Kylla.  Who is Kylla?  What does a strong, independent woman look like?  These questions go hand in hand; in fact, you can use one to answer the other.  Let me tell you a little bit about Kylla, so you can decide for yourself.

If you saw Kylla, you’d think she’s an ordinary lady.  She has lived in a variety of places within Chicago her whole life.  Chances are if you’re in the city, you’re close to a place she used to live.  She was a kid like any other; she hurt herself jumping off the stairs as a child.  She fought with her sister and bit her tongue.  More recently, she lost a grandmother whom she was close with.  This gave her grief and is still something that is difficult to handle.  Normal stuff you’d say.

As Kylla grew up, however, things happened that would shape who she is today.  When she was an infant, her parents split.  Both remarried, and she was the youngest of the household.  Out of all of her step-siblings she’s second youngest; all of which are girls except for one step-brother.  He understands her and they’ve connected well, through his chill personality and dry sense of humour.  One interesting thing is that Kylla connected better with her step-dad than her father.  Her step-dad was around her more so she saw a lot more of him.  She describes him as having a quiet “sure-ness”, not fazed by much and very even-keeled.  This is home for her, with her mom and step-dad.

Kylla is glad that she is still in the Chicago area because she can reach her family if she needs to, but she is also able to establish her own independence, something that has become very important to who she is.  She loved writing, poetry, and the spoken word.  It is through these mediums that she is able to express her story.

Another way Kylla expresses herself is through her leadership roles.  In high school she was a leader in ROTC.  Now days, Kylla is a youth leader to high school freshman and sophomore girls at church.  She says it’s humbling because to see the teenage angst turn to trust.  She enjoys seeing what they deal with and what they talk about and how trust affects them.  Kylla is the kind of woman who does not just accept things if they have a potential to be better; in this way she likes to ask the tough questions and talk about God and maturing in faith.  Through this, she is able to be a mentor of sorts.

She is also a leader for Black Student Union on campus serving as current president.  This motivates her even more to reach a high potential.  She loves seeing the impact she can help with as part of BSU as a minority in this setting.  She describes it as nothing short of amazing knowing that the work she does with her team is contributing for future generations that will be on campus.  Part of this comes from her drive to be the best that she can be.  “Nothing gets done until someone decides to do it, so things stay the same until you decide to change it,” she said.  Nothing can grow in a comfort zone.  Kylla seeks to keep pushing forward to break down those barriers and take advantage of her education to reap the benefits and use the skills and talents God gave her to be able to do something.  As her high school ROTC instructor said to her, “if you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

When I asked Kylla what her weakness was, she took a second to think.  Perfectionist.  Her answer was that she was a perfectionist.  She learned this about herself while being an ROTC leader in high school.  She wanted things done a certain way so she would just do it in that way, but this wouldn’t help people learn.  Even though she won some awards, she was disappointed in herself because she didn’t do much teaching and instead did more delegating.  She looked at BSU in college as a second chance to be more of leader and less of a boss.  She used this opportunity to help make a difference as a whole.

Finally, I asked Kylla how she wanted to be remembered.  To her, sincerity is very important.  She’d also like to be described as unapologetic, though an almost tough-love kind of attitude.  She enjoys pushing people because she likes to be pushed.  Ultimately though, she wants to be known as having a mindset of intentionality; knowing that there is a purpose in what she does, but also genuine in her interaction with people.