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The Power Of Intention Landed This TV Exec The Life Of Her Dreams

This NBCUniversal exec believes intention-setting reigns supreme when it comes to creating the life you want.

BOSS UP

We all have heard about the power of visualization and manifestation, sometimes in the form of vision boards, journaling, prayer or a combo of the three, but it doesn't become real until we—as human beings with the need to survive and thrive—see tangible results.

For Felicia Joseph, Vice President of Casting at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, the power is definitely real, and she has receipts. She has made it all the way up from intern to assistant to an executive wearing several hats, working on hit shows like Queen of the South, and embracing both the creative and business sides of entertainment.

NBCUniversal exec Felicia Joseph Ashley Nguyen

"I grew up going to church, so faith has always been really big in my life and in my family's life," she told xoNecole in an exclusive interview. "I'm really big on setting goals and affirming things for myself. I try to recalibrate and check-in with myself and lately, I've been able to do it on my birthday every year. Instead of New Year's Resolutions, I usually will set goals around my birthday and check-in with myself on finances, on my mental state, on my health, on love—on all of those kinds of things. It has helped me continue to see the good and [keep track of] what's happening in my life."

The Hampton University graduate has set intentions through manifestation and prayer and has enjoyed a fulfilling career ever since. As a college student, she studied business management and was almost tempted to switch to mass communications to feed her creative side. After advisement from her father and a strong weighing of pros and cons, she decided to continue learning the nuances of business and nurture diverse creative aspirations through internships in the entertainment industry, which ultimately allowed her to move through the trial-and-error journey during her undergrad and postgrad experiences more seamlessly. "Being able to really map out my destiny—my goals and dreams in a smarter way—I feel like I was more in control of it," she recalls. "I think it really helped me. By being deliberate, I didn't look [at life] like it's happening to me. I looked at it as I can create [my future] and I feel like I've done that in most areas of my life, if not all."

"Being able to really map out my destiny—my goals and dreams in a smarter way—I feel like I was more in control of it. I think it really helped me. By being deliberate, I didn't look [at life] like it's happening to me. I looked at it as I can create [my future] and I feel like I've done that in most areas of my life, if not all."

Taking the time to consider all aspects of a decision as well as aligning skills with aspirations in a way that lead to action helped Joseph forge a path toward the knowledge and training that was required to create the life and career she wanted.

Early in her career, she had a desire to produce but she also wanted financial stability and more job security. She ended up landing internships at companies including MGM, and knew she wanted to work for a major studio or network.

NBCUniversal exec Felicia Joseph Ashley Nguyen

"I thought if I have to go work for somebody, I want to work for someone who I can learn from, someone I respect, and someone who is going to help groom me into the executive that I see myself becoming. I needed someone who's going to be supportive of my growth. I wanted to be at a company where, not only could I grow, but also add value so that my strengths matched up with the opportunity and I could really add value where I was going. I wrote that down in an email to myself and it was called 'My Next Career Adventure.'"

She got just what she desired after that thoughtful and intentional email, gaining the opportunity of a lifetime in TV entertainment. She told xoNecole, "I was fortunate enough to have a really close friend whose sister was the VP of casting at ABC at the time, and she was looking for an assistant. I just learned about [casting] from there. I knew I wanted to do something more creative and I knew if I was going to go produce at the time, I would have to be a freelancer. I just didn't think I was ready for that. I didn't know what in-house casting really was until I kind of really got into it and then, you know, just fell in love with it."

Joseph got a chance to learn more about what's involved in choosing actors for a show, ensuring fiscal success and handling budgets, and serving as a liaison between departments that keep TV shows going. Turns out, the purposeful decision she made back in college was a good one.

"Having a business background and acumen really helped prepare me for my current role. For example, I'm really good at Excel spreadsheets—I kind of nerd-out over those things—and I really do love finding ways to save money and organize the money we're spending. I like that I don't have to always rely on other departments to tell me certain things, and I know our bottom line. Going through B-school helped with that because one of my classes might've been statistics and I was kind of introduced [to how to effectively use] Excel—how to use the formulas and all that kind of stuff."

Fast-forward to becoming a mother and wife: Joseph relied on the power of positive thinking, deliberate intention and manifestation yet again. In spite of the typical pressures placed on women—especially when they've reached their 30s—she confidently chose her own path and believed that things would work out for her good. When she met her husband, actor Amin Joseph (Snowfall), they developed a friendship before becoming involved, and she affirmed for herself that she'd meet her match.

NBCUniversal exec Felicia Joseph and husband actor Amin Joseph Ashley Nguyen

"You know, [people always talk about] the biological clock thing, and I always try to stay really positive about it. I combat that with knowing that there was someone there out for me that would be a great partner, and that I would be OK—I would be a mother and I would have it all. I had to believe that, you know," she said. "I've kissed a few frogs. (Laughs) I've had challenges in relationships. I kept faith, and mapped it out in my mind and heart to know that God wanted more for me and that I deserved better. I knew that the person I saw as a good partner for me would come into my life and it would happen. And I had to believe that."

"I've kissed a few frogs. I've had challenges in relationships. I kept faith, and mapped it out in my mind and heart to know that God wanted more for me and that I deserved better. I knew that the person I saw as a good partner for me would come into my life and it would happen. And I had to believe that."

Even with today's current challenges in terms of strong, ambitious black women finding a suitable mate, Joseph put negativity to the side to hone in on authoritative self-awareness and the law of attraction.

"People can say, 'Oh, it's too hard to date in LA or New York or whatever.' But all in all, if your intention is to find certain things in a person, whatever those characteristics are, you can attract that," she said. "I think that as long as you feel that way, as long as you believe that, then it is possible. I recognize that what I want for me and what makes sense for Felicia, you know, may not make sense for somebody else. So I'm not competing with anybody for anything. That gives me peace."

NBCUniversal exec Felicia Joseph and husband actor Amin Joseph Ashley Nguyen

"I recognize that what I want for me and what makes sense for Felicia, you know, may not make sense for somebody else. So I'm not competing with anybody for anything. That gives me peace."

As a new mom and wife, Joseph has managed to find her own formula for life balance as well, one that works for her and her family in the moment.

She has found that being deliberate in shifting priorities and habits to accommodate life as a new mom and wife has been good for her, especially with a busy schedule at work. Prioritizing what's currently important and what she feels she needs to invest more time in is something that has been a saving grace.

"I just always continue to have a positive attitude and find the silver lining in a situation. So, even if there's a tough time for me, I always feel like a lot of things, looking back on it in hindsight, it all made me sharper, smarter, and stronger. It helps you figure out what you're really made of—what you can handle—and it just pushes your limits a little bit. And so I'm thankful for all of it."

Featured image courtesy of Ashley Nguyen.

Originally published October 14, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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