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Successful Women Entrepreneurs Give Back: Glenda Newell-Harris

29/12/2014 02:23 GMT | Updated 09/02/2015 10:59 GMT

The Successful Woman Entrepreneurs Give Back article series focuses on women who have mastered the art of creating and maintaining a business that sustains and enriches every aspect of their lives. The fourth pillar of Arianna Huffington's Third Metric - Giving - figures prominently in their lives and is supported by their multi-million dollar businesses. In bringing you their stories, my intent is to provide you with information and inspiration for modeling your business to achieve your personal version of lifestyle, legacy, and leading by example.

One of my passions is the advancement of women in the sciences, and in particular, life sciences. So when I learned that Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris had been elected to the helm of The Links, Incorporated, I was immediately intrigued.

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Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris

The Links, Incorporated is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations in the U.S. Founded in 1946, its members work to enrich, sustain, and ensure the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Its philanthropic arm, which funds transformational programs that impact lives and change communities, has contributed more than $25 million to non-profit organizations throughout the United States since 1979. Glenda is the first medical doctor to serve as president, stepping into this role after having served four years as national vice president.

Glenda is a board certified physician in internal medicine. She is co-founder of Newell & Spriggs Consulting, LLC, a healthcare consulting company, and an active advocate for health literacy, self-empowerment, and initiative to create a culture of wellness at home and at work. Much of her work focuses on women:

While nearly two-thirds of women are primary care takers and selectors of insurance, it is an unfortunate fact that they are noted to seek medical care very late after the onset of symptoms because they are so busy taking care of everyone else. In addition, it has been determined that women will further delay their visit to the doctor if they think there will be a significant payment required to cover services. They are often pressed to make their children and their children's needs their primary concerns - thus the need to make women a primary focus of health education, self-empowerment, and advocacy.

For many years, Glenda and her business partner, Dr. Brenda Spriggs, have volunteered their services to speak at churches, youth groups, and other organizations to provide the tools that are important to improve the medical outcomes and experiences of church and group members. She and Dr. Spriggs also speak on national radio programs to impart their message about the importance of self advocacy in the area of health. Their book, Focus On Your Best Health, Smart Guide To The Health Care You Deserve, contains tips, tools and resources that they freely share with those who have limited access to health care information.

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It is not surprising that health is a significant focus of Glenda's platform as national president of The Links, Incorporated. This non-profit organization will be using its considerable resources to increase awareness and education around HIV, hepatitis C, and mental health and will continue its ongoing work in the area of health care disparities - conditions such as cardiovascular disease and breast cancer - that disproportionately impact women.

Glenda sees herself as a motivator and champion for improved education in these specific health areas, which are the focus of major initiatives under her administration. As president, she is involved in all aspects of programming. She is committed to making every effort to practice what she preaches and to share her personal health-related stories, from her visits for mammograms and colonoscopies to the lab tests and other appropriate exams that she undergoes based on her medical history. She knows that it is more convincing and easier to persuade others when you have done something yourself.

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As a women's organization, The Links, Incorporated places emphasis on empowering, educating, and uplifting women. All members are encouraged to share their time, talents, and resources with their communities. Approximately 12% of the membership is comprised of entrepreneurs and these members take pride in supporting and mentoring other women entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

While Newell and Spriggs Consulting has not undertaken any initiatives that focus specifically on entrepreneurial women, the overall importance of "attention to self" is always a part of the firm's message.

...being a successful entrepreneur requires a unique energy and vision that can be stressful and energy draining. I encourage all women who find themselves on the front line to take the time to place emphasis on themselves. If they do not, we remind them that the children they are seeking to support will not have the benefit of their knowledge and expertise if medical problems supersede prevention.

In addition, women must make work/life balance a priority...

Speaking of which...

Glenda says that family is the guiding light of her life. Her husband, children, parents, sister, and extended family keep her centered and on course. They are the energy source that drives her professional, civic, and philanthropic endeavors. To care for her mind, body, and spirit, she makes a conscious effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle by staying active, eating right, and taking moments for herself.

I make sure that I make my "self appoints" for manicures, pedicures, massages, and the like. And where would I be without my girlfriends? I ensure that I schedule time to check-in with them.

One of Glenda's family's core beliefs is giving back, whether through dollars or time. She sees both as valuable commodities that can truly transform lives and build communities. Together and individually, her family does extensive volunteering:

As the daughter of a mother who is a community leader and an inspiration to not just me but to hundreds of people, the spirit of helping others is ingrained in my soul.

For fun, Glenda indulges her passion for music and loves attending concerts with her friends and family. She says there's something about hearing R&B music from "back in the day - when music was music" that lifts your soul and helps you shut out all of the static in your life. She also enjoys traveling and going on family vacations, saying that these act as a "reset button" for her life.

Glenda describes "who she is being" (as opposed to "what she is doing") in her business and as Links president as follows:

I'm being engaged and balanced in all facets of my life, enjoying and appreciating every moment I'm blessed to have.

I'm striving to be a positive influence in the lives of others. As a mentor, I'm being a hands-on, supportive advisor to those who have synergy with my journey as a parent, philanthropist, author, leader...

My experiences and what I have learned during each stage and phase of my life have helped to change me through the years. I'm wiser today than I was yesterday, and I have more to offer the world with each passing day.

Glenda is striving to achieve a legacy of leadership that will leave all those in her circle of influence feeling inspired, enriched, and engaged.

As a medical professional, she wants to be a change agent in the pursuit of better health care in the U.S. as well as in individual pursuits of quality health care and living a healthy life. Advocacy is a critical component of the work she has taken on to improve education and knowledge on issues impacting human health.

As national president of The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated, helping the nearly 14,000 Links members identify, value, grow, and share their talents is of the utmost importance to her. She strives to help members understand the significance of their organization and the gift that their co-founders gave to them:

The Links, Incorporated is more than an organization of women who volunteer. It is an organization that for 68 years has been a partner in the progress of our communities and our nation and will continue to be a partner for another 68 years and beyond.

As women, we carry so much on our shoulders. Who better to uplift us than ourselves?