I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Janice Armstrong (Dr. Jai) to discuss her life as a wife, mother, author (From the Street to the Executive Suite) and business woman and how she is able to balance so many work hats.
Adrian: Good Evening Dr. Jai it is a pleasure having you on the call.
Dr. Jai: Thank you for having me. It is my pleasure.
Adrian: Let’s jump right into it. Please tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
Dr. Jai: My name is Dr. Janice Armstrong. I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. (Go Ravens!) I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland. I eventually moved to the Largo, MD area and basically, I have been staying in the DMV. I am currently a Program Analyst in Washington D.C. and a part-time professor at Prince George Community College. That is my work life; in my personal life I am married to my husband Jay, we have two children a boy Jason and a girl Jaden.
Adrian: Man, sounds like you are a busy woman. How do you balance your work life and your family life?
Dr. Jai: Well it started back when I was in undergrad. I was so actively involved with everything (residence assistant program, Delta Sigma Theta, SGA, etc…) I would not say I had a nervous breakdown but I remember being dead tired. I really could not function, so my Dr. told me to stay home because I was totally exhausted. I told myself that I would never do that again. I started scheduling everything that I did. Especially my leisure time, because I saw it getting less and less. When I went for my masters and my doctrine I did not do school work on the weekends. That was my family time. So I made sure to make them a priority first, and then scheduled everything else around them. Now that I am done with school I do not have to worry about that. My family always came first.
Adrian: That is great! I am taking notes. (Laughing) Now, does your husband understand your schedule?
Dr. Jai: He is very understanding of my schedule. He is 100% for everything that I am doing. It is a blessing to have that as well. He tells me to “stay on my grind!” We met when I was pursuing my master’s degree, so he’s seen me trying to progress in my career. So when I have questions, he is always there for me or if I just need a shoulder to cry on, he is always there. (Laughing)
Adrian: How did you and your husband met?
Dr. Jai: Believe it or not we met online. Woohoo! Black Planet.
Adrian: Ok I have to stop you right there, Black Planet? I remember black planet I did not think that would have been a place to meet a nice man/woman. So you have to give us the story behind this one.
Dr. Jai: We met in 2000 on Black Planet. I sent him a message telling him I liked his picture. I thought he had a very distinguished look. He was suited up, so I thought that was very cool. So we chatted back and forth over a few months. Next thing you know he asked me out on a date to see a gospel group that he was managing.; I said cool and we have been joined at the hip ever since. We have been together for 12 years and married for 10 years.
Adrian: I have never heard of someone finding their mate on Black Planet. I guess you can find love anywhere.
Dr. Jai: Actually there are a few of us. (Laughing)
Adrian: Woooww the interview is over; there is no need for any more questions. (Laughing) Ok I’m back, what is most important to you in a relationship?
Dr. Jai: Trust, Honesty and friendship. I think people should remember how they meet and remain friends. Don’t ever loose that. I think that after people get married they have a false sense of what marriage is supposed to be like. Of course you should be more in love as the relationship grows but everything is based on that bond of friendship that you have built. That is what will keep your relationship going.
Adrian: I love hearing that. Anytime I can get advice about that next step, I am always taking in that information. I know I only want to do it once when I decide to do it. Now let’s get to this book that you wrote, From the Street to the Executive Suite. How did you come up with it?
Dr. Jai: It actually started with my doctoral project. I have an applied degree; so we had to show the concept would work in the community, corporate world, etc… Since I teach psychology I always wanted to be relatable to my students. Let’s be honest unless you are really in psychology, it could be very boring. So when I started writing this book about leadership, me being a city girl, I felt like people in the inner city were not being reached on the subject of leadership.
Adrian: What is your target audience that you are trying to reach?
Dr. Jai: It is for all ages. I am taking my life experiences and breaking them down in laymen terms; so whether you are 15 or 51, this book is for you. I have teenagers that have the book and I have executives that have the book.
Adrian: How long did it take you to write the book?
Dr. Jai: The book started back in 2009 when I started my graduate program but I did the bulk of the work was from April 2012-July 2012. So about 4 months.
Adrian: I wish I could say the same thing. (Laughing) Now where can people purchase your book?
Dr. Jai: It is available on Amazon.com, LuLu.com, itunes bookstore, and Barnes and Noble.com, however if they would like an autographed copy they should go to my website LiHkleaders.com
Adrian: Ok, tell us a little bit about your website?
Dr. Jai: I am a certified leadership coach. I provide services to help build people their career. I help them set goals for their lives. I become their cheerleader in a sense. My book serves as a guide because at the end of every chapter there is a worksheet. It helps you plan out your goals and each chapter helps you achieve those goals. At the end of the book there is a template for a full action plan and you can make it a living document. You can also start over once new goals enter in your life. So, for the people that need more one on one sessions; I provide them with my service to help them achieve the goals that they want. I am not a counselor; I am a coach here to keep you stay motivated and ready to tackle your goals. You are solving a problem but not to the point you are researching and analyzing. I do leadership, executive, life and career, and collegiate success coaching.
Adrian: I really think there is a reason that we met each other. Last question, do you have advice for young men/women trying to do the same thing; write a book and balance family/work life?
Dr. Jai: Be willing to take your time. Do not rush it because you want be sure that you do not waste your time. Live in the moment and take your time. Refine your skills. Make sure that is what you are supposed to do. I did not think I had a book in me. I am a trainer by trade, so I was thinking maybe I should create a curriculum. Then I realized there was a tool that I could provide not only for the corporate world but also the community; I realized I could write a book. When you decide what you want to do, don’t try to be the best just try to be better than the day before. In time, your craft will get better with practice.
Adrian: I really need to listen to those words. Rome was not built in one night! Is there anything else that you want to add?
Dr. Jai: I want to congratulate you on your book. I am very proud of what you are doing. I think it is very necessary especially in generation Y. I think you are leading an effort in young men and also encouraging young women on relationships and how you interact early. So before they get into that life long relationship, you are showing them how to build that foundation. So I want to thank you for actually putting that out there, to your generation.
Adrian: Wow thank you for those encouraging words. I will continue to be led by God with everything that I am doing. I want everyone to support Dr. Jai, follow her on Facebook Janice A. Armstrong. Go out and get her book, I know you will enjoy it. This lady is doing great things.
Remember to Always Keep it GC