NAAHP Member Spotlight on Klaudya Phillips
Every month the NAAHP turns the spotlight on members who are making an impact in their professional field and in their community. These members exemplify the mission of the NAAHP to make it the organization Haitian professionals trust.
Tell us a bit about your personal background.
Klaudya Phillips is a 2nd generation Haitian national. Her parents migrated to the United States from Cap Haitien, Haiti in the late ’80s after the coup d’état of President Jean-Claude Duvalier “Baby Doc”. During the migration process, her mother gave birth to her on the small Island of Turks and Caicos Islands; “Grand Turk”.
What’s your current job?
She is currently employed as a therapist specializing in children and adolescents with varying degrees of mental health impediments. She has been in the mental health field for 10 years and she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Entrepreneurship. She holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling specializing in addictions. She is currently enrolled at Walden University where she is working on obtaining a doctoral degree in Psychology specializing in Education. She is extremely passionate about her dissertation because she has noticed that oftentimes Haitian people have had to overcome stereotypes, challenges, and or obstacles in order to gain the respect that they deserve. She is well aware of the sacrifices that her parents had to overcome in order to provide her with a better life. She understands that the migration and assimilation process is not an easy one to make, therefore, this is her way of paying homage to the families and the culture overall. That being said, she believes that we must always keep in mind that we are the hopes and dreams of the slaves, our parents, and ultimately our families! She wants to make them proud.
How did your background prepare you for your current role?
As a child, Phillips was fortunate enough to have a father that was an activist. Her father is the type of man that believes in equality for everyone therefore, at the tender age of 7 she found herself attending her first demonstration in Miami Florida. That particular demonstration was during a time when Haitians were being accused of bringing HIV to America. From that time on she could no longer deny the injustices that were occurring to her people. Since then she has always tried to be of service to her people. She truly believes that the exposure that she received is what prepared her for life and her current role.
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
The biggest challenge that she has confronted at work was racism, sexism, and fighting the stereotypes that are often bestowed upon us. Being a black person in America comes with many obstacles. As a black professional woman with her heritage, she has often been made to feel like she was not supposed to have achieved the things that she has worked so hard for. She finds herself working harder and constantly having to defend her right to be in the position that she is in.
What would you say have been your greatest career or personal accomplishments so far?
As a therapist, the greatest career accomplishment is the fact that she is able to make a positive difference in the lives of her clients. The children that she is of service to is what drives her to be a better person. She believes that the children are our future and every child that she is able to help makes this life worth living. Her greatest personal accomplishment would be the fact that she is currently working on obtaining her doctoral degree. Being the first person in her family to have reached this milestone means a lot to her. What drove her to seek her doctoral degree was wanting to be the change that she sought. She wants future generations of her family to realize that it is possible. Higher education is something that they are able to achieve regardless of their heritage.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
The most important leadership lesson that she has learned is to pay it forward. She enjoys mentoring young people in her field. She thinks that it is our duty to help the up and coming professionals. We all need support and guidance and she truly believes that she would not be here without the support and guidance that she received throughout her life.
How long have you been a member of the NAAHP? What’s your best experience thus far?
She is a new member and because of the current state of the country, she hasn’t had much interaction with the members of this organization but she is looking forward to it!
What kind of advice would you give to fellow NAAHP members looking to grow professionally?
The advice that she would give to her fellow members that are looking to grow would be to take their time and enjoy the journey! Pick a field that you are passionate about regardless of what it is and be the best at it…
Who or what inspires you?
The little people that she has brought into this world (her children) are her greatest inspiration. They keep her focused on the big picture. She is so humbled to be their mother and mentor.
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
When she is not working, you could find her walking on someone’s beach or making bath and body products. She is like a mad scientist when it comes to the various blends of her bath and body concoctions.