The wife of Pastor Shamon Smalls, Nijiama Smalls is a mother of two and a southern bell. A native of Rock Hill, SC and current resident of Northern Virginia, she has spent many years working in various leadership roles in Corporate America . In addition, she has served as an adjunct faculty member at two local post-secondary educational institutions where she taught professional development and business-related courses. Mrs. Smalls has earned a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Winthrop University and a M.S. She also holds certifications in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).
Entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment are at the crux of Mrs. Smalls’ experience and passions. Serving the community is also an important factor and she has taken great pride in being a part of several local initiatives. Mrs. Smalls is the President and Founder of the Prince William County Chapter of Mocha Moms Inc. There she is able to empower women of color to be the best moms they can be while encouraging them to maintain a balance within their lives. She is also the founder of the Prince William County Women in Business Network. She also serves as the leader of the Family Life Ministry at Zion Church Woodridge where she is able to pour into families within her local community.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
I see a kind and compassionate black woman that loves people and is working to heal her scars.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a consultant and an author.
How do you think self-love plays a role in success?
Achievement of success isn’t based on self-love. There are many people that have achieved success that lack self-love. However, a unique aspect of both success and leadership is that they each have the ability to expose the inner chaos and insecurities that live inside of a person. And there is no bigger factor that demonstrates if a person truly values themselves than how they treat others. If a person truly has embraced self-love, it will manifest itself into love and empathy for others. And that love and empathy for others will allow them to have a wider and more meaningful impact. If a person hasn’t embraced self-love, everything they do will lead to chaos, confusion and disgruntled people.
How do you think we, as women, can work together to lift each other?
I believe that unity and collaboration amongst women is a necessity for our overall success. The key to achieving this, in my opinion, is for us to begin to see each other as sisters instead of competitors. We should treat each and every woman that we come in contact with as a sister with a unique story to tell and a special gift to bring. That gift may be love, compassion, networking, constructive critique, or helping us see a situation differently. Developing a strong sisterhood is essential to destroying glass ceilings, and removing pay inequities, toxic gender stereotypes, and other barriers.
Have you had any adversities that you’ve had to overcome in order to achieve success?
The biggest adversity that I have had to overcome was myself. I brought my own toxic unlearned behavior to the table and it was self-sabotaging my success. I had to take the journey to heal in order to change my patterns.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
Healing my emotional wounds so that my husband and children gain the benefits of an emotionally healthy wife and mother.
What inspires you to keep growing?
My husband and children inspire me as well as all of the women that are doing the hard work to heal their brokenness.
Nijiama Smalls, author of The Black Girl’s Guide to Healing Emotional Wounds