Lead with Love
Professional women are conditioned to be one dimension; being true to all the different aspects of yourself and bringing your whole self to the table, the serious, professional, silly & fun side of yourself is important.
“I’m a woman of many passions.” - Dr. Fabienne Doucet
Born in Spain and raised in Haiti by a great aunt & uncle, Dr. Fabienne Doucet migrated to the United States when she was ten (10) years old but continued to spend her summers in Haiti. Dr. Doucet originally went to college to study Biology, intending to become a pediatric doctor. However, during her first semester in college, she concluded that science was not for her and became disinterested in the medical field. However, Dr. Doucet realized that engaging with children and their families was her passion. She discovered that child development was the best field to lead that path through research.
Dr. Doucet’s journey as an educator started over 20 years ago while she was in graduate school teaching undergraduate courses. At the age of 19, during her sophomore year in college and working as a research assistant, it became clear that being a professor was the best career path for her, and she took the necessary steps to pursue it. She enrolled in Messiah University, but this institution did not offer all the required courses in that field. Hence, she and her Dean developed an action plan to create the perfect undergraduate program for her. As a result, she was able to partner with Temple University for the courses Messiah did not offer to complete her degree.
“The things you know the most are sometimes the things you know the least.”
She studied young Black children and their families in graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she collaborated on a five-year study on immigrant children from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, China, Central America, and Mexico. They studied these newcomer youth’s and their families' experiences with U.S. schools.
As a Haitian American woman in education, she has faced many adversities. The most challenging aspects were the lack of belief, underestimation, and skepticism from herself and others, including the professors, and overcoming a sense of inferiority. Dr. Doucet credited her mother's words of wisdom and belief in her for overcoming those moments of insecurity and difficulties and conquering those challenges. In addition, Dr. Doucet found inspiration from the support of her family and the desire to make them proud. She wanted to forge a path for little Haitian girls like her then ten year-old-self. So, she pressed on.
Currently, an associate professor of early childhood and urban education at NYU in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Dr. Doucet is also Executive Director of the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. She is the first woman to lead this center and the first Black woman to lead a research center at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
“I love teaching & learning alongside my students," she confirms.
“One has to be coachable & teachable,” Dr. Doucet advises those coming after her or interested in seeking mentorship.
“Mentorship makes my heart beat; that is what I want to do. It is at the center of all I do, professionally and personally. I have been blessed with many mentors who have guided me through my own life, and it is an honor to pay that forward by supporting the careers and efforts of my students and other mentees".
She further stated it's great to know who you are & where you want to be, but it’s also important to listen and receive wisdom from those around you. As a student of life even; the spirit of openness is a must.
Dr. Doucet finds her life mantra in a song sung by her children in the church choir: Lead with Love by Melanie Demore, which goes as follows: "You gotta put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.” It embodies the type of leader Dr. Doucet believes she is and aspires to be. She believes that in a world full of uncertainty, hatred, and difficulties, it is vital to let love be the root and core of all and be brave enough to fiercely stand for the vulnerable and be the light for those in the dark corners.
“We are all here for a reason; we all have a mission; we are all here to impact this world in some sphere.”
Dr. Doucet has paved the way where there was no path. As a leader, she felt compelled to give a voice to the voiceless, and her love for mentoring, learning, and teaching her students is why she is a Fanm Potomitan.
Stay connected with Dr. Fabienne Doucet on Twitter, FB & IG: @bailabomba.
Watch Dr. Fabienne Doucet’s Video Interview HERE.
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