I am Tonya, the daughter of Clara Mae, The daughter of Annie Mae, The daughter of Connie Mae.
I have experienced many obstacles to get to where I am today! I've overcome divorce, illness, low self-esteem, and raising a black man as a single parent. It was after my divorce my healing came when I had a Sankofa moment. I realized I needed to go back am pick up where I had left off. I was being trained for ministry and began my educational journey towards seminary and abandoned all of these efforts to become a wife and later a mother. Although I persevered, It was the awakening, determination, and courage I needed to begin to thrive! This awakening reminded me of the lineage of strong black women from whence I came. Through Womanist Ways, I will empower women of color on how to begin again - guiding them to a Sankofa moment where they "go back and get her"! The one you abandoned before you became a wife, mother, student, or executive.
Within our churches, we've been taught and heard preaching about women in the Bible. Womanist Ways will also provide opportunities for women to reclaim their agency through teachings on many of these women, where we will deconstruct the oppressive narratives and tell the whole story to provoke healing, self-awareness, and the restoration of hope.
I proud mother of one child, a ordained minister, entrepreneur and educator. I spend much of my career in the nonprofit sector and in 2017 after resigning from my position as an Executive Director, I released my first book entitled, "Navigating the Dysfunctions of Nonprofit Management". I am by nature, a motivator whether speaking to a group of women, nonprofit leaders, front line staff, government officials, Pastors, or congregations, they walk away encouraged and empowered!!
My work intersects at faith, womanist biblical interpretation, and community development. Therefore, my work centers around Sheerah, found in the Hebrew Bible in 1 Chronicles 7:24, who built three cities. Thus Womanist Ways commits to empower women through Scripture where they reimagine themselves thereby renewing their faith.
I earned both an Associates Degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible with an emphasis in Christian Leadership from Cairn University (formerly Philadelphia Biblical University), Langhorne, PA; 2005 I earned a Certificate in Faith-Based Leadership from the State of NJ Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and Kean University; a 2016 Fellow of Princeton Theological Seminary Black Theology and Leadership Institute; 2017 Conferred the degree of Master of Divinity Thesis: The Liberating Movement of God in the Lives of African American Women from New York Theological Seminary, New York, NY; 2019 conferred a Master of Sacred Theology with a focus on Womanist Biblical Interpretation from Drew University, Madison, NJ. I am currently a Doctoral student at the Drew University Theological School in the Courageous Leadership program where my focus is Women's Religious Leadership.