Faith, Football & Philanthropy: Halleemah Nash Has Crafted A Career Out Of The Things She Cares About Most
“I Want Her Job” is a new column written by Kimberly Wilson that will profile women of color who are doing cool jobs and running interesting businesses. Is there someone you think we should include? Email the business editor, Tonya Garcia, at email@example.com.
Having grown up Compton, Halleemah Nash sought opportunity on the East Coast, enrolling Howard University in Washington D.C. and then later at the Duke University School of Divinity for graduate school. Her career has led her to positions at the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Housing Authority and the Fannie Lou Hamer Project.
In 2010, seeing a need to merge her passion in sports with philanthropy Nash launched Legacy Venture Consulting, a philanthropy consulting firm for athletes and entertainers interested in enhancing their community presence. Her clients have included: Common (The CommonGround Foundation), Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat), Lance Gross (Tyler Perry Show) and Malaysia Pargo (Basketball Wives).
Most recently, she was appointed the new CEO to NFL player Israel Idonije’s Foundation. In this role, she oversees educational and recreational programming for underserved youth annually and enhance international humanitarian efforts during the NFL off-season.
I had the opportunity to meet Nash on an intimate trip to Dakar, Senegal last month for Give1 Project’s Women’s Empowerment Summit. Besides working with others on their philanthropic efforts, she’s making her own dreams come true. For instance, last year her birthday goal was to fully fund the building of a school in Kenya. In just a matter of days with 33 friends in her 33rd year she did just that.
Nash also just released the self-published work Endless Summer: Inspirations and Reflections for the Journey to Life Balance, sharing her a personal collection of reflections, devotionals, and best practices to inspire individuals across boundaries to live balanced lives.
In this interview with MadameNoire, Nash talks about her inspiration for writing Endless Summer, the challenges of practicing her faith as a woman in the sports industry and what’s next on her journey.
MadameNoire: Let’s talk about your book. What inspired Endless Summer: Inspirations and Reflections for the Journey to Life Balance?
Halleemah Nash: This past winter was brutal in Chicago where I currently reside. And during this winter, I spent some time reflecting on the idea of balance and not living in extremes. I am a California child, so I live for summer. During winter months, I experience lulls in productivity, I rarely go outdoors, I am extremely non-social, and I find myself sad in gloomy.
My gravitation toward summer became a perfect analogy for what I’d hoped to accomplish in my quest toward a greater equilibrium in my life. My search for balance was a search for consistent joy and gratefulness, along with an endless season of light. Light, joy, and gratefulness were all available to me in the winter just as they were in the summer but the discomfort of winters can make it difficult to see this clearly.
This book is a collection of reflections that I wrote on my journey toward an endless summer. In other words, this book is a journaling and recap of critical lessons I learned in my quest for balance. I wanted to share these lessons and ideas to others.
MN: What do you hope people take from the book?
HN: I hope to motivate people to build a loving relationship with uncomfortable periods of time. There is something great that can be produced in the midst of discomfort. It is in fire where gold is purified, and in pressure where coals become diamonds. And interestingly enough, it was in the winter, my most uncomfortable season, where I found my balance.
I definitely don’t wear the crown of a balanced life. We are all growing and balance is something I am constantly working toward. But, for the first time, the fierce winter was not as debilitating to me. These reflections were my intentional exercise in producing and embodying light along the backdrop of what has historically been an undesirable season.
I pray that readers find encouragement through this book and that they too, will discover more consistent seasons of balance by facing uncomfortable seasons with a different perspective.