There are Baltimoreans who follow a specific prescribed career path, and there are others who are unexpectedly called into their profession. This calling may lend the recipient an immense sense of peace, purpose and fulfillment that is not easily replicated.
Ignited by her sister’s light that dimmed too soon, one activist answered the call to inspire stewardship in a new generation of leaders.
Aisha DaCosta is the executive director and founder of I Am O’Kah, a local non-profit organization teaching financial self-sufficiency to youth in fourth through twelfth grades. DaCosta provides umbrella leadership – from creating program curriculum, to facilitating classes at a local elementary school, to offering scholarships for deserving graduates.
Where did you receive your higher education?
“I received my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. My master’s degree is in project management from Western Carolina University.”
How has your educational background contributed to your professional achievements to date?
“My educational background opened doors for me that would not have been accessible if I didn’t have my degrees. However, its impact on my professional achievements pale in comparison to the knowledge I learned hands-on in my various job positions. On-the-job training and its experiential learning have benefited my professional achievements more than any of my degrees.”
In your opinion, how important is community service to leadership?
“Community service is the lifeblood of leadership. If you are not leading for the grander purpose of service, you are merely managing. Casting a wider net of community service allows leaders to become more acutely aware of the value of their actions.”
What is the impact you would like to have on future generations?
“I would like to train every child to live a proactive life that is engaging and consistently seeks to create value for the benefit of others. It is my hope that this awakening helps them to unlock their greatest potential. This goal is something that I am currently working on through my non-profit I Am O’Kah! We teach entrepreneurship and financial literacy to scope the conversation on resiliency and self-empowerment.”
Keisha Oduor is a professional writer and entrepreneur who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She has a degree in Communications and French from New York University with work experience in publishing, nonprofits, healthcare administration and program management. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.