They Believe She Can Fly
Cheryl Wood Named Woman of the Year by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
Cheryl Wood is always on the grind.
Within hours of speaking at a conference in St. Louis, the Clinton-based motivational speaker and life coach stepped off a plane in time to accept an award for Woman of the Year from the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. in Springfield, Virginia.
Wood was honored on April 22, during the Omicron Theta Zeta Chapter’s annual Blue & White Soiree at the Springfield Hilton.
If Wood was fatigued from her trip, she didn’t show it, as she strolled brightly into the ballroom with her husband and three children in tow. She was surrounded by dozens of women sheathed in royal blue frocks, the sorority’s signature color.
When Wood reached the podium to accept her award, she baptized the crowd with seasoned wisdom from a beloved ancestor.
“Maya Angelou has a quote, and she says pursue the thing you love doing, and do it so well, that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” Wood continued, “and that wasn’t said in a spirit of arrogance, it was said in a spirit of knowing that you have the right to shine brightly in this life.”
Just before Wood used this opportunity to push the mostly female audience to reach for their best life, she was introduced by sorority member Lakisha M. Osei, who nominated her for the award.
Osei recalled the number of times she observed Wood in various settings, small groups and large venues. In each moment, the intent was the same, to convince people to put fear aside and live the fullest life possible.
“She wanted to empower young women and girls to get their sizzle back,” Osei said. “To dig deep and find out who they are and who they can become.”
Wood spoke about her own background growing up poor in a single-parent home in Baltimore’s Lafayette projects. She recounted the erratic behavior of her father, who wreaked havoc on the lives of her family.
Osei said that one of the most impressive attributes that Wood has is her raw honesty. “What I love about her is that she’s always authentic no matter when you see her, and she loves to serve people.”
Wood is slated to bring her upbeat message to New Delhi, India, and London in the coming weeks. She often looks at her own success in amazement and gratitude given the poverty and dysfunction that marked the beginning of her life.
“Thank you Lakisha, and thank you Zeta for this award,” Wood said. “There’s one thing to impact people’s lives, but its another for people to honor it and acknowledge it. That’s the icing on the cake.”