Today we’d like to introduce you to Dejah Griffith.
Hi Dejah, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
As we can all agree, covid was a time period that no one knew what was going on, and we were all just trying to figure it out. For me, covid opened my eyes and made me realize I am not happy and honestly haven’t been happy for some years. At the time of covid first circulating, I was attending Prairie View A&M University in Texas as a biology major while also working as the manager for the men’s basketball team. I knew I was going to be the head orthopedic surgeon for a sports team, and I had been knowing that since I was 8 years old, or at least thought that’s what I wanted to do. When covid forced everyone on shut down and being at home for months on emergency restrictions, I had time to think to myself, “Is being in medicine what I really want to do? Like can I get up every day and truly be happy about going to work?”. Being a sports manager for only one year was the first time I did something outside of medicine, and I fell involve with it. I was actually really good at it and what’s crazy is that I never imagined doing something outside of medicine. I had so many questions about my life and my purpose, I knew needed to put myself in a new environment to figure things out. So, I made the risky decision to put school on hold and move back to Ohio. What most people don’t know about me is that I was born in Toledo, Ohio but was raised in Houston, Texas. Being back in Toledo but now as an adult redirected me and gave me a new type of motivation that I’ve been searching for… Life in Toledo was going good after living here for a year. I told God I was ready to get back in school, but sadly it was not to finish out my dreams of being in medicine. I love science and medicine, and I always will, but I was finding it to not be fun anymore. I thought back how I felt working on the business side in sports so decided to explore business. So, with only one year to finish my biology degree, I made the decision to change my major to business and to attend UToledo (the university of Toledo). Because this was something that was new for me, I still was not all the way sure and starting doubting if I made the right decision or not. I had a conversation one day with God and simply just told him everything I am doing feels right, but if I am going to start back over and walk away from everything I already started, I need this journey to be worth it. And that’s how I started my business, The Lean on Me Foundation.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
When people ask me how has the road been so far, I always say, “owning a business is NOT for the weak in any shape form, or fashion!”. Yes, being a proud business owner is an amazing accomplishment but let’s be honest at the same time. When I started my business, I was planning my very first event which was an empowerment brunch for women while I was opening a new restaurant for my job in Michigan that demanded so many hours from me. I tried to find a way to balance everything, but I simply could not. I legit planned everything for my first event in one month! The process was semi-smooth and fine right up until two weeks before the event. Two weeks before the event, everything that could’ve went wrong did! And then some! I had problems with production for somethings, people canceling last minute, and so much more. It was also challenging for me because I was putting everything together myself. No team, no nothing. Just me. At one point, I was crying to my friends, saying I don’t want to do this anymore and was ready to throw in the towel. But I can truly say I learned a lot. I learned how to better go about planning things, and I learned to have a team so that I won’t feel overwhelmed trying to do things on my own.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My name is Dejah Griffith, and I am a Toledo native. I was born in Toledo, Ohio but was raised in Houston, Texas. I do consider Texas to be more of my home because it has mainly shaped me into who I am today. Before I moved back from Ohio, I was attending THE Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas which is an HBCU outside of Houston. I am currently attending The University of Toledo as a business major while currently working at the Real Seafood Company Downtown on the docks as a server, bartender, and supervisor. So far in life, I am most proud of who I am today and my foundation.
Right now, I am operating The Lean on Me Foundation as a small business for the first year, so I can learn and grow before I continue the process to fully operate as a nonprofit. The Lean on Me Foundation is foundation in which we believe that by coming together in unison, we can improve one’s quality of life for the greater good of our community by creating memories through life-changing events, community service, shared resources/networking. The title itself and the mission statement came when I randomly started singing the song lean on me: “Lean on me when you are strong, and I will be your friend. I will help you carry on”. I believe that sometimes in life, it takes more than one person to get certain things done whether it’s a job performance or achieving a goal. Sometimes, it takes a village, and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with needing extra help. What sets me apart from everyone is that everything I do for the community, everyone is included! The Lean on Me Foundation includes all races, genders, and ages! Everyone is welcomed and will feel apart no matter individual differences.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
The Lean on Me Foundation is always looking for ways to improve our community and would love to partner/collaborate with other organizations and businesses in the area. Those wanting to reach out can email firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions, comments, and/or concerns.
- Website: theleanonmefoundation.org
- Instagram: @theleanonmefoundation_
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theleanonmefoundation