KISH Magazine Exclusive Interview with World-Changer Annette Watson-Johnson B.S., M.A!
KISH: Tell us about you..
AWJ: I am originally from St. Louis MO but reside in FL. I have 2 amazing children who I love dearly Provine M. Cosby Jr. and Octavia M. Cosby. I am so proud of them both. I was raised by the best parents in the world, Pastor John Watson Sr. and District Missionary Addie Watson of Maple Temple C.O.G.I.C, St. Louis MO. As of Dec 14, 2018 they celebrated 65 years of marriage. This marriage gave birth to 11 children and over 80 grand & great grandchildren. I am the 9th child out of the 11, although I am not the youngest sibling my younger twin brothers call me their little sister. So yes I am spoiled. We are a very close family unit because my parents displayed exemplary love & respect for each other, their family, church, community and others. Although we were a large family, our sanctified home was the place in which all of our friends wanted to stop over to conjugate, eat and sleep. My 10 siblings (Janice Brown, Norvell Watson, Clara Liggins, Dana Richardson, Pastor John Watson Jr., Minister Benard Watson, Hosanna Watson, Marietta Jessup, Pastor Demetrius Watson and Donnell Watson), God Daughter Tamala Watkins and childhood friend Tammy Watkins are my best friends. I can call to talk with either of them at any time and receive nothing but love and support. I graduated from the best high school in St. Louis MO., Charles Sumner High School, which is the oldest black high school west of the Mississippi aamongst others like Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, tennis great Author Ashe, Dick Gregory, and Ethel Hedgeman Lyle founder of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, we will always be proud Sumner Bulldog Alumnus.
This steep family history has made me the woman I am today. Being part of such a loving family filled with supporters and spiritual leaders has provided me with the faith, confidence, attributes, and wisdom I utilize to lead others. I currently serve in dual leadership roles. I am the Founder & CEO of Dynamic Participators Enterprise Inc., and the President Elect of the Team Orlando Civilian Morale Welfare & Recreation Association aboard the NAWCTSD Military Installation for over 3, 000 employees. I have served as the II & III Vice President of the Blacks in Government Space Coast FL. Chapter, the Federally Employed Women (FEW)
National Board of Directors Lead Contract Chair, the FEW South East Regional Board Member, Organizer &
President of the FEW Central Florida Area Chapter, and President Emeritus of the FEW Central Florida Area Chapter.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
AWJ: I find it so amazing that I have been elected to serve in so many leadership positions for varies organizations. I contribute it all to my mental, physical and spiritual wellness and my family circle of supporters. I have learned from experience that I could not invest my time, energy and effort in others without first investing in myself. As I began to incorporate self-care wellness activities into my goal, dreams, visions and aspirations my life began to change. It was one of the AH HA moments Oprah Winfrey always mention in her interviews and TV shows. It is now my destiny and dream to promote my wellness experiences and creative wellness programs to share my journey that can aspire others. My personal wellness program may not be enticing to others but I have researched and have create a plethora of ways in which others can meet wellness goals.
After praying for guidance, the Lord encouraged me to start my non-profit organization Dynamic Participators Enterprise INC. which is organized in the states of FL and MO. We are wellness event planners as we create inclusive wellness events & implement programs that incorporates mental, physical and spiritual elements for organizations, schools, churches, families and communities. We are wellness advocates who recognize that all three of these elements are necessary and must be adopted in order for people to live a well-balanced, happy and fulfilled life. Without them our health declines, our attitude stays in a negative state and our dreams remain idle. We provide this knowledge via our webpage, social media outlets, trainings, empowerment symposiums, conferences and seminars. We also collaborate with business professionals, mentors, coaches, consultants that are experts in their field. We welcome new followers that are eager to support and attend our scheduled wellness events. We plan to teach one of our programs to the children in the public & charter school systems and are currently working with a major church organization. We launched our program “The Ultimate Vision Board Experience event in 2018”. This event is not your typical vison board event as many of our satisfied attendees have stated. Due to an outpour of request, we are scheduling now to take this program to other communities and states. We are always open to collaborating with others.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
AWJ: I have the “Superwomen Syndrome” because I was always told that women of color are strong and can do anything they put their mind to because it is in our DNA. I witness so many other strong women of color n in my life and on TV doing it all and having it all. So just like them, no matter how tired, stressed or what challenges I have endured, I had to accomplish the task at hand because I am a women of color therefore I am expected to be a strong. History has shown that women of color have had to endure even during the most trying times and with very little to do it with. From our ancestors we have learned how to balance everything at once, go to school and raise a family by utilizing all of our organizational skills by multitasking, leading, creating, making ends meet and praying that it all will be ok.
Fast forward to 1999 in which I had a dream to complete my college education by earning three degrees in four years. I was a married mother of 2 (ages 2 and 7), simultaneously was a full time employee, fulltime night college student, I also took additional online college classes, dedicated some nights to stay up all night to cram for test for as many college courses via proxy to receive the college credit. This allowed me to save time and bypass having to take the 8 week class. Because of my “Superwomen Syndrome”, I was focused on my dream to do it all so that I could have it all. Having a vision for my dream allowed me to see the process in which it would take me to get me to my educational goals so I executed my vision to ensure my dream would come to fruition. Overtime I began to notice that I became easily distracted. I was exhausted but ignored my sleep deprivation and excessive stress. My body started to feel unstable. I broke out in large hives all over my body. I took every test available but all of the Dr.’s reports had negative findings. As I sat in the Dr.’s office, he began to ask me about my children but I was easily distracted, fidgety and could not focus. This conversation led me to further discuss my daily diet and schedule. The Dr. stated that I was displaying early signs of a nervous breakdown. I immediately began to reflect on my family history. These symptoms are similar to what my Aunt experienced. My Aunt who was serving in several roles as wife, mother and business owner. Yes another women of color with the “Superwomen Syndrome”.
The excessive stress on her body became unbearable. She had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She could no longer operate in society. Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. He stated that I am carrying a load that was too heavy to bare and need to find a way to reflect on taking care of self first.
It had to be God to place our extended conversation in the mouth of the Dr. I then realized that I was taking care of everything and everyone except for my own self-care. I did not treat myself as a priority. After I analyzed what the Dr. relayed to me, I realized that because my schedule was already full, I had eliminated my wellness routines such as my mediation time, early morning running activities, vacations, and had little time for church. As I began to reincorporate these mental, physical and spiritual wellness activities back into my life, I noticed the positive transformation in which my mind and body was responding to my hectic schedule. The hives began to subside and I was able to see my dream & vision of earning my college education in 4 years come to fruition. I received my Associate of Arts in Management (2000) from the University of Maryland, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a minor in Psychology (2002) also from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from National University located in San Diego CA 2003. After this life humbling experience, I began to encourage other women with the “Superwomen Syndrome” to invest in self-care by incorporating all three of these wellness elements into their lives.
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?
AWJ: There have been challenges along the way including a divorce that left me with two young children, two failed businesses and a stack of debt, but I refuse to reflect on this and give the devil any power over me because God saw me through it all. In all instances I continued with my mental, physical and spiritual wellness activities. By doing so, I remained stable and in good spirts throughout it all. Of course life has been filled with many challenges, just like the gospel song that sings “I been lied on, cheated, talked about, mistreated, used, scorned, every since I been born, I have had ups, downs, leveled to the ground, as long as I got King Jesus I don’t need not body else” God was then able to send another husband into my life. Although I was not seeking another husband at the time, my husband Reginald E. Johnson testified to me and sincerely stated that he was praying for a wife and God lead him to me. Once I realized that this was a blessing that God had on my life, I accepted his proposal. We have been married for 5 years now. He has been my biggest supporter and I really adore him.
Time is also a challenge for me. There are never enough hours in the day for women with the “Superwomen Syndrome”. Especially when you love what you do, want to help others and you are operating in a peaceful, loving and giving environment. This environment has expanded my dreams and I am now pursuing other streams of personal mental, physical and spiritual wellness activities. My 2019 evolving wellness activities incorporates some of my personal and business dreams that I will accomplish. I am currently training and will run my 1st full marathon, complete my first of three books and my organization will launch several new programs including our 1st three day “Girlz Who Run the World in Pearls Empowerment & Wellness Event” at the Hampton Inn Hotel located on the renowned Cocoa Beach FL. This event will incorporate extensive training events, activities & classes that will further empower women with the “Superwomen Syndrome” like myself, who have executed their dreams/visions or those that need a little help getting started. We will help attendees create their own personal mental, physical and spiritual journey. We will also gain an insight into the barriers and vision blockers that have stalled our businesses, education, promotions, finances, relationships, etc. from coming to fruition.
We have lots of surprises, entertainment and door prizes and we can’t wait to meet all you Girlz Who Run the World in Pearls coming from all over the world at this event. Registration is active and additional information is located on our website. Vendors are also welcome but need to contact us to reserve their space.
Why pearls? I am fascinated with pearls because they represent me as I am a women of color. I understand how they are created and what they must endure before they are hardened into strong beautiful jewels. They are formed into strong pearls which are created from their environment. So I wear them proudly in authentic or costume styles. In my head pearls are synonymous with women of color (or any other women) who has historically endured persecution, mistreatment and have been underestimated but we have persevered.
“The birth of a pearl is a miraculous event! Live oysters below the surface of the sea grow pearls. Gemstones must be cut and polished to bring out their beauty, but pearls need no such treatment to reveal their loveliness. They are born from oysters complete with a shimmering iridescence, luster and soft inner glow unlike any other gem on Earth. A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object, such as a parasite or piece of shell that accidentally lodges itself in an oyster’s soft inner body where it cannot be expelled. To ease this irritant, the oyster’s body takes defensive action. The oyster begins to secrete a smooth, hard crystalline substance around the irritant in order to protect itself. This substance is called “nacre.” As long as the irritant remains within its body, the oyster will continue to secrete nacre around it, layer upon layer. Over time, the irritant will be completely encased by the silky crystalline coatings. And the result, ultimately, is the lovely and lustrous gem called a pearl” (definition was obtained from https://www.wixonjewelers.com/).
Like pearls, women of color are highly esteemed and have been objects of beauty for many centuries. We have birthed many nations and the world owe us gratitude. Because of our history, our strength, courage and willpower, we have become metaphors for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable. Like pearls we are the most imitated and are adorned in any style of fashion. We may be underestimated or even unappreciated but we know our worth, and can multitask to produce multiple streams of income with or without education. We understand that there is enough success for us all and will support other women because the spirit of intimidation is not a factor.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?
AWJ: My sister had the “Superwomen Syndrome”. Unfortunately she had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with a form of Bipolar in 2004. Bipolar disorder is known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. There are four basic types of bipolar disorder. I moved to Florida to ensure she was well taken care of. Since was already educated in Psychology, I was aware that she would need a lot of support, I vowed to continue to do my part to help her and others especially those who suffer from the “Superwomen Syndrome” as we all need to understand the importance of mental, physical and spiritual self-care and make it our priority.
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.
AWJ: A dream will remain a dream that will sit idle in your head until you execute it. When you execute your dream it is because you now have a vision of what it will take to make your dream come true. You may not have it all finalized and there may be changes along the way, but the most important thing to remember is, because you executed the vision, you will began to walk in your purpose. Most importantly you must incorporate mental, physical and spiritual wellness self-care activities into your plan to accommodate the additional load that you may endure to ensure your dreams are not blocked and will come to fruition.
Other: YouTube Channel: dynamic participators