“My passion in life is to encourage every woman to know their self-worth and to know that they are phenomenal and unstoppable.”
1.Who is Cherissa Jackson?
I’m a retired Air Force nurse. I retired after 23 years of active duty service, was deployed 4 times (3 to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan), mother of adult twin daughters, a philanthropist, innovator, and advocate for Veterans as my current role as Chief Medical Executive of AMVETS (American Veterans, a Veteran Service Organization). I have a non-profit (Project Give Hope) that saves the lives of women across the globe from cervical cancer, by eradicating precancerous lesions in the cervix in 20 seconds. I’ve written a book called “At Peace Not in Pieces” to motivate, inspire and encourage women in every walk of life. I’ve won many awards and accolades, but my greatest triumph is surviving war not only from the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan but my mental health and PTSD. My passion in life is to encourage every woman to know their self-worth and to know that they are “phenomenal” and unstoppable.
2.The uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic weighs the heaviest on most working mothers. How has the pandemic affected you mentally?
The biggest challenge for me during this time is not having that face-face interaction with my friends, family and those I serve in the community. I believe a person’s energy will signal how they are doing. Non-verbal communication will also help understand a person’s state of mind. I miss engaging in that way. I work from home anyways but getting out throughout the week to assess the “pulse” of those I love is what I treasure. My intuition will always tell what to say or do, and Zoom conference calls or phone calls can’t replace the in-person interaction.
3.What/how are you spending the most of your time/resources during the pandemic?
Because I’ve been deployed 4 times, I’ve told everyone that I’m dealing with this pandemic by believing I’m on a 6-month deployment with the luxury of my own bed, shower, WIFI, no enemy firing overhead, can call family and friends, etc. I work out in my basement when I get antsy or jog outside. I’ve been working on some work projects that should come to fruition next month. I’m constantly looking for things to keep me inspired and motivated. I stay positive and prevent negativity from effecting my mood or temperament throughout the day.
4.We must ask: how are those eyebrows, nails and hair styles doing? Have you found ways to be your own stylists during the lockdown, and what tips and products have you tried that you can share with other women?
My nails have been the biggest challenge. I wore dipping powder before the pandemic and was faithful getting my nails and pedicures done. I’ve found a good product by Sally Henson to strengthen my nails. Like on a deployment, Sunday is my “pamper me day”. I polish my nails and give them some TLC. So far so good.
5.How are you supporting your local community during the COVID-19 crisis?
Supporting in any way possible has been my joy since lockdown. I’ve been supporting local entrepreneurs by purchasing products like baked goods, body butters, headwraps, etc. I have also been finding ways to get masks out to first responders and our healthcare workers. It saddens me to see these brave warriors without the proper equipment and risking their lives still. I’ve been collaborating with other local businesses in hopes to find solutions to Covid-19.
6.How can your local community support you and your business during this pandemic?
Joining forces when you see my efforts. I’m doing what I’m doing out of pocket. This is pure passion and drive to help our community. Be inspired to help as well in some way.
7.What/who is one organization or individual that has been very supportive or inspirational in your journey, or simply during this pandemic?
My biggest inspiration has been seeing how many military medical professionals have returned to duty to help in this crisis. My daughter and several friends are on the frontlines and to see over 9K military members volunteer to come back in to help was overwhelming and emotional for me. Again, our silent heroes stepping up and giving it their all even with their lives on the line. Just incredible.
8.What are some valuable lessons you have learned that you can share with other women as we navigate the pandemic, or to be better prepared personally and professionally in times of a national issue affecting our health and economy?
The biggest recommendation I can give to anyone is to believe that “This too shall pass”. Being patient and using this opportunity to better yourself, your relationships, your career, whatever may be is the beauty in this. We all get to choose how this story will end. When this pandemic is over and we all reflect on these months, what will be your biggest achievement should be what we ask ourselves. If we are all the same after this, we didn’t take advantage of this time. We must all reflect during this time, be grateful, show gratitude to our fellow man and be determined to be better after this crisis.
9.What keeps you inspired and motivated?
Knowing that I overcame the many storms, some will even say tsunamis, in my life motivates me. Feeling and understanding how blessed I am, inspires me to help others.
10.How can other women and the general public connect with you and/or your business?
Please visit my website: www.projectgivehope.org
You can also find me on social media: Cherissa Jackson on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.