Today we celebrate Layci Nelson! YWCA Yakima is on a mission to empower women. #52women52weeks was created to celebrate and highlight the amazing women & #SHEros in the #yakimavalley. We are proud to share more about Layci..
What is one word that describes you perfectly?
Leadership Revolutionary, Power Broker, and Table Builder.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Don’t play small. Know your personal top 3 core values and examine them often. Dream big dreams and then take big steps to make them happen. Speak it out loud. Ask for help to make it happen and connect with women you admire to mentor and nurture you along the way.
What makes you happy?
I mean we could go deep and say when every human being has an opportunity to discover and live in their full potential.
Or we could go simple and say coffee and sunshine.
It all brings me happiness and joy.
How do you measure success?
By the impact, I am actually making.
Is my impact in alignment with my intentions? Is my work making the everyday life of people better and more fulfilling? And also, am I charging what I know my work is worth? Women tend to give too much away at a discount.
What historical event inspires you the most?
This is not easy to answer. All of the times oppressed, and enslaved people groups rise up and demand to be counted and treated as fully human is incredibly inspiring. I cannot just pick one, thankfully there are hundreds of major events and thousands of and thousands of individual ones.
Here is a story of a small act of rebellion that I draw on often.
Ok, this is not the typical take on the Mary, Martha, and Jesus story, but it’s my take:
Jesus, who was a member of the oppressed group under Roman rule, a teacher and not a favorite of the religiously powerful in his own people group, is hanging out at the home of Martha and sister Mary.
A group of men who followed Jesus and were intrigued by his teachings were with him there and were gathered around engaging with him while he taught. Traditionally and culturally, this was a room that women would have not been allowed to participate in, because well, patriarchy.
However, where was Mary? Right there sitting with the men and engaging in the discussion! She knew this was not what she “should” be doing but there she was anyway.
Where was Martha? Doing what was culturally expected of her, cleaning up and doing dishes.
Now, what did Jesus have to say about it when Martha was not having it?
“Mary has chosen what is better and will not be taken from her”.
That, my friends, was a revolutionary act for that time.
I understand that story as Jesus welcoming Mary, a woman, into the fold as an equal and actually encouraging Martha to also allow herself that opportunity.
It also reminds me to be aware of cultural norms and “shoulds” that are harmful and I may be subconsciously ascribing to.
It also reminds me to always make room at my table for people.
Especially the ones who struggle to recognize that not only can they be there, but they should be. Invite people in.
What is your favorite quote and why?
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.
-George Bernard Shaw