(Carlos Cintron / Scott Spitzer Photography)

Uneeka Jay: Plugged In and Powered Up

April 21, 2017
In order to operate at your personal best – and your most professionally effective – you have to be plugged in and fully charged. This was the message that Uneeka Jay delivered to over 250 women at the recent Women in Nonprofit Leadership Conference, focusing on the PowHER of Working Together. Check out a recording of Uneeka's presentation below or at the Fels Institute's YouTube Page.

Unfortunately, people don’t work like cell phones do. While a smart phone with 15% charge will still notify you of your boss’s midnight emails, show you pictures of your college roommate’s new obscure pet, and let you snooze your alarm for just 9 more minutes in the morning, a person who is running at 15% will miss important messages, lose track of friends, and find getting out of bed each day a grueling task. Prioritizing your needs and ensuring that you are fully charged is not only crucial to living your personal best life, but also to positively contributing to your organization and those around you.

How does one actually make sure that they are running at full capacity with so many variables involved? While Arianna Huffington focuses on the key variable of sleep, Uneeka emphasizes the importance of understanding what is truly important to you and making authentic connections with your network.

Uneeka’s story is that of a young woman pulling herself out of poverty through sheer force of will and hard work. She worked so hard that she climbed the corporate ladder and eventually exhausted herself, ending up entirely depleted. Despite achieving material and professional success, she was left unsatisfied and struggling with failed marriages and a child coping with opioid addiction. Uneeka came to understand that she wasn’t plugged in to the things that were truly important to her, the things that actually made her content and happy. So she left behind a job that on the surfaced seemed like it should bring satisfaction and found what would actually allow her to live and contribute fully. In leaving a seemingly-powerful job, she found that she wielded more power than ever before.

When individuals do everything that they “should” do, relationships become solely transactional and the human connections that provide support and an infrastructure to build upon are lost. If you can authentically connect to those around you, you will have the energy needed to be happy, whole, and focused. Otherwise, the organization, your productivity, your colleagues, your family, and individuals whom you serve will all suffer. If you are fully connecting to colleagues in a space that provides you fulfillment, you will have the capacity to see what your organization really needs and find ways to deliver that and more.

Uneeka finds that her story and message resonate with many. Too often, people are low on charge and only able to give 50% to their organizations. But when your goal is to serve the public, and you want to give the populations you support your best effort, you have to make sure that you are plugged in and fully charged.

Check out the entirety of Uneeka’s presentation below. You can also watch the entire Women in Nonprofit Leadership Conference program on the Fels Institute of Government YouTube page.

If you are having trouble seeing the video above, click here.

Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu