June SEL Champion of the Month: Dr. Amber Sessoms
As you may already know, at iMPACTFUL, we have started a new initiative to highlight impactful leaders making a difference in social and emotional learning (SEL). Each month, we highlight a champion within the SEL space who is doing fantastic work in their communities and carrying the conversations around social-emotional learning forward. We have coined the term “SEL Champion of the Month” as a title to give to these outstanding individuals.
Without further ado, we are so excited to introduce to you our June SEL Champion of the Month, Dr. Amber Sessoms!
Amber is the principal and founder of Natural Inclination, a “Narrative Disruptor. Meaning Maker. [And] Radical Connector.” The mission of Natural Inclination is to support leaders as they reexamine the narratives and norms that say being different is bad. The company states that “together, we can write a new, liberatory story that invites everyone to be their full, authentic selves'' (Natural Inclination). To “get liberated” or learn more, please feel free to check out their website here.
Dr. Amber Sessoms natural inclination? To help people celebrate their differences and “bring truth to the darkness” that permeates our schools, communities, and organizations. Naming the things limiting us from owning and appreciating our differences is an important task, “in the naming of what our society has chosen to keep silent, we break down barriers and learn to love ourselves and others radically.” This core mission drives Dr. Amber Sessoms and her company, Natural Inclination.
Growing up and throughout her youth, Amber felt “othered” based on circumstantial elements that were part of her story, different from what society deems “normal.” Some examples of making you appear outside “the norm” could be your upbringing, home life, parent relationships, race, sexuality, interests, style, etc. As a child, feeling separated or different from your peers can make someone feel profoundly alone and fundamentally impact how you view yourself to others around you. Because of her differences, Amber grew a sense of curiosity about the definition of fairness and belonging.
Amber pursued a career in school psychology and adult education through this curiosity. She says that her “life’s work has always centered around emboldening our youth and adults to embrace vulnerability and speak their truth” (Sessoms). Amber combines her lived experiences, specifically lack of belonging and noticeable differences, with formal education, other exceptional skills in her Rolodex, and a passion for helping others become self-aware and nonjudgmental viewers of their own lives.
To find answers within ourselves, we must celebrate our own diversity and bring truth to the darkness, to learn, to love ourselves and others.
“Dr. Sessoms' gift is her willingness to create the settings for very public and painful discussions on the realities people of color face in school and business settings across the country. Her courage enables her to sustain these conversations in the face of the daily resistance to acknowledging and understanding the issues that must finally be addressed once and for all across all levels of society in our country if we are to succeed in becoming a truly equitable one.” –District Superintendent
Please read more about Dr. Amber Simmons and her essential company, Natural Inclinations, by checking them out on the web and through their socials! In the meantime, we would love to hear from you all about who you believe is an SEL Champion within your community. To nominate, fill out this form!
Thanks for reading, and we will see you in the next one!