PHILANTHROPY SPOTLIGHT: Sharnikya Howard & Life Abundantly Coaching
Sharnikya Howard is the founder of Life Abundantly Coaching where she provides
purpose coaching to help women identify and walk boldly in their God-given purpose
and career coaching to help women make informed decisions about their professional
development and career trajectory
She is the founder of The Belle Connection, a
mentoring program for young ladies in middle school which focuses on Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), self-esteem, and service. She serves on
the board of directors for two local non-profits and recently launched the iEvolve
program for single mothers in underserved communities where she provides life-skills
training/workshops. She has conducted purpose and career coaching workshops and
seminars for women, teenaged girls, and most recently the DC Mayor’s Office on
Returning Citizen Affairs (ORCA) where she co-led a vision and purpose workshop to
returning female citizens. She is a recipient of the Women of Color in Technology
(WOC) - All Star Award, an award reserved for accomplished women of color at an
advanced stage of their careers that have demonstrated excellence in the workplace
and in their communities. As a finalist for the Women in Technology (WIT)-Rising
Star Award, Sharnikya has been recognized for not only succeeding in her career but
for also mentoring the next generation of leaders. A lifetime volunteer, Sharnikya is
committed to her community serving several organizations like Central Union
Mission, Calvary Women’s Services, and DC Central Kitchen. When asked why she
spends so much of her time serving the community, Sharnikya’s response is “I am the
best me when I am serving others.”
A graduate of Bennett College for Women with a Bachelor of Science in Computer
Science, Sharnikya Howard is an accomplished project manager and certified Safe
Agilist (SA) leading software enterprises. She is also a certified Project Management
Professional (PMP) and has provided stellar support to her clients. As a testament to
her great work in the field, in June 2011 she was selected to join the Project
Management Body of Knowledge Review Team for the most recently released “A
Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) - 5th
Edition”. As a member of the content committee she contributed text, concepts, and
provided recommendations on drafts of the PMBOK Guide Sharnikya also holds an
MS in Project Management and MBA
TMP: With helping women walk in their purpose does it ever become overwhelming?
SH: I get asked that question fairly often... It’s not overwhelming because I’m being poured into- I rely heavily on God and I understand that we’re to give our loads to Him. I love serving in this way.
TMP: How did you come up with your brand Life Abundantly Coaching?
SH: I prayed about it and asked God to reveal it to me. And did HE ever lol...after I prayed about it, the word ‘abundance’ kept coming up in sermons, in my readings, devotionals, etc. Through Christ we do live abundantly and it has nothing to do with material things. It’s about being good stewards of what we have, identifying our purpose, using our gifts to serve and bless others, and leading more people to Him.
TMP: With empowering women, is it hard watching what areas and boundaries you can cross and cannot cross?
SH: I don’t find it to be hard…I stay in my lane. I help women to identify and walk boldly in their God given purpose. I help them to figure out how to use their gifts to serve others and rely on God for fulfillment. I-know-what-I-know. I’m not a financial coach or relationship expert. I am a purpose coach and I rest well knowing that I’m using my gifts to serve in that space.
TMP: Was it ever your intent to be a philanthropist?
SH: As a child I watched my grandmother serve. We lived in the projects but she was always giving to others and serving in the community. I always knew I wanted to help people but I can’t say the intention was to be a philanthropist because I didn’t think about it that way. I knew that people were in need and there was something I could do about it so I did and continue to do so.
TMP: Why do you think so many fall short of finding their purpose?
SH: Because they either don’t recognize where their purpose comes from or neglect to spend the time discovering it. Our purpose comes from God and as we draw closer to Him, He makes it more and more clear. Sometimes we simply deny our purpose because we feel like it should be something else or because we want Oprah’s purpose. For some, social media is a huge distraction and instead of focusing on their purpose many get caught up in the lives of others, comparing their gifts, and coveting “social media lifestyles”. Sometimes we think that God just doesn’t have a purpose for us, it’s not that at all. More often than not, we have things that are in the way like fear, resentment, an unwillingness to forgive, poor time/financial management, PEOPLE, etc. and we have to work through some of that before we’re ready to operate in our purpose.
TMP: What is your biggest inspiration?
SH: That’s tough. There are a few big inspirations… Christ and leading more people to Him. Seeing people operate in their gifts. My grandmother, Queenie Esther (yep, that’s her real name), she passed away years ago but she’s still with me. Smiles – I cannot describe what it feels like to see someone who hasn’t smiled in a long time have a reason to do so.
TMP: How important was it to make sure you gave back with your work?
SH: It’s important to me for a number of reasons. I grew up in Ayden (in the projects), SE DC, and Temple Hills, MD. I’ve seen homelessness up close and not just from my car window and witnessed the parents of dear friends lose their battles to addiction. I had a mentor growing up so I see huge value in mentoring others. Most importantly though, Jesus served and we are all called to serve. Our faith helps us to do great works and those works lead more people to Him.
TMP: When did you find your purpose?
SH: Honestly, I got a good glimpse of my purpose when I was in college (Bennett College for Women) while serving as a mentor to teenage girls in Greensboro but I denied it. I knew that I was able to impact the young ladies in ways that were beyond me but because it came so naturally, I ignored it. And I feel like I’ve been coaching my whole life [LOL] but again, I denied the gift and when people asked me to be their coach, I laughed it off. As much as I denied it, I continued to operate in it – mentoring, serving in the community, etc. but it wasn’t until I paid close attention to how God moved in me and used me while operating in those spaces that I fully realized my purpose.
TMP: What do you say to the little girl who is watching you and wants to follow in your footsteps?
SH: As a mentor, I remind my girls to do the following: love yourself, be responsible for your actions, consider the long-term effects of decisions, and pay it forward by serving others.
TMP: What is next for Life Abundantly Coaching Brand?
SH: Last year I developed a 3-week impact series on forgiveness. So many of us have been held back because of our inability to forgive and just let go. The program was very well received and I am focusing on enhancing it and offering it to more people along with other impact series.
TMP: Where do you want to be in the next five years?
SH: As my grandma used to say “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” [HAHAHHA] In the next five years, I’ll still be serving relentlessly in my community. I will be serving women globally, helping them to walk in their purpose. I will be working with women all over as we turn more shelters into spas, reminding women of their inner and outer beauty and I will be teaching life skills to female returning citizens and parents of children in impoverished communities.
TMP: How do you want the public to feel after experiencing your brand?
SH: As it relates to their purpose I want them to know that their purpose comes from God and He equipped them with everything they need to fulfill it. I want them to know that fulfilment comes from Him and we experience that fulfillment when use our gifts to serve and impact others whether in our homes, in our communities, or at work.
In terms of community service, I want them to be moved to action. I want them to say “I can do that, let me get my friends together so that we can provide meals to those living in shelters.”, or “Come on girls let’s turn our local shelter into a spa or let’s go teach them how to nail the interview.” I want them to be tired of waiting for the “right” volunteer opportunity or one that fits their schedule and just create their own service initiative.
TMP: Where can people find you and connect with your brand?
TMP:Are you social? FB? IG? TWITTER?
Facebook: Life Abundantly Coaching