Wednesday, April 6, 2011
House on A Hill Interviews Genma Stringer Holmes
House: Genma, you are beautiful inside and out. My grandmother used to tell us "Pretty is as pretty does". What lessons were you given to balance your overall disposition?
Don't read your press. Life is short and one must live it to the fullest. I am a hard worker by nature. I am learning to slow down...some. Getting up at 4:30am instead of 4:00 is not so bad after all! All kidding aside, I kill roaches for a living. The job is not glamorous at all, I just make it look that way!
House: You often speak of your family's influence on you growing up, what was your most important or memorable message from their battles and plights?
My grandfather was the most humble person I knew. But he was very proud as well. He was humble about being influential and well known but proud of being able to take care of his family and provide my mother and aunts and uncles with an education against all odds. He only had a third grade education but was the most intellectual person I knew. Those opposites taught me that your weakness can be your greatest strengths in life.
House: Entrepreneur, model, writer - I am interested in learning more about your passions! Madame C.J. Walker recipient, safe and effective pesticides, and socially conscious, please share with us your motivation.
I am motivated about being able to help and serve others. Deposit some good in someone's life and watch how it blooms in your back yard!
House: You are also a parent. Describe how you instill value of life and love into your little people.
My little people are not so little anymore. My oldest is 24. My baby boy is 20 and my daughter, the youngest, is 19. Now that my babies are not babies anymore, I am in a different phase of my life. Last year, was my first year not homeschooling and I literally was at a lost with myself because I was so use to that structure that teaching gave me. It took me a minute to find myself after the kids were gone. I realize that my babies are now teaching me more about life. I have taught my kids the exact same things that were instilled in me; hard work never killed anyone, accept no one 'no' to your dreams and goals, treat the 'little' people like kings because they are and it is the right thing to do, and always do what is right when no one is looking. I don't expect them to be perfect because no one is perfect but I feel strongly they were taught right from wrong. I talk less and listen more and pray intently for them. Wisdom does come with age, I must admit. By the time my youngest left home, I was a different mother for sure.
House:Genuine, smart and sassy, you never back down from a challenge - nor do you flinch when it is time to do or say what is right, how do you stand firm with courage?
I believe that speaking truthfully to power with respect. Recently, I share my perspective to a CEO about an event that had very few minorities in attendance. The room grew quite because I spoke up and shared that if you wanted more people of color to be his team would have made sure they were present. He did not take my observations or boldness very well. But what I noticed a few weeks later that the next event included more people of color in his marketing. Now, he is still pissed that I shared my point of view but when he starts to count his money, a year or two from now, he will be just find and thank for me for my honesty. I spoke to truth to power and in love. I didn't attack him or his company. The lesson here is sometimes you have to just say it. That boldness has been tempered with grace over the last few years. I did not always have grace with my courage.
House: What does Black History mean to you?
Black History is American History. Black History is everyone's history. We all reap from learning from individuals that have made this country great. I try not to regulate American History to one month out of the year. I believe in celebrating the contributions made thousands every day of the year. I teach my history, my Black History, which is American History every day. I speak often about my grandfather. He marched, he protested, he served, he gave...not in February but every day of his life until he took his last breath. When we don't know our history, we suffer as a people, a nation, as a country. The further we get away from our history; we are running from the lessons that were learned from that history. Lately our country is going in a direction that reminds me we are forgetting American History and substituting it for a type of history that all Americans know is not the country’s history. That is dangerous grounds for everyone to be walking on.
House: How does Genma move forward? What do you see for yourself and your projects in 6 months?
I have come full circle in my life. I am back working in the film industry behind the scenes. I have been working on a movie project for the last several months with good friend and film producer, Curt Hahn of Film House. I filmed all winter with him so that kept me busy. As for the pest control industry, I want to help take the hype out of the bedbug frenzy and making sure more education on prevention is what people are learning. There is too much fear and not enough education. That is high on my priority list list. And I am also working to give two minority scholarships to students interested in the pest control industry in 2011. Several of us who were very active in Minorities in Pest Management from 2005-2010 have gone back to the drawing board and looking to put the organization with a foundation that focuses on scholarships. I have also am startling a PAC as well. Politicians pay closer attention to issues when PCAs are addressing the issues. Sad but true. They serve you better for some reason!
I am blessed. God has been good to me. I want to make sure I am giving back. I want flowers blooming in my yard from the seeds I have planted in others!
(Thank you Houseonahill.org my Twitter Buddy)