Najjiyya C. Arnold
Biographical Statement, Significant Achievements & Statement of Goals
A seasoned professional and entrepreneur, my hometown of Detroit, Michigan is birthplace to my first foray into the arena of small business ownership. The first born of four children to Mildred (Saabira) Arnold, a housewife, and Paul Mack, an architect, my childhood was replete with lessons of fortitude, self-reliance, ingenuity, humility, and industry. Coming from a family grounded firmly in the Baptist ethic and faith, God has uniquely inspired and sculpted me for pursuit and achievement of great things. Driven to succeed and wielding the God-given gift of management and coordination, I became the owner of 12 commercial ventures throughout the Detroit area.
Not content to rest on these successes, and with my journey taking me on military-related international travel, I was determined to export my talents and capabilities. Professional modeling was my next achievement. Breaking into the industry during a time when women of color, especially those of a deeper chocolate hue, were not able to launch careers, I modeled for Ebony Fashion Fair. Several years later, I became licensed as a modeling instructor and taught at one of the nation’s top modeling institutions. Simultaneously, I wore yet another hat as a base events coordinator and instructor. After more than 20 years of service, I topped off my military experience with what I consider one of the most rewarding achievements-I blazed a new trail.
In 1990, while working with the California State Military Department, I planned, developed, and coordinated the first ever Black History Month Celebration. With the backdrop of our troops’ deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, I garnered enough support and commitment of resources to provide for two weeks of events. An evening banquet featuring local distinguished guests from state and local government, tours of the Citizen Soldier Museum (to which an African American display was added, and is still displayed of military figures (including Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth, founder of Allenstown, CA), poetry reading, et al. Many luminaries such as Then-Senator Dianne Watson, Dr. James Williams, the Honorable Leroy James, and others attended this event. Commitments from ABC television network to provide satellite transmission of the event to our troops in Iraq had to be cancelled because of the conflict.
Most recently, that indomitable entrepreneurial spirit has found yet another outlet. In January 1993, I founded and became CEO of Profiles Unlimited, Educational Foundation, Training Institute. An 11-year-old, not-for-profit (501 (c) 3), Profile’s hallmark is its unwavering commitment to systemic change through the renegotiation of existing social models. The goal? A “leveling” of the proverbial “playing field” for our community members who historically encounter barriers to fully accessing and enjoying the richly varied opportunities our society has to offer.
Diminishment of the impact that indicators such as gender, racial or ethnic heritage, economic means, mental health status, and other familiar “success indicators” has on one’s ability to achieve success is without doubt a goal that we wholeheartedly embrace!
Profiles, is committed to re-building and re-investing in our communities, one person at a time. Our strategy for success–assessment, resource identification and matching, then multi-disciplinary intervention/prevention–attacks barriers at their very core, acting as an agent for systemic change! The marriage of a research-driven, multi-disciplinary approach to system change is one pregnant with possibilities and potential. The best is yet to come.
To augment the tireless efforts we at Profiles are engaging in to create systemic and sustainable economic change and social revitalization, continuous education and training is needed. That’s why March 2008 will mark the beginning of the 8th year of my Doctoral Candidacy in the field of Clinical Psychology. The Santa Barbara, CA-based Fielding Graduate Institute is the graduate institution of choice, and offers a rigorous and nationally-recognized Ph.D. degree program. Among the foundation upon which this work is being constructed is a Master of Arts degree, a Master of Science in Clinical and Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts degree, in Behavioral Science, from National University, and an Associate in Science degree in Business Administration.
Despite all of these accomplishments and achievements, despite the very immediate need and importance of the vital work we do at Profiles, my first love and commitment is to my family. The mother of two sons who have served their country with distinction–one died in the line of duty in the Middle East and the other is currently in the theater in Baghdad, Iraq–I find myself continually re-assessing my own attitudes and values. This sense of
re-energization extends to my work as well. Being a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern is without doubt one of the most rewarding professions in which I’ve had the privilege of membership.
Through Christ who lives in and operates through me, I continue to be exhilarated and thrilled when helping to transform lives from the inside out. It is as rewarding now as it was the first day I walked into Terkensha Associates, my current fulltime employer, and had the opportunity to do the work that I do–working with children and adolescents as they work through the complexities of their individual challenges. This caring and concern for our youth extends beyond the confines of my professional work, but has spilled into the work I do here in our community. As recently as the summer of 2000, I acted as a chaperone and advisor for the California State University, Sacramento’s Center for African Peace & Conflict Resolution’s peace mission to Ghana, Africa.
A month-long sojourn to the “Motherland,” a multi-cultural group of 25 Sacramento-area college students and high schoolers were given the opportunity of a lifetime! Everything from quasi-U.N. esque debates to cultural exchange opportunities enriched this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
From Africa, to entrepreneurship, to Freud, I thank God for using me as a conduit and giving me the opportunity to time and time again to be that lighthouse on a storm-torn night, helping to guide our “ships” safely home. Whether it’s insight or issues of incest, there is a common and unchanging theme to who and what I am–a lover of people, a passionate champion of the underdog, and a tireless foe of ignorance and fear in a world filled with such dazzling light and hope!