Updated: May 19, 2020
To kick off my new blog segment: Women Crush Wednesdays, I decided to dedicate this Wednesday to an awesome young black woman in my community who I am inspired by, Ms. Jordan Riles.
Jordan Riles is a May 2011 graduate of Savannah State University, earning her Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications for Public Relations with a minor in Sociology. She completed her Master of Professional Communication & Leadership in May of 2019 from the GA Southern University Armstrong/Savannah campus. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and has held the positions of Miss Ebony Fashion Fair 2008, Miss Savannah State University 2010-2011 and Miss Black Georgia USA 2013. Riles established her own LLC for Pageantry, Marketing & Events, Joy Enterprises, LLC in April of 2012. Ms. Jordan is the recipient of the 2014 SSU Influential Alumni Award, the 2016 Juneteenth GA Outstanding Citizens Award and the 2018 Now Generation Award at the 50th MLK Commemorative Celebration. She received her Corporate Etiquette Instructing Certification from the prestigious American School of Protocol, Atlanta, GA and her Pageant Judge’s Certification from Prowant Exotics for the states of GA, FL and AL. She is the Career Development Specialist in the Office of University Career Services at her alma mater, Savannah State University. In January of 2016, she launched the new etiquette and talent school, Impressum School of Social Graces which educates clients on dining etiquette, nutrition, modeling, acting, professionalism. Her personal mission statement: “To exemplify a young lady of class and enthusiasm; one of true acceptance, and to have others come to know how she views everything God created as “beautiful.” I present to you, Ms. Jordan M. Riles.
Christa: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
Jordan M. Riles: If I mentioned only one, I couldn't be sure that I would rightfully be saying one accomplishment were bigger than the other because these were all equally rewarding and special in their own right. Winning Miss Savannah State University 2010-2011 during my undergraduate college experience was paramount. It's a dream come true to be voted by your peers to represent them on the highest level. It's the biggest compliment to your personality, your presence, and your ability to lead. I worked hard to prove myself fit for the work and I gained so much from the service and the experience. In addition, winning Miss Black Georgia USA 2013 was also just as rewarding because four judges voted for me to represent an entire state based on all of the hard work I put forth to yet again raise scholarship funds, perfect my singing for the talent as best I could and so much more including my speech, my poise and my community impact. So this makes me revert back to 2008 when I won the Miss Ebony Fashion Fair. That was actually my first glimpse at somewhat pageantry and serving on a large scale. I raised over $10,000 as a college freshman going into my sophomore year in partnership with the Savannah Chapter of the SSU National Alumni Association and in addition to HOPE scholarship with what I was awarded, I attended college debt-free.
Christa: How have your accomplishments shaped you into the person you are today?
Jordan M. Riles: That was a lot of work, making connections with business owners, introducing myself as I was still learning who I was and would be and at the same time, breaking out of a shell that adolescence and puberty along with past bullying had put me in. When I'm asked about these things, it makes me realize just how much I have under my belt that I've either minimized or forgotten to consider about my own strength and can-do attitude.
Christa: God- What role does God play in your life & leadership?
Jordan M. Riles: God plays the "put me first" role in all that I do. Honestly, sometimes I move so fast that I forget to pray. I think we as Christians need to be humble and up-front enough to admit that, so not to seem above people who are still coming to understand Christ. We as humans will never be as consistent or as dependable as God but as long as we are aware and openly acknowledge that He should come first and strive to actually consult with Him before we move throughout life, our mistakes and our falls can be covered in grace.
Christa: How have your experiences at SSU made you a better leader?
Jordan M. Riles: I'm so grateful that I attended a four-year HBCU. I believe I would have gotten lost in the crowd anywhere else because I needed the nurturing and the highlight of our culture to surround me, to embrace me and to guide me through my educational and extracurricular experience. HBCUs give a black student confidence and they affirm our pride in who we are. They are more relevant than mainstream gives credit for and so products of HBCU's have to tell the story of how much these institutions are needed. They are the soul of higher education. SSU made me tough and it made me a professional. You have to put in as much as you wish to receive, and that's for anywhere you attend.
Christa: What is one quote that you live by?
Jordan M. Riles: My life's motto is actually a bible verse Romans 8:28 "All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose."
Christa: Who/what inspires you?
Jordan M. Riles: My family has inspired and supported me in all that I've chosen to do, all that I end up taking on as a task, they take it on too as a challenge and we overcome it together. My parents are resilient and strong. They set me up for success and whether they allow me to make the mistakes I've made along the way, I make them and they forgive them. What other choice do they have? For that, I'm grateful for them for allowing me to always lean on them while not enabling me. They've definitely made me work for the things I've wanted and that has made me appreciate life and all I have even more. My two-year-old daughter inspires me with a different kind of fire though. There's a pressure that she adds, but it's good. It's "all good" because she makes my brain spin at night about how I can work and what I can do to make sure she has an even better overall life experience that I have had. I cover her in prayer because they type of future she deserves is going to require all of God.
I personally know Ms. Jordan M. Riles and she is so great to be around. "Joy" really is the perfect nickname for her. Thank you, Ms. Riles, for the light that you shine so bright in the lives of your mentees and young ladies in our community who look up to you. You set such a great and positive example. Your beauty radiates inside and out, trust me! Thank you for all that you do! Please, stay encouraged and keep up the good work.