Tyneka Howard – Lead(H)er

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | January 19th, 2021
Tyneka Howard (Photos by Nick F. Fields)

Tyneka Howard (Photos by Nick F. Fields)

Tyneka Howard started her military career at 19, and last fall, retired after 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. During her tenure, she spent most of her time guiding, mentoring, directing, and leading airmen, both men and women. In the last few years of her military career, she would meet young female soldiers who looked at her as a mentor and someone they aspired to be – confident, assertive, and successful. The majority of women felt misplaced and unsure if they had made the right decision in joining the armed forces. Navigating within a male-dominated organization was oftentimes quite challenging so Howard would ‘adopt’ several ladies and mentor them on how to effectively adapt to military life.

“I knew exactly what they were going through because I started at the same place they did. I knew they felt displaced and were trying to find themselves. Many also struggled with how to carry themselves as a lady. Because, uniform aside, we’re ladies first,” Howard confirms.

The veteran grew up a preacher’s kid, a lifestyle that presented her with a strong foundation and an environment that others may not always experience; Not better, but different. I’ve heard testaments that children of the clergy are usually raised at the hands of solid God-fearing parents and they must answer to everyone in the church. A few stray from the path, like anyone else, and others grow to be strong, faith-filled servants with direction and purpose.

Howard proved to be the latter. And her peers apparently saw that leadership quality in her. As she approached the last five years of her military tenure she began mentoring high school students, mainly girls, who were facing real challenges that she was unaware of.

“I would just go in with a servant heart and want to work with people. It didn’t matter who it was, it was just where I was supposed to be.” A lightbulb went off in Howard’s head with the realization that there was a huge void in the community and help was needed to guide the younger generation. Howard looks youthful and she feels that contributed to young women seeking her out for advice. She attests that her youthful look is achieved by living a stress free life.

Last year, the Martinsville , VA native sought to start her organization, Lead(H)er under her parent company H2G Leadership Group, which stands for Howard 2nd Generation. Lead(H)er focuses on Faith, Fitness, Relationships, and Career. This summer she plans to host more workshops and social media live events for her clients and those she hopes to attract. She’s also planning to increase her website and blog posts to grow her following and reach more people.

“For ladies, the leadership will come after the knowledge and education. But I also like to focus on communication and how people are receiving your message. Are you just talking or are you communicating? There is a difference. You have to be able to articulate what you want and not be shy about it.”

With Covid-19 affecting all of us in different ways, Howard crafted a previous workshop entitled “Covid is making me crazy”. The attendees log into a video conference platform with a code and simply talk and help each other work through their thoughts. They attempt to uncover their dilemmas and help fill each other’s voids. It’s no surprise that many are having a tough time with the lack of social interaction and physical touch. Howard aims to help them work through their feelings.

The ladies Howard mentors tend to be between 14 year to 25 years of age. “The biggest issue I’m seeing is the lack of direction and foundation in the home. And because homelife and it’s makeup looks a lot different, children are exposed to certain topics and conversations much sooner than they should be.

This year Howard plans to also incorporate families into her organizations structure. Focusing on communication within the family unit can aid in building the foundation that the younger members need. Within her own family unit, her 13 year old son has taught her how much different boys and girls tend to communicate. “My son is quiet and calm. I can tell him something and he’s okay. He’s easy with lots of patience.” Studies show that girls tend to have more words in their vocabulary by a certain age and tend to react to news differently.

“My five year plan is to create a camp-style Lead(H)er lock-in at different locations to serve her community in Raleigh, NC. Think 4-H camps,” she says. The unfortunate introduction of our current pandemic forced Howard to tap into her ideas sooner than she expected and take a look at her business plans to see how she should operate. Instead of opening in June, H2G was introduced in April. “God works in such a way and I became restless enough to start working on and refining my idea. I was able to meditate and have such a clear headspace of where I wanted to see my business.

She simultaneously started the corporate side of her business that handles communications and marketing for companies and how they can better communicate with their employees and clients.
Continuing her quest to bridge the gap and network with other ladies to bring the second generation along and add value to their lives is at the forefront of Howards mind. At the rate she’s moving, it seems that she’ll accomplish that goal in no time.

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