"I show up and do the best I can in the moments that I am in."
Valencia Agnew has been described by many of her friends as "amazing, in a crazy good way." As a clinician and private practice owner, she relies heavily on her faith to find comfort and strength during the toughest moments in her life.
Why did you choose to pursue the career you're in?
It has always been a calling for me to be there for others providing support, to be understanding, to provide a listening ear, and wondering why people think and act the way they do. While I first obtained a degree in business and worked as an accountant, I knew I was called to counseling and took psychology classes along with my business classes.
A point came when I could no longer ignore, or put on hold, the calling. I went back to school and obtained my master's and doctorate degree in psychology.
As a professional working mother, what's your work-life balance approach?
Balance has been a constant challenge as the balance includes not just running a business and parenting, but also includes being active on boards and in church. I learned some time ago that what looks like balance on one day may look different on another day. I have learned to check in with myself and ask what I need most from me that day. Some days, I most need to show up for my son and help with schoolwork or spend quality time. Other days, it looks like taking self-care time. And yet other days, I need to take one for the team and accomplish something for work.
I've learned judging myself is not helpful, though I have not perfected that yet. I show up and do the best I can in the moments that I am in. I work at treating myself the way I would treat you as a professional working mother, with compassion and support.
We're coming off a monthslong pandemic, followed by intense situations surrounding race and injustice. As a Black female leader, how are you helping West Michigan heal and understand?
I am committed to helping keep the conversations going. It has been easy for society to stop talking when things calm down and then talk again when another major issue is in the news. My practice actively promotes and participates in community education and outreach and I plan to continue to do so. I am working on ways to help further increase awareness and create change for other therapists and for our community. There are various venues and methods in which I will be able to contribute to healing and understanding when invited to the table and when I develop outlets.
If there is one thing you want to be remembered for, what would that be?
I want to be remembered as a compassionate woman. When it comes to my family, I want to be remembered for my demonstration of love and commitment to them and God.
Edited by Jennifer A. Pascua, Content Engagement Manager for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Aug/Sept 2020 issue of West Michigan Woman.