture. They are a misunderstood people and I wish they would get more respect.
CP: You and your sons made masks for the people on the Navajo Nation. As you mentioned, this area has really been hit by the coronavirus. Tell us a little more about that experience.
CR: As COVID-19 began spreading on the Navajo Nation, it got me very worried about the people, especially the elders. Nationally, the masks were sold out in stores. It got me thinking, and guess who I thought of? My mother! My mother is a quilter, so she donated a lot of fabric to allow us to sew these masks. We ended up making over 500 masks to give away. It was challenging, but a great experience.
CP: We can’t but mention you being one of the “10 Best CEOs to Watch 2020”! Wow! Can you tell us a little bit about that accomplishment?
CR: Yes, it was a great honor to be one of the “10 Best CEOs to Watch in 2020”. As for the non-profit, I feel blessed to be a part of AfrikRising. We are simply out there trying to help lift the burdens of others. There is always someone out there who is struggling, and can be helped. That’s what life is all about, serving and that’s what we do at AfrikRising. We can’t reach everyone, but we try to do the best we can.
CP: Your nonprofit, AfrikRising, is really doing some good things in Africa, especially during the coronavirus pandemic! Can you tell us about your recent projects you’ve completed?
CR: We just completed Project Face Mask. On our AfrikRising Board, we have a fashion designer, Emmanuel Aluka. He made 150 masks that were taken to a hospital and police station in Lagos, Nigeria. He said when he was handing out the masks, he got mauled by people that were so excited! These COVID-19 times are scary, and we need to make sure we are thinking about those who are affected by this virus no matter where they live.
CP: It is so admirable, that in this difficult time you remember those who are even more in need. How many volunteers are working with you? Is there a place for newcomers to join?
CR: AfrikRising currently has nine Board members. We are grateful to have many generous people who consistently donate to each of our projects as we couldn’t accomplish the projects without them! We are very fortunate to have good teams in both Nigeria and Ghana. The teams help us find those who are in the most need. We are always looking for those who want to give back. Volunteers and newcomers can contact us at our website: www.afrikrising.org. We’d love to have anyone and everyone join us in helping fight hunger and poverty in Africa!
CP: You have published a #1 Best Seller on Amazon! Congratulations! These books are really helping college students gain the foundation they need to succeed. Do you have a second book in the works?
CR: I do have a second book coming out soon! My book should be published here in the next month or so. This second book is about study habits. A lot of times students have not developed good study habits before college. This book helps you learn the best way to study and how to apply those methods. I think the book is a great guide to help college students become successful in their studies.
CP: Your books are a part of a series. What can we expect for future topics?
CR: When you leave your parents’ house you usually are overconfident and think you know everything, right? Then, reality hits you and you’re not as prepared as you thought you were. This college book series provides tips to help tackle that steep learning curve. Other forthcoming books will be about, how to manage your finances, how to choose the right career, common freshman mistakes, developing a resume, etc. And, after reading these books, I’m hoping all the tools will provide a solid foundation for students. This is a critical time in students’ lives and grasping this knowledge is important to help lead and guide them to success.
CP: You are involved in so many things! How did you get such an extreme work ethic? What drives that success?
CR: I have to credit my work ethic to my step-dad, Leland. He pushed so much work on my siblings and I during my years in high school. I hated it. I mean, who likes working as a teenager? But, now I am so grateful for what Leland’s method of teaching lessons of life entailed. As a teenager, you don’t realize the continuous work ethic push as important life Iessons, until later in adulthood. To this day, I have that same drive flowing through my veins. It’s what gets me up early in the morning and keeps me up late at night. My step-dad is now in his 70s and still works 12 plus hours a day, six days a week, it’s incredible. He planted that seed of service within me. Looking back, I remember that we would help out people, no matter what time of the day or night it was. Whether it was helping people who were stranded or taking truckloads of food down to Mexico, we would find some way to help others. Leland certainly provided me with a great example of success and service. I am very grateful for that. I love working and will constantly challenge myself to push a little harder and attempt to accomplish more today than I did yesterday.
CP: This is so true! You are such an inspiration for many women in the world. We are proud to have you as a cover story for “Eurowoman”. What is your secret to keep being so energetic?
CR: Just my drive for success. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant always talked about things that motivated them. I do the same. Whether it is success or criticism, I take motivation from either one, and strive to work harder and be better.
CP: Your Tribal College Movement podcast has been published by the Tribal College Journal! One of the most important educational journals in the country. Can you tell us more about that podcast series?
CR: This is a great example of pushing oneself to learning something new and learning about people that make a difference in other peoples’ lives. This podcast was a great privilege to do with Tom Davis. He is one of the founding fathers of the Tribal College Movement and has been a mentor to me for the past 10 years or so. He’s an incredible man and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. This podcast shares stories about the tribal college movement that happened over 50 years ago. There is some rich history in these podcasts and I’m very proud to be able to capture that richness with Tom.
CP: It’s amazing! You find time for everything, and it is so inspirational to listen to you! What is your motivational quote of the day?
CR: “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” David Bly
CP: Thank you so much for finding time to talk to us in this uneasy situation. We truly hope the world is becoming better! And, it is important to stay motivated and keep going, exactly like you do!
Listen to Christine’s podcasts: https://christinereidhead.com.
Follow Christine on social media: https://www.facebook.com/chris.reidhead.
“Tips to Starting College” website: https://tipstostartingcollege.com
AfrikRising Nonprofit Organization: https://afrikrising.org