Soulful Sunday is a weekly dose of inspiration from busy Chicago women who still manage to stay balanced, no matter what their career—or life—throws their way.
Soul Sister: Jackie Lomax, Founder and Executive Director of Girls 4 Science.
Lomax is the founder and executive director of Girls 4 Science, Chicago’s only science initiative for 10 to 18 year-old girls interested in learning more about STEM industries (science, technology, economics, and math). In a classic case of personal experience spurring innovation, the brainiac started G4S because her daughter had an interest in these fields, but there was a lack of available science programs for minority girls. G4S now works to provide hands-on experience and professional mentoring from leading Chicago businesswomen to girls of minority descent.
Currently, the program operates a quarterly, six-week Saturday schedule at local schools and community colleges across the Chicago area and is completely free to any girl interested. Since its inception in 2009, more than 500 girls have participated in G4S STEM programs and over 95 percent of them move on to study STEM fields after graduation—how's that for some serious girl power!
How she unwinds: "Relaxation is an essential part of achieving the balance you need to enjoy life to the fullest; the pace of everyday modern living is tempered by being able to wind down and take a break. Everyone has their own way of winding down and, for me, I thrive on the use of prayer and meditation. The privilege of being able to close my eyes and relax seems to take me to another world, and it is there I can began the mental healing process of the everyday wear-down. I close my eyes and, at the same, focus on taking deep breaths—each one deeper than the next—until I’m totally relaxed. There is also a spiritual aspect to my winding down. I try to commune with the creator every chance I get, because it is he who guides my very existence."
Balance tip: "I consider myself a juggernaut—and I use this word sparingly. I say this because I believe there is some overwhelming force that allows me to do what I do on a daily basis. To solely manage and maintain the affairs of a non-for-profit is quite a handful. I am a single mother of two beautiful daughters, and they require an equal amount of time, as does my work occupation. On my busiest day I can be found simultaneously balancing a conference call and conducting business, while making sure my daughters are fully taken care of. Like me, many women live the reality of having more than one occupation, so it is important to ensure your professional life is meaningful enough to be worth balancing with family life."