Faith L. Walls, is a author, educator, and coach for girls and women. Walls is the author of the book Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me Before She Died. Recently she discussed the inspiration behind her book, advocacy work with girls and women, and some of her influences.
Where did you get the inspiration for Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me Before She Died?
Walls: Well my mom and I we’re both writers. And we knew that we wanted to write children books together. So that was the plan and when she passed away I felt like because writing was really something that we both enjoyed I wanted to honor her by writing a book. So of course her death inspired it, but ultimately it was the plan before her passing that made me want to write [it].
You’re a life coach for girls and women. Can you elaborate on the advocacy that you do with these young ladies?
Walls: Okay one of the things I do is—I work with the Maria Kaupas Center and it’s actually attached to the former Maria High School, which is currently the Maria Catalyst Charter School. And we have overnight retreats for girls. We had about four–this year and generally speaking I talk to the leaders of the community center, which are all students. And we put together a program of what the students would like to learn over the evening, or the morning and—create a—create an overnight retreat. So at the overnight retreat I’ve also done a girl talk-teen talk session there that was—I‘ve done some other speaking with Girl Scout troops and churches. And groups are really, really cool because I enjoy interacting with them overall. As far as my one-on-one sessions are concerned I have clients that are both girls and women and we pretty much come together and talk about things that they want to work on with their time—during their time with me. And—it just depends on what they’re looking to do and feel they need—feel like they will benefit from coaching.
Who are some people that you can say that have influenced you?
Walls: Wow. Well besides my mom I would definitely say my family—the women in my family. My sister, my aunt, and even those women that have since my mom’s been gone have stepped in the role as mother figure for me. They definitely influenced me to do—my personal experiences, professional choices, and stuff like that. I’ve had a lot of mentors that are really helpful with giving me direction and encouragement [along the way] to my career. So I would say pretty much anyone that’s given me good advice. I think that—just like the saying goes it takes a whole village to raise a child. I feel like it takes a whole village literately to continue build a leader. To some extinct you never—you never really totally grow up because then that means that you learned everything. And if you’re a leader you recognize that you’re constantly evolving and becoming a better you. So that’s most important.
You’re a global citizen. How many countries have you been to and what was your favorite place?
Walls: I’ve been to three different countries. My favorite place is Europe it’s difficult to say I love Sweden. I absolutely love Sweden I lived there for a year, during research on relation integration on girls and women in the city right outside of Stockholm…I went to Japan probably four months after my mom passed away and peace and calm is exactly what I needed so, me going to Japan was perfect timing. I really can’t answer the question with one place, but I will say that Sweden is definitely at the top of my list.
What would you say have been one of your most memorable teaching experiences, either as a girl advocate or as an educator?
Walls: Well, I would say being an educator. Definitely one thing that—really helped to build the foundation for my career was my role of as being dean of student at Maria High School. And it is my alma mater— and it was an all girl school, but I served as dean of students there, and it was a good experience coming back to work my former teacher’s and work with students that were obviously from the community—we’re in Chicago, but because they were all girls—it helped me to have an experience with them—that ultimately lead me to the realization that I wanted to work with girls and young women pretty much for the rest of my life. And since then I’ve been able to dedicate—everything that I’ve done after that to girls and women, and I hope to continue to do so.