Meet Dr. Althea
Simpson, one of our 2019 Role Models. Dr. Simpson is the Director of
Discipleship at Franklin Community Church. She is dedicated to increasing
awareness about human trafficking and does so by hosting symposiums and
workshops in the community. Dr. Simpson earned a law degree at Syracuse
University College of Law, and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry
degrees from Ecumenical Theological Seminary. She is being recognized for
her outstanding professional accomplishments and demonstrated leadership
throughout her career at this year’s Role Model Dinner.
Here are some
clips from her recent conversation with AFG.
Alternatives For Girls (AFG): For many of the
women we serve, AFG provides a support system to help them make positive choices.
Was there anyone in your life or career who has helped guide you in making
Dr. Althea Simpson: There are so many people! My
mom was a master in helping me make decisions. Not always the way you wanted to
hear it, but she always had great information and guidance. Sometimes she was
stern, sometimes she was playful, but she always was there to give me guidance.
My aunts and uncles have also been amazing people. They are always there to
freely share and give an opinion. Sometimes you have people in your life who don’t
want to be involved someone making a bad decision, so they don’t give their
input. I wasn’t raised by those people! Having people that were honest,
AFG: Can you tell us about some of the challenges
you’ve faced throughout your career?
Simpson: My first career was law, I was a lawyer
practicing full time for a number of years. I went back to seminary and went
back to school in the midst of that. The challenge has always been balance.
Balancing work with family, your community, and your commitments. Finding the
time to be both passionate and present, has always been difficult. And I still
have the challenge now. It’s one thing to be there, it’s another to be present,
in all places, and give something that is appropriate and necessary, without
burning yourself out and driving yourself crazy. We as women try to be Superwoman
sometimes. We have to realize that quality of life demands balance. For me it’s
a constant struggle.
AFG: Who are your role models?
Simpson: One of my elementary teachers, Maddie
Mitchell. She was a great inspiration to me. She was a Christian women, a wife,
a mom, but she always had time for us as her students. She was a great
influence. I’ve seen her since I’ve grown and she’s still doing her thing.
She’s definitely one of my role models. There are also so many women that I see
out in the world who make an impact in the workplace and at home and in the
community. I see role models everywhere. When I think about role models, I think
about people who love you for what you can give. Some people are my role models
for one thing, but not my role model for others. So I can say, I love her
persistence. I want to be like that. I have so many role models!
AFG: Which of your accomplishments are you the
Simpson: Finishing my dissertation. That was
huge step in getting my doctorate and it was a big achievement for me. Doing
the research, coming up with a theory, doing the project, getting to know my
topic. I learned many new skills and new techniques. Putting it all together, presenting,
getting my hood; it was a thrill. Getting my dissertation bound and put in a
library that was a big thrill. I have lots of others. I have a lot of things to
be grateful for. But I do remember the thrill of that.
AFG: What advice would you give to the young women that AFG serves?
Simpson: I would say that the importance of a
good education cannot be underestimated. You can take care of yourself by
getting the best education you can. Everything does not come easy. It is very
arrogant to think you can look at something and understand it right away. There
is no reason to be afraid to ask for help.
In the midst of striving for education, make sure that you
learn about the world around you. Make sure that you make good choices and that
those you let into your life are people who are positive for you, not negative.
AFG: Why do you believe that it is important to
empower girls and young women?
Simpson: Women are the natural nurturers. Many
times, we are so busy taking care of others that we don’t take care of
ourselves. I think it is so important that we empower girls and women with the
ability to see themselves and the value of themselves, so that in the midst of
nurturing others around them they take the steps to nurture and advance
themselves. And I think that’s something that you are taught and learn to do.
Otherwise, the instinct is just to care, give, care, give, until there is
nothing left. The older I get, the more I learn that you can’t take care of
anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. And also, nurtured self-love, that
is healthy and positive, helps you to see that you can do anything. I think we
need more of that “We can do anything” attitude between girls and women. Often
we are limited and don’t reach beyond what we think we can accomplish. We tend
to not have a positive push to say you can do it.
The 2019 Role Model Dinner will be held on Wednesday,
March 27th at MGM Grand Detroit. Click
here to learn more or to purchase a ticket.