Grab a cup of tea, read on, and learn from this wise, inspiring woman.
Samantha Janeen is an up-and-coming media personality and the CEO / President of “Unfyltered, focusing on the WHY instead of the I." Before deciding to start up her own company, she previously managed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where she aided the growth and engagement of Hispanic members and Hispanic owned businesses within the Greater Lehigh Valley area. Graduating from Kutztown University with a BS in Electronic Media, and being the first in her family to graduate from a four-year institution, Samantha Janeen has grown a deep-rooted passion for culture, Latino rights, minority teen youth and women's empowerment. At the age of twenty-four Samantha was nominated, vetted, and appointed by secretary of state, Pedro Cortés, to serve as a commissioner on the PA Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. Samantha has facilitated discussions across the Lehigh Valley centered around diversity, social justice, and motivation, and is a board member of the Martin Luther King Coretta Scott King Memorial Project Inc.
What does the word empower mean to you?
In my opinion, “to empower” means giving up some of your own power and giving it to someone else. Being both vulnerable and strong enough to show your ugly, to prove there is beauty.
In what way(s) do you empower yourself? Others?
I am constantly challenging myself, pushing the envelope. Yesterday I ran for six minutes, today I am going to run for six minutes and thirty seconds! I know it sounds so small, but steps forward are better than remaining stagnant. To empower others I hold them accountable for the things they say they are going to do and challenge them to take it to the next level. Together we can look back and say to each other, wow look at how far we’ve come. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you."
What is your favorite way to be mindful?
I am extremely introspective, I constantly analyze myself. When I am having one conversation out loud, there are usually two more going on inside my head. I am taking notes, evaluating body language, listening to the tone of your voice, watching your mannerisms, all in efforts of trying to figure out how you operate. I find meditation and reflection to be very useful when it comes to keeping me sane. Mediation allows me to be more observant in this ever-changing world, while reflections allow me to put myself under a microscope and evaluate how I could possibly be portrayed by others. Did I effectively communicate with this individual? How can I be better? I usually start my days with meditation and end with reflections.
Who are your role models?
I have SO many role models, mainly because I am so easily inspired, however I will save you the trouble and zone in on my top two: Of course, my mama & my wela (grandmother). My mother is the most compassionate being to touch this earth. Slow to anger, quick to help, her patience makes me uneasy sometimes, its almost unnatural! She worked a full-time job, was a single mother of three, all while acquiring her associates degree in accounting, and busted her butt to keep us out of public schools to ensure we had a good education. She did it all with a smile. I recently asked my mother, “So now that we’ve all left the nest, how do you think you did with us? Did your kids come out the way you expected?” To which she replied, "I think I outdid myself!" Growing up if we asked mom to buy us something, her response would be, “Well how hungry are you?” She taught me to work for what I want! My wela spoke with her actions, although I have no memory of her telling me she loved me — she didn’t need to say it. She took a one-way flight to NY from Puerto Rico with nothing but the clothes on her back, and the kids on her hips… and then proceeded to hitch a ride to Philadelphia and that is how my family ended up in Philly. I look at these two women in awe and think to myself… there is no way I can NOT be successful. You don’t think wela was scared when she came to PA? What about my mom when she could barely pay our tuition? There is no excuse as to why I cannot be who I want to be. When pursing my dreams and aspirations, my main source of motivation comes from these two women. Mom — three story, wrap-around porch, with land and a body of water, I am on it. Wela — Te extraño, y espero que estés orgulloso de mi.
What’s your superpower?
I have this crazy ability of making people feel important. When I am having a conversation with someone, I try to be completely present. I try not to check my phone, I am actively listening, asking questions about them and their personal goals, their passions and hobbies; I think it all boils down to respecting people's time. Our time is so precious, and I make a conscious effort to let you know I appreciate it.
What advice would you give to your younger self/someone just starting out?
DON'T underestimate yourself, and do not settle for mediocrity because there are not enough “greats” in this world! There is something that was instilled in you and only you, therefore YOU are the only person who will be able to understand it. When people say you are crazy for conjuring up such a ridiculous idea, it is because that message is not meant for them to understand. So forget what the outsiders say, and listen to the inside voice; you are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul.
How do you deal with fear?
I embrace it head on, I let it run through my veins, I let it pump through my heart. I think fear is nothing but an extreme degree of excitement. If we switch our mindset from being afraid to being OVERLY EXCITED, the world would be a lot more fun and adventurous! Like the great Nina Simone says, "freedom means living with no fear." She was my inspiration to get my first tattoo on my left inner wrist which simply states, “No Fear”.
What does your future self want you to remember/know?
My dearest future self… do not forget to start everyday with a grateful and humble heart. We (my future self and I) have received too many blessings, allowing it to go unappreciated would be a crime. We understand everything can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye, therefore we must give as much as we receive. Be Humble, Stay Grounded.
What is your morning ritual?
I LOVE MY MORNINGS! Every morning is my opportunity to take complete control and decide: TODAY is going to be a GOOD DAY! I wake up at 5AM, head to the gym around 5:45, leave around 7AM. Go back home and drink my vitamins, water, shot of apple cider, and have my protein shake. Make breakfast, go over my day in my calendar, mediate for about 10-15 mins, shower, and get ready to tackle my day around 9:30AM. As a brand new entrepreneur I found my days to be a lot more productive if I have an “anchor,” something that will be done the same way everyday.
What books were life changing for you?
I am currently reading a book called The Kyballion: Hermetic Philosophy, shout out to Mr. Walter Beach III for letting me borrow! I would highly recommend to anyone who is doing some soul searching. This book is changing the way I view the world, my purpose and my existence here on earth. It is a heavy read, and honestly I read each page about two times, but it is extremely insightful and thought-provoking.
What are you working on now that thrills you the most?
I recently left my job to pursue my dream of owning my own media company. Right now we are in the beginning stages of laying down the foundation of the business, and I get so excited thinking about how GREAT it WILL be! What truly excites me about this project is not the company itself, but the idea of creation. Taking a concept and developing it into a product, giving it a personality and bringing it to life; is this what it feels like to be a mother?
“To be great, is to be misunderstood” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
What would others be surprised to know about you?
I come off as being a people person… but I truly enjoy being alone.
Thank you, Samantha, for taking the time to share your wisdom with us!
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One Mindful Tribe: Empowered Women’s Leadership for Business and Home
Through my mindfulness work with women — moms in the trenches with little ones, leaders in the business world, artists honing their crafts — I have come to appreciate that we all share similar struggles regardless of life phase or occupation. We all profit from mindful awareness, learning to be authentic, empowering ourselves and our voices, and uncovering the power to lead. Whether managing a corporation or a household, mindful leadership teaches us how to be the best possible version of ourselves — benefitting our families, our businesses, and the world.