With the trickle down mentality that everything starts from the top and flows downward into the hands of those who need it, city legislators play a crucial role in dismantling that ideology to empower those who will ultimately be affected–the people.
As a proud mother and devoted Democratic Councilwoman for the city of Philadelphia, Blondell Reynolds Brown is a key developer of putting the people first.
Her current position as Majority Whip makes Reynolds Brown the only woman serving in city council leadership. Since 2000 she has held a seat in City Council. For 16 years Reynolds Brown was the only woman to secure an At Large position.
Her humble beginnings born in Sumter, South Carolina as the eldest of seven children, then relocating to Philadelphia at an early age–have shaped the core of her existence.
As a former educator, Reynolds Brown has an innate commitment to forming the minds of young people. But she also looks forward to innovation and serves on a variety of committees that serve to bring economic, environmental and arts advancement to the residents of Philadelphia.
Do you have a personal mission statement or mantra that you live by?
In my own private moments of dreaming and wishing, I am pondering how I can stretch to accomplish or achieve the next challenge. I believe that God made us to stretch. This approach to challenges and opportunities do not change be it in my role as a mom, an elected official, a family member or friend.
Self-talk is important, what story/stories do you tell yourself about your life?
All of who I am, I owe to my mother. The story I remind myself often is how she did so much with so little. The daughter of a widower at age 37 left with seven children. She worked three jobs to ensure that all seven graduated from college. Her gumption, her moxie, her resilience, her faith, empowered her to fulfill her dream to give her children a better start than she had.
How did the current political climate impact your approach to politics?
The current political climate has NOTHING to do with my approach to politics. I am of the belief that democracy happens before, during and after an election.
Was there a moment in your journey you felt like giving up? What would you say to a woman going through that right now?
Resilience must be a part of your DNA. No one is exempt. No one gets a pass on the pain, the disappointment, the suffering and/or unfair treatment we each have to endure at some juncture in our personal or professional lives. This includes me. To my daughter, her peers or any young woman I have taken an interest in is “life is not about running from the storm but instead it is about learning how to dance in the rain!” To be a winner you must choose your own goals and be undaunted by criticism from unfriendly sources. Remember it is you who are keeping score. Winners keep their own scorecard. Decide on your path, seek advice from friendly knowledgeable sources, recalibrate, then follow your heart and pursue your dream. Understand that the most plentiful commodity on earth is free advice—typically critical and uniformed advice. If you can have a dream, whatever it is, dare to believe it, try it then work hard to fulfill it. Remember that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
What is your definition of success?
I do not have a definition. Instead I have ingredients for success. As an African-American female, excellence MUST always be the standard because mediocrity is a sin; Never become satisfied with the status quo; Be a possibility thinker, always viewing the glass half full; Be willing to do the things that others are unwilling to do; the unpleasant things; the inconvenient things; those things that may have little to do with the overall success. Recognize that small things will add up to major accomplishments.
What do you hope to have accomplished in your career/ life by this time next year?
I am pleased to say that I have achieved much in my political career. The attached bio captures and provides a snapshot my legislative achievements. By this time in April 2019, I hope to be a published author.
Who and what inspires you to keep going?
My daughter Brielle. My Mom. I want to make them both proud.
What’s your biggest fear being in the public eye with a definitive political stance?
There is no need to be in the public eye if you cannot handle the pressure that comes with standing up to take popular or unpopular positions. Fear cannot be in the equation. Faith and fear cannot occupy the same space if your goal is to make a difference. In the doing so, someone will eventually be uncomfortable. Even diamonds are made when they are under pressure.
How do you take care of yourself/unwind in such a highly charged environment?
Spending quality time with my daughter; helping her fulfill her dreams; enjoying a glass of wine with my sister or girlfriends; a day at the beach with my music and back issues of O Magazine.
Describe your perfect Sunday:
-Where are you?
-What are you eating that day?
-What music are you listening to?
-Who are you with?
Church to get my faith renewed. Fish, salad and a glass of wine. “Thinking About Cooling Out” by Jerry Butler; “It’s a New Day” by Patti LaBelle; “Believe in Yourself” by Lena Horne. Daughter. Sister. Girlfriend. Significant other.
As a woman in this political workplace, how do you balance it all?
Put God and your faith first; be exceedingly organized; surround yourself with like-minded women; fret little over mistakes; smile often; stop periodically to: Reflect! Retool! Reboot!!