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Feb 14, 2012

Maya Wiley

A superwoman of her generation, racial justice activist Maya Wiley has made it her mission to solve America's problems with and in communities of color. Wiley is so dedicated to the cause that she founded and serves as director of the Center for Social Inclusion, a research and policy organization that addresses issues of racial inequity.

Here’s an introduction to the ambitious D.C. native.

HOW YOU BROKE IN TO THE BUSINESS: As a long-time racial justice advocate, I saw a need for a policy strategy organization that looked for long-term solutions to big problems, in and with communities of color.

WORKING ON CURRENTLY: We have been pushing policies to ensure that communities of color get affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service, support to participate in renewable energy opportunities, and more and better public transit that helps connect them to jobs, health care, and other opportunities. We are also working with local partners on communications strategies to support more investment in this nation's greatest asset: its people.

REFLECTIONS: Hometown: Washington, D.C. * First job: A federal judicial clerkship with the Hon. James T. Giles, Federal District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania * Advice she would have given herself 10 years ago: Work harder to maintain important relationships with friends and family. Work is important, but it isn't everything. And, don't eat glitter—you’re allergic! * What keeps her up at night: Thinking about the world my children will inherit. * Most valuable business lesson learned: Relationships are everything. Maintain them. * Most valuable life lesson learned: Tomorrow is promised to no one. Live the life that fulfills you. * Words she lives by: Don't sacrifice the good for the perfect.

DIVERSIONS: Reading now: My daughter's texts to her friends! * Reading next: If I survive monitoring my daughter’s texting, maybe I'll finally get to Manning Marable's biography of Malcolm X. * Last fun purchase: A cute summer dress at Century 21. * Recent discoveries: Second graders LOVE learning bout the Underground Railroad. The New York Historical Society has a show on it for Black History Month. A must-see with your kids.

PLAYING FAVORITES: Hotel: The W. * Getaway: The beach, particularly one on a Caribbean island. * Entrée: Bronzino at Brooklyn Fish Camp. * Drink: Henricks gin, on the rocks with a lime wedge. * Guilty pleasure: Chocolate!

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