Bozoma St. John, a Brand and Marketing Executive, with a decade long career with Beats by Dre until they were acquired by Apple. She goes one on one with HerFaith sharing her faith, motivation, and challenge on how we can all be better.
herFaith: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Bozoma St. John: I’m Bozoma St. John, I’m the head of Marketing at Apple by day and mother to 8 year old daughter Lael.
(since this interview, Bozoma St. John has now obtained a new title as Uber’s Chief Brand Officer)
What is your definition of faith and spirituality?
St. John: It’s about the connection to a higher being or higher power. One that you cannot see or feel. It’s about what moves you, what inspires you, and what makes you want to do greater in the world than just yourself and immediate surrounding. So Faith is sort of the thing that motivates; the thing that is calling you, we often times call that our inner voice or our guy. But to me it’s God speaking and God moving, it’s also most of the time things I have no control over where good or bad. My faith is what propelled me to then act on that feeling.
What are some of the trials and tribulations in your life that made you want to clinch onto your faith?
St. John: The amazing thing is faith works both in the positive and negative times. We often look at faith to sustain us in the negative times, when we are going through something and instantly think that “Oh I have to cling onto my faith to get me through”. I sometimes feel the opposite is even truer like the good things, the amazing things, things you can’t even believe happened. All of that is faith too, in those times we have to cling onto our faith as well. For me it’s definitely both of those I can select specific points in my life, the positive is my current position right now at my job the fact that three months after my husband passed away. Which at that most was and still is the most tramatic events in my life, my faith definitely brought me through that. I was also able to build up the strength to move from the city that was my home which was New York, being able to move across the country to LA with my daughter and secure a job that was very fulfilling, exciting and satisfying. You can always get lost when going through sadness, but I found solace in my work, then three months later the company was acquired by Apple. Now I feel that my faith allowed me to weather all those changes, from the lowest depth to the highest mountain-top. It’s about being able to be connected to God and being able to surface all of the things that I know from teachings along the way, to help sustain me even at my heights. Because that also is just as important even when you are at your lowest step.
What advice can you give other women based on your belief?
St. John: Well that’s an interesting question; because I believe faith and spirituality are both very personal. That it’s hard to give someone else advise based on my experience. The only thing I would say is that we need to cultivate our beliefs and it’s not about outside sources, like your pastor or spiritual leader can tell you. Although I think it’s important to be apart of a community that helps you stir up your faith and work on your own individual spirituality. Practice, strengthen and develop in your faith walk.
If you had to back in time, would you change what you went through?
St. John: That’s a tough question, cause I wouldn’t be sitting where I am at right now had it not been for what I went through. So I’m thankful that I’m able to sit now and be at peace within the space I’m in right now, given the trials and heights. So to answer the question, Yes I would go through it all over again.
How would you say your faith helped you within the entertainment industry?
St. John: My faith has kept me steady, my faith has kept me humble and it keeps me still. A lot of things can be blown out of proportion, things are not as they appear. Faith has help give me intuition, knowing I can trust the spirit within me. Telling me which direction to go in and who to trust. It’s almost like a secret weapon, because you are always very centered in your faith there are no lies. I don’t believe the hype, so it’s always very helpful.
What is the biggest way in which you see women helping women reach empowerment?
St. John: It think it is in the small ways, some may say “oh we got to give women jobs and opportunities” all of that is good of course. But I definitely feel it’s in the small things like an encouraging note, in prayer, in a phone call, a simple check-up. It’s things like that, that we all need. IF you are in a high position, small position or starting over, whatever the case we all need encouragement. It’s very helpful to know you have people cheering for you. I always say we need to pick two people outside of your mother, sister, brother or family member. Maybe a colleague or peer, asking them through phone or text “What can I pray for you today”? It’s so helpful, I have women who do it for me and women I do it for. For me that’s very empowering.