Dr. Keita Joy

Dr. Keita Joy
By Shannon Lee (she/her)
Executive Director, Leadership Columbus

Communities all over the US conduct similar flagship programs to our Signature Program, and leaders of those organizations come together annually to collaborate on best practices at the Association of Leadership Programs (ALP) Conference. Like so many other conferences, the ALP Conference was virtual the past two years but not this year. In June, we were in person in Orlando, FL.

Wednesday of that conference was a lunchtime keynote. As we walked into the room, there was an air of excitement. But to be honest, I was slightly hesitant. The speaker, well-known for her inspirational talks, was one to be excited about, so my hesitancy was not related to our guest. Rather, inspirational speaking in general. 

As of late, these talks lack cultural relevancy and seem to float above the heaviness of our time. Yes, we want inspirational speakers to leave us feeling elevated. But do we want them to ignore the current challenges going on in society? For me, that’s a firm no. To overlook our current times and failure to at least attempt to inspire within the context of current events feels like some sort of spiritual bypassing to me.

But Dr. Keita Joy knew this. She did not disappoint.

I was sold. Somewhere between Beyoncé’s new song, Break My Soul, and Dr. Joy’s mantras for authentic living, I knew this wasn’t a fluffy inspirational talk. And I left there feeling strangely elevated and grounded. It was magic. 

Part of Dr. Keita Joy’s work is speaking on mental health, specifically to and with Black women. And, since July is Black, Indigenous, and other people of color Mental Health Awareness Month, I’d like to share her TedTalk on the topic. You can watch it here.

If you’d like to connect with Dr. Keita Joy and her work, you can find her on Instagram @thedrkeitajoy and @successuncensored. Her website is