Words of Wisdom – Keiona Williamson

Keiona WilliamsonWords of Wisdom is an interview on the Metro EDGE blog with an executive who is making an impact in the Sacramento community. Think of these interviews as a mini Executive Insight where you will receive valuable career advice that will help you grow as a young professional! This month's interview is with Keiona Williamson, co-owner of DRiP Espresso, a Black-, women-, and sister-owned coffee shop in Midtown Sacramento. 

February is Black History Month and while support for the Black community is year-round, this annual observance gives us the chance to highlight inspiring members of the community who are making a difference in the Sacramento region. Read Keiona’s interview below to learn more about her and her advice to young professionals everywhere.

What are three things you wish you’d known as you embarked on your career?

  1. I prefer to view my professional journey as a life's work, a continuous pursuit that reflects my core values and aspirations. What impact do I want my life's work to have? When I approach my choices with this perspective, it fuels a profound sense of purpose that guides my decisions and informs my career path. 
  2. To actualize my vision, I actively seek the resources and support I need. This can include time, funding, collaboration, or mentorship. I believe in openly communicating my ambitions and inviting others to invest in my efforts, knowing that shared commitment strengthens the journey.
  3. Surrounding myself with individuals who share my values and complement my strengths is crucial. It fosters a synergistic environment where we can motivate, inspire, and challenge each other to collectively achieve more than we could individually.

Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the most important piece of advice they gave you?

The guidance of mentors plays a pivotal role in my life. The most profound advice I've ever received is: "Everyone in the room possesses unique expertise. What distinguishes your leadership is your ability to be an integrated, authentic person who brings your whole self to the table." This wisdom resonates deeply because it emphasizes the power of genuine leadership rooted in self-awareness and embracing vulnerability.

How did/do you handle work/life balance?

My work-life balance is certainly a work in progress! But I've learned the importance of recognizing when work oversteps its boundaries. When that happens, I actively seek recalibration. That includes prioritizing essential aspects like love, play, mental and physical health, spiritual fulfillment, and reigniting my creative spark. It's crucial to remember that being a holistic human being encompasses more than just work. That's why I strive to be present and engaged as a family member, friend, and citizen too.

Do you have any books, articles, websites, podcasts, etc. suggestions that might help a young professional?

Immerse yourself in topics that ignite your curiosity, regardless of their apparent relevance to your current career. Remember, knowledge is a vast and interconnected landscape. A seemingly unrelated subject could spark inspiration for a future project or initiative you least expect. Cultivate a lifelong hunger for learning. Here’s a good one!

As a Black-owned business owner, how do you continue the conversation about diversity and how can local young professionals become involved in these conversations?

Yes, we're Black-owned, woman-owned, Gen-Z owned, sister-owned, queer -owned and single-mom owned – but each label embodies a distinct journey and perspective. Our combined experiences fuel our passion and shape our unique offerings. But while these labels contribute to our unique story, I believe the true value lies in supporting a multitude of voices and perspectives. As a society, we flourish when individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences share their visions and contribute their talents. Each intersection enriches the whole, leading to a stronger, more dynamic community.

How important is it to be involved in organizations outside of work (church, networking, philanthropy, community-based, alumni, athletics, etc.)? Why?

We believe life happens beyond the walls of home and work. At DRiP, we create a vibrant community where you can truly "do life" alongside others. Connect with like-minded individuals, explore exciting experiences, and embark on a journey of shared growth. No matter what you seek, DRiP offers a welcoming space to discover, learn, and grow together. We invite you to join us and experience the magic of a life well-lived… with coffee!!

What do you love about Sacramento? 

Sacramento's vibrancy explodes from its diverse tapestry! Every turn offers a new discovery, whether it's the richness of different ethnicities and cultures, the explosion of artistic expression, or the tantalizing flavors of its culinary scene. What truly sets this city apart, though, is its unwavering support for local businesses. From small shops to micro-enterprises, the community rallies behind its own, fostering a spirit of collaboration and possibility. It's an honor to be part of this dynamic and supportive Sacramento family.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the 40-and-under business professionals in our region?

BE and DO YOU! 

Connect with Keiona and DRiP Espresso on Social 

To connect with Keiona Williamson, send her a message on Instagram: @keionawilliamson. Also, check out DRiP Espresso @dripespresso on Instagram and stop by to grab a cup of coffee from the owners Keiona Williamson and Taylor White!