2018 Onyx Woman of the Year: Summer L. Lee, Esq.

Democratic State Representatives for the District 34

Summer L. Lee, Esq.

Democratic State Representatives for the District 34.

August 1, was the deadline for third party candidates to submit signatures to get on the ballot. None have submitted in her district. Summer Lee will be the ONLY candidate on the ballot in November!

Name one person you consider a great role model and tell us why.

My high school history teacher, Reginald Hickman.  He was young and educated and instead of using his education and talents to chase more lucrative career options, he chose to become an educator to share knowledge and instill pride and a sense of self particularly in young black students who would have otherwise never known their own history.

What advice would you give to any one about following their dreams?

Not to disqualify yourself.  Sometimes your passions or goals seem too big or distant, and we tend to say, “Not yet” or “when I know a little bit more I’ll try”. What you don’t realize sometimes is that there are far less qualified people achieving your goals simply because they’ll let someone else tell them no or not yet, before they tell themselves that! You can tell me no,  but I’m not telling myself no to my dreams!

What was the best thing that you have ever done that got you where you are today? 

Rejecting the urge to chase money over my calling.  There was a lot of pressure to be traditionally successful, especially with a law degree.  Being patient, even in situations that seemed beneath my pay grade.  Instead of a corporate law job, I took an organizing job working 85-100 hours a week.  But if it were not for that position, I would not be where I am today.

What would you tell your younger self? 

Get a mentor.  Maintain those relationships.  There is no reason to create new paths where there are already established ones going in my direction.

What would you do differently in your career or business?  

Act sooner.  Acknowledge and accept the potential in myself that others around me were able to see more clearly.

When did you first become aware of your purpose?  

I felt called to civil rights work even as a young girl, though I didn’t know what that could look like until very recently. I believe that purpose was affirmed very broadly while in law school when I recognized that I would rather change the system through policy and activism than to work in a courtroom.  The opportunity to become a public servant (though something I never considered before recently) seems more obvious on this side of things!

Join us as we celebrate Representative Summer L. Lee and other women of excellence on Saturday, October 6, 2018, from 6-9:00 pm at Hosanna House in Wilkinsburg, PA 15221. Click below to register.


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