Meet Chynna Presley.
Chynna Presley is a woman on a mission to help heal and empower the world around her in the most impactful and intentional ways possible. She has served the community as a social worker and public speaker for fifteen years in various roles. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in social work from Huntington University in 2007, she worked as a foster care case manager, public educator, after-school program director, volunteer coordinator, and director of women’s ministries before taking on her toughest role as stay-at-home mom to her newborn daughter. After about a year in that role, she returned to the field as a supervisor for home visitors, serving families with young children. In 2018, she completed her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Colorado State University Global Campus and went on to serve as a director of programming for two different transitional living homeless shelters, one serving families and the other serving veterans. Chynna’s most recent role was the Director of Intercultural Enrichment at Huntington University, helping to improve diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the institution while mentoring countless students.
In 2021, she started a business called Mezzo Management Solutions. With this business, Chynna prides herself in offering affordable consultation and coaching services for mid-level leaders, arming middle managers with the information to help strengthen retention rates, employee engagement, and the effectiveness of services to the community. When she’s not plotting world domination, Chynna enjoys creating art projects with her daughter and obsessing over her house plants.
YWCA Asks: What does an “empowering woman” mean to you?
Chynna: The root of the prefix “em” means to “put into or bring to a certain state.” When I think of the term “empowering woman,” I think of a dimmed light inside a person and a woman who sees that light and says to herself, “they don’t even know how bright that light could get.” So she pours into that person to help them see what they already are… powerful. She helps them bring that light to its fullest and brightest burn. An empowering woman helps people realize the power that was already inside of them, so they can go forward and shine that light on others, operating in a confidence and power like never before.
YWCA Asks: In what ways do you believe you empower other women?
Chynna: I believe the best way to empower others is to begin with yourself. I used to work with people in the community, teaching them lessons on how to become a better version of themselves, but I wasn’t using my own advice. When I finally released myself from some relationships and situations that were stunting my growth, I began to take inventory of myself. I worked on becoming the person I always wanted to be, instead of pretending. When I encounter other women who are seeking mentorship or advice, I’m able to empower them because I have become what I teach. I noticed the impact of my words became greater. So, I empower other women by practicing what I preach and never giving advice I wouldn’t take.
I try to do more listening to what’s being said between the words, so I can better understand the person in front of me. I communicate to them what I see or what I hear so I can reflect their power, not their weakness. When they try to give me credit for their renewed perspective, I explain to them what they felt they received was merely a reflection of themselves, not of me. I also use my privilege of power or authority to advocate for other women. When I am given an invitation into a room others are not, I try to use my voice to elevate others. I give credit where credit is due and I never compete against other women, even when they try to compete against me.
YWCA Asks: Can you share an experience or tidbit of information that would be helpful to other women?
Chynna: Forgive me for the science lesson… I believe part of accessing your power is accepting the laws of physics. Stay with me here! In particular, Newton’s Third Law of Motion states, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This is important to remember for a few reasons:
1. If you are dealing with a string of bad luck and feel like it will never get better, remember for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The problem is, you won’t see the good if you’re focused on the bad. The good will pass you by. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the opposite. If you’re dealing with a string of good luck, be prepared for the bad to come too. It all comes down to balance.
2. Resist the urge to do absolutely nothing when you feel overwhelmed in life. I don’t mean keep yourself busy. I’m just saying don’t shut down. Newton’s first law of motion states, “a body at rest stays at rest unless an outside force acts on it.” Now, I’m not saying don’t rest—rest is VITAL to our humanity (more on that in my next point). Just try to remain engaged in the present happenings to some degree. Even the best long distance runners know to slow down instead of stop in the middle of the race if they get weary. The race doesn’t end just because we stop running. Learn how to catch your breath and find a new pace that works for you.
3. Finally, rest is an action too. Some people have a hard time with resting because they think it means doing nothing or wasting time. The older I get, the more I understand the importance of intentional rest. If I don’t do it, my body has a way of forcing me to do it. And by then, I’m too far gone.