1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I am Marjah Simon-Meinefeld, married to Marcus Meinefeld. I have two daughters—Alejandra, aged 14, Jada, aged 24; and blessed with a 2-year-old grandson, Alex. I was formerly in the army, a former model, an entrepreneur, and an attorney by profession. Now, I am on a mission to help aspiring authors bring their amazing stories to the world. I believe my experiences and education led me to be an international speaker, trainer, coach, writer, and an international best-selling author of The One Law (to Amazing Abundance In Every Area of Your Life). I’ve understood how challenging it can be to publish books, especially if you don’t have strategies and systems in place. I’ve seen people desire to write books and share their wisdom with the world but are unsure how or where to start or finish. And that is why I want to share what I’ve learnt over the years and show them that becoming a published author can be fun and easy! I’ve developed a system that enables my clients to publish books without writing a word! Being of service to others, robbing the graveyard of wisdom and bringing it into the world is my passion and, I believe, my purpose.
2. Who are the women who have inspired you the most in your life?
I would say Oprah Winfrey because, like me, she touches people’s hearts and changes peoples lives with her words. She listens and uses their words to change and touch their lives and the lives of other people. She is such an inspiration to me because she’s an entrepreneur. She’s a businesswoman who never let any adversities or other people’s perception stop her from creating what she wanted in her life—whether they were people close to her or people in the general public. I really admire that. Another person I admire is Michelle Obama. Again, another powerful woman of colour who did not let societal norms stand in the way, stop or slow her down. Like me, she’s also an attorney. When she no longer wanted to practice, she used her attorney degree to continue propelling herself forward to continue making a difference for people. I really admire how she did that. And she always did it with such grace and poise and never apologizing for her intelligence and tenacity.
Another woman I admire is my mother. Even though she’s passed on now, she’s still an inspiration for me. I watched how she went through life and be told that not much was expected of her. Yet, she raised her four children—she raised us to have the highest expectations. She challenged us, and she pushed us. And even though she didn’t necessarily know how to get there herself, she instilled in us a belief that we could. Even though she couldn’t get there, she showed us what was possible for us in our lives. Even when it was hard, she never quit. And watching her go back to get her college degree after having four children while working full time, after all of the pressures of life, which would have broken most people—it didn’t break her. She continued to better herself and worked on getting her degree. I remember when I was in college, she kept me from quitting when I felt like it was hard, or I couldn’t do it, and I remembered thinking, “You know what, if my mom could do this while working full time with four children, I could certainly do this on my own.” It helped me get my first degree. And when I was going from my law degree, I had a new baby and my husband at that time—was not my ex-husband—wasn’t supporting getting my law degree and was sabotaging it in many ways. I felt all of that pressure. I was working full time again, and I thought about my mother’s strength, and I said, “You know what, if my mother could do it, I can do this too.” And I did it. Lastly, another person that I admire is Arianna Huffington. Again, she is a businesswoman and entrepreneur, and she uses words to make a difference. She knows the power of words—to change lives and moves people to form thoughts and create worlds. And that’s what I love doing. I admire her because she does that.
3. Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?
I think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles. If women are not included at the table or own the table, then there’s always a disconnect and a skewed perception of what we’re capable of, of what’s possible. Also, the entire world suffers because approximately half the world is female. If we don’t tap into such a valuable resource, we all lose out. Historically, women have the ability to collectively and continuously run their homes, run their businesses, take care of themselves, take care of their families, take care of their neighbourhoods, and get up the next day and do it all again, and again, and again. Women are also often overlooked for everything that they are doing. However, having a seat at the leadership table, or again, owning the table that is spotlighted, it’s highlighted, and it’s not overlooked or forgotten. Many challenges are unique to women, and these also get handled when we are in leadership positions.
4. How would you describe your current thinking about diversity and inclusion?
Like women in leadership, diversity is paramount to any society becoming the best it possibly can. It’s paramount to any society tapping into all of its finest resources. Even genetically, it’s shown what happens when the family tree doesn’t branch. When there’s no diversity, genetically, the line becomes sick and then dies out. And I believe it’s the same, metaphorically. To be strong and our healthiest is when we branch out, reach most people in society, and have the best ideas to shift everyone forward. It’s imperative that everybody is included. Like with women, a diverse workplace means having women, minorities, all people of all religions, and all beliefs. It’s not just male-female diversity, but it’s diversity across the board. When I was in the military, I was a Judge Advocate General, and there was a gross underrepresentation of females. There was a gross underrepresentation of minorities, and cross that—often I was it when it came to minority females. I was the only one in the office, in the building, in the group. And it’s not like I’m the only one capable or has a credential score. If the group does not recognize it as important, we all lose out. There were many times where I brought up issues and potential conflicts or brought up ideas that the rest of the group, which was all white male, did not see. And it’s not that they intentionally didn’t see it. We can all only draw from our experiences, and their experiences are not necessarily my experiences. They are looking through the lens of a male, not a female. They’re looking through the lens of a white American, not necessarily through the lens of a black American or a black immigrant—as my family is of Caribbean descent—they’re not looking through the eyes of all of the groups that they are representing.
5. Would you like to tell us a bit more about your thoughts/ comments?
I believe capturing wisdom for the world is most important. Capturing the wisdom of all people, men and women, is critical to healing and helping our current world and to guide our future generations. I love what I do, helping people to become published authors. And I’m on a mission to rob the graveyard of wisdom and bring it into the world. So that when we leave here, our words, our legacy, our experiences and knowledge live on forever—impacting generations. With books, that’s possible. We’ve all been impacted by amazing words in books written by authors that are long gone. They have used their authority to impact generations—and we all have the capacity, the ability and the responsibility to do that as well.