by Talia Rodriguez
I don’t know why I am less susceptible to patriarchies lie that professionalism is emulating whiteness. Maybe because I am already white (thanks mom) and that in fact being a white professional doesn’t make you even any ounce more professional. And that’s coming from my lived experience. Professionalism is about your ability not your identity and or appearance. On top of being white I am also Puerto Rican with a strong sense that Latin America has instilled in me called – glamour. And Those of us who have watched Univision know that the news can be read in almost any outfit and mean the same thing.
Being surrounded by innovative and free-thinking women lead me here – being less susceptible. My aversion to the “professionalism myth” is fortified by the amazing authentic women around me. Living testaments that- a woman is art. Art cannot tone “it” down or dial “it” away. Art is seen- thus Stephanie Claire Moss. Haitian. Bold. Genius. Elegant. Regal, and her fashion loves her as if to say “thank you for wearing me today”. Her kindness helps guide people through different worlds. An ambassador for me and for the rest of our friends on campus to everything Harlem, Haiti, fashion and Brooklyn related she guided me. Well truthfully, I begged her to bring me with her. And from Rochester to Brooklyn, we went!
I have the fondest memories of waking up in a big white house on a Brooklyn summer Sunday afternoon surrounded by art. The art curated by Stephanie’s Amazing Mother depicted women whose experience is fundamentally the history of Haiti. A history full of joy but such sorrow. The pain from the island- even though she was young. She carried it with her. I was stricken by her keen understanding of privilege and her knowledge of history.
The thing about Stephanie that mimics Haiti is the way she carries joy so strongly – joy is in her soul. Pure Joy can withstand any policy created from a place of darkness and envy. Because those that seek the light will find it.
Haiti’s history it seems punctuated by three words – joy, jealously, and freedom.
Others being so jealous of Haitians, that throughout history so many leaders have tried to penalize their very existence because (I reckon)- to be Haitian is to be excellent. The people have proved many a time they are stronger than any natural or man-made disasters that come before them. So much is known to the world about their boldness- about their desire to be free that its almost like the word “Haiti is synonymous for the word “Freedom”. Actively fighting to understand what that freedom means every time it is challenged is the opportunity of history. An opportunity Haiti has paid over and over starting with its French slave owners. Who were paid to free their slaves as were the Spanish in Puerto Rico –But the Haitians paid the evil price for freedom for a nation cumulatively. Over a period of about seventy years, Haiti paid 112 million francs to France, about $560 million in 2022.
I think that Stephanie’s motivation to serve the people when she is most needed and to coach others to success is part the determination displayed by the richness of her culture.
A teacher and life coach. She has purposely spent her time in schools where her talents were most appreciated and with children who need her. The youth are a source of great inspiration to her. Motivation is one of her emerging passions. Looking toward the future Ms. Moss see’s the next phase of her professional journey in business, doing what I believe she has been doing for me for a while- Life Coaching.
Trilingual she speaks English, Haitian Creole, and Spanish. Stephanie has been striving for excellence her entire life and every time she achieves her goal, she adjusts the bar and sets it even higher and for that alone, she is #latinaherstory.
Read Stephanie’s Full below, follow her brand, learn from Stephanie that mimics Haiti in the way she carries joy so strongly – joy is in her soul.
What is the name of your business/artistry/passion? – As of today, I am not a business owner, but do have dreams and aspirations of becoming one. The past year, I’ve developed an affinity for life coaching, particularly relationship coaching, as I’ve had to navigate relationships in the past that were not favorable to my mental health. I was able to overcome grief and depression through therapy and life coaching, but found that the consistent coaching practices from some very talented people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, helped to stabilize my emotional state more than ever. The talented coaches I’ve encountered have now inspired me to open my own life coaching practice, specializing in the mitigation of relational trauma. My ultimate goal is to help people identify the negative ways they may be showing up in relationships, and carve out a synchronized plan of attack that will elevate their relational skills romantically and personally. My 2023 goal is to enroll in a accredited Life coaching certification program, so be on the look out for me!!
Where were you born and what values were taught in your home? – I was born in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up in a very traditional Haitian household I was taught that education was the only catalyst to success. Education was the vehicle to financial freedom. Additionally, my mother and father, both Haitian immigrants, felt it Important for me to be well rounded socially and educationally. I was enrolled in a multitude of sports activities, musical groups, dance, and frequented enrichment programs geared towards college preparation. I played the violin, basketball, and ran track. If I wasn’t playing sports, I was playing the violin at the MET in NYC. Needless to say, the standards and values in my household were set high. The expectation was to always try my best at any and everything because unlike my cousins in Haiti that were constantly being plagued by political chaos , I was privileged to receive an un-interrupted education.
What was your experience as a student? – As a student I maintained above average grades. I was a B+-A+ student, although college definitely exposed my struggles with being a bilingual student. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an English Language Learner because I was born in the US and never received ESL services as a young child, but learning Haitian creole first definitely created some barriers to me excelling at first in college.
What was the name of your favorite school and why? – Frederick Douglass Academy was my high school located in Harlem, NY. I would say my high school was my favorite school as I was nurtured, challenged, and well educated. The entire faculty assumed high standards for all of their students. While attending, I also played Varsity basketball. I had the most amazing coaches that facilitated opportunities for us to compete on a high level, and ensured that we were able to travel cross country to play against teams above our competitive level. I addition, our Principal brought free SAT, Regents Prep, and Paid internship opportunities to our school that further aided in my academic growth. FDA gave me experiences I am forever grateful for.
How do you define an educator? – A person who not only builds students mind through knowledge ,but teaches a student for Life. A GOOD educator imparts critical thinking skills and experiential knowledge to develop a student.
Whats the most important thing a student/person taught you? – That it is okay to mess up. Failure is the best teacher.
What is your theory on human potential? Human potential is attainable with the right mindset and right amount of intrinsic motivation.
What is your remedy for a long day? – Turning off all electronics related to work, a warm shower, and Hulu in bed with a sweet treat ☺
Who do you look up to? – I look up to my mother not because of what she’s accomplished in life, but because she’s a resilient immigrant woman, and a genuine loving soul who caters to everyone in her life before she does herself. They don’t make many people like her any more. (YOU BETTER SAY YOUR MOMMA).
What are the values you want the world to know you for ? – I’d like the world to know me for my kindness, loyalty, compassion, my insatiable desire to inspire little girls and boys that look like me, and my self awareness.
whats your dream/whats next? – Next on the Agenda will be transitioning as a school leader as I’ve now obtained my school Leadership Post graduate degree and becoming a certified Relationship/Life coach in the near future!
Talia Rodriguez is a bi-racial, bi-cultural, and bi-lingual Latina from Buffalo. Ms. Rodriguez’s mission is to write about Latina’s, who have shaped the face of our city and our region. It is Ms. Rodriguez’s believes that our own people should inspire us and in telling our collective stories, we push our community forward. Ms. Rodriguez is a community advocate and organizer. She is a 5th generation West Sider, a graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School, and an avid baseball fan. She lives on the West Side with her young son A.J… Ms. Rodriguez sits on the board of several organizations including the Belle Center, where she attended daycare. Ms. Rodriguez loves art, music, food, and her neighbors.