Zuleka Ru-Glo Henderson ’98

Founding Director of the Center for Black WellBeing and former lecturer in social work at Columbia University

What advice would you give to a girl graduating from Williston today?   

  1. Know that you are perfect and worthy, right now.
  2. Trust that you have something unique to contribute to this world. Listen inward for guidance about what that thing is–look for the inspired idea that makes you light up and go deep in its direction.

Tell us about a woman who is your hero and why?

I have so much love and appreciation for Tabitha Brown. While I was originally introduced to her because of her viral vegan recipe videos, I ended up discovering a beautiful human who is deeply rooted in integrity, authenticity, and a commitment to just being pure love. Her success was propelled by her desire to share with others the information, practices, and tools that saved her life. Her vegan recipes, inspirational videos, and books are now reaching millions of people who testify regularly about how Tabitha Brown’s light and her content are helping them become healthier and empowered to overcome obstacles and lead lives filled with joy. I count myself among these millions. In my own journey to ensure that Black folks have access to spaces and information that support personal and collective wellbeing, I am excited to have women like Tabitha Brown as a model and reference point for what it looks like when you lean fully into your purpose and gifts with intention and love.

What do you think is next for women in your professional field?

I can’t speak for most women in my field, but I do know that women I’m close with are boldly pivoting from old models of clinical practice and digging deep into innovation and radically imagining new possibilities for this world. We are deconstructing ideas about work, success, and mental healthcare in ways that invite us to dream up and manifest new pathways to equitable, quality, healing-centered, culturally rooted, collective models of care that help ensure wellbeing for all people.

What motivates you in your work and life?

I believe I have something to contribute to intergenerational healing and well-being for Black people. Before exiting this earth, I want to leave every inspired idea that I have about amplifying the experience and transmission of wellness among Black folks all on the floor.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received is to tap into the power of my own consciousness. Our thoughts are so influential; where we direct our thinking affects our energy and shapes so much of our experience. When I started to work on powerfully choosing my thoughts as a daily practice, life drastically improved for me.