During Women’s History month, we’re honoring some of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington’s present-day history makers. Board member and Great Big Kid mentor, Bernita Bailey, is a true inspiration to our Club members, especially our girls. She is the first Black woman to hold the position of Market President in her company; she leads a team of commercial bankers for one of the country’s largest banks.

As a busy mom and executive, Bernita still finds time to mentor and support our Club kids. We are grateful for community volunteers like Bernita.

We took a moment to learn why her Club kid mentee, and the Club, are so special to her.

Please share how/why you began volunteering your time and resources to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW)?

Three years ago, I was invited to tour the Germantown Boys & Girls Club. During the visit, I was deeply impressed by the joyful and active atmosphere among the Club kids, as well as the wide range of activities and the passion of the staff. I immediately fell in love with the club and knew I wanted to be a part of the Boys & Girls Club!

Can you describe a specific moment or experience that has impacted you most during your involvement with BGCGW?

Participating in the Great Big Kid program was life-changing! My mentee, Zuri was so amazing and I truly enjoyed spending time with her and her family. I would mainly visit her at the Club, and we would just sit and talk and play different board games. It was such a great experience. In the end Zuri and I won the Great Big Kid event, but the main win for me was the getting to know her and the time I spent with her.

What message or piece of advice would you like to give to young women aspiring to make a difference in their respective communities?

I applaud their outstanding efforts in making a difference. My suggestion is to keep striving forward despite any obstacles that may arise. Creating change is a difficult task, so being persistent and resilient are crucial qualities to possess. In addition, it’s important to be a connector and bring others on board. As the saying goes, “many hands make light work,” so collaborating with those who share your vision and rallying people together to work towards your objectives will help you succeed.

Can you tell us about a woman who has inspired or influenced you, and how has she impacted your life or career?

My mother! Her journey of balancing a successful career and raising three daughters was truly inspiring. The valuable advice she shared with me along the way has played a significant role in shaping the person and mother I am today, and how I approach my professional life.