Women of Wednesday: Deina Diaz on Empowering Women and Juggling Life

WOMEN OF WEDNESDAY is a micro-interview series featuring women of color in various industries and walks of life, focused on highlighting their pursuits and making it easy for readers to support their endeavors. If you would like to be featured, please submit your answers to the below five questions here.

Deina Diaz, Blogger and Group Facilitator, North Carolina

1. Tell us about the work you’re doing and why it’s important.

I graduated from NCSU with a Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2014. About a year later I was talking to my mentor about my desire to create content for women about sex education and about how to build healthy relationships. My mentor, Dr. Rupert Nacoste, is a psychology professor at NCSU but he is also a trained group facilitator, which is one of the many reasons why his classes are always so empowering. I had never heard of group facilitation but it was exactly what I was looking for so I asked him if he could train me to be a group facilitator myself.

Group facilitation is a form of group therapy and a skilled facilitator can help their group find healing or help them have positive interactions with one another. I fell in love with this work and last year in 2017 I got the chance to be one of the group facilitators for an art exhibit that was being showcased at the NC Museum of Science called “Race: Are We So Different?”. In those talks I facilitated conversations about race and helped people share their experiences and traumas that they had in relation to racism and discrimination. It was hard but very rewarding work; I felt like I was really making a difference, especially with all the racial tensions rising up in our country at this moment. After the exhibit ended I had nowhere to go to continue my work and that is when I decided to start my blog, The Sprouting Sunflower, as way to use my facilitation skills for the empowerment of women. The title of my blog comes from the view that we all have different paths in life and that we grow at different paces. However, we are all beautiful in our own unique way, just like flowers. I want to be able to grow a platform where we can have the difficult conversations about the things that matter to us women. With the Times Up and #MeToo movement sweeping the nation in 2017 I believe that now more than ever all women need to stick together and encourage one another to be their very best. Also we need to support one another to raise our voices, especially in the face of sexual harassment. Women are so strong and united we are even stronger. So if we can learn to put our differences aside and come together I believe we have the power to make real, long-lasting changes here in the US and in the world. Also I feel like as a woman of color that we need to start taking more leadership positions so that we can start paving the way for minorities to see themselves represented across the board. I believe that is my life’s purpose; to be a vessel of positivity and encouragement for women.

2. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in pursuing the work that’s important to you?

One of the biggest challenges has definitely been growing my platform on social media. With Instagram’s new algorithm is it harder for small bloggers to get noticed. So for somebody like me who is starting small and that doesn’t have the financial resources to promote like other influencers, it can be really discouraging at times.

3. What do you need in order to continue your work in the way you envision?

This is a really good question that most of the time nobody cares to ask. I’m sure that my needs are going to be very similar to all influencers, activists, or bloggers out there that are trying to make it in this age of social media. What I need the most is a growing platform and the financial resources to be able to spend the time I need on the projects for my blog. My hope is for me to one day be able to make this my full-time job so that I can be able to dedicate the time and energy needed for my ideas to flourish. Right now I’m spending as much time as I can while I juggle two jobs and trying to continue my education. I love what I am doing so that is why I don’t mind the extra work. It is my passion that has given me the drive to succeed.

4. Where and how can we support you to make #3 happen?

People who like my work or feel inspired in any way can share my blog posts from my website as a way to support me. Also by following me on Instagram and liking and resharing my posts. I’m always looking to support other women who post inspirational content by resharing their posts or showcasing them on my #womenwhoinspire shoutouts. I really do appreciate the support from everybody who is following me already and who have messaged me with positive/constructive feedback. And I just want to thank everybody out there who reads and enjoys my content.

5. What is your favorite quote?

I have to share my two favorite quotes by Maya Angelou, who has been one of my biggest inspirations in life.

“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.”

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”