Employee Spotlight is a Cohear blog series meant to share more about the amazing individuals on our team. Every month, we’ll share a quick Q&A with one of our team members so you can get to know us a little bit better.
This week we’re highlighting our newest team member: Akua Wilson! Akua just joined Cohear this month as our new Communications Intern.
Hey Akua! We’re so excited to have you on the Cohear team! Tell us, what was the first time you heard about Cohear? What were your initial thoughts?
I actually got connected with Dani because of some of the work I do with UC’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation; my research partner Lonnie Jennings connected us, and after sitting down with Dani I realized how connected my personal work was with Cohear’s mission! My first impression was chills; I didn’t realize there we’re so many people that cared and believed so much in empathy until I sat down with everyone.
You have an extensive background in radical empathy. Can you tell us a little bit more about your work in radical empathy before Cohear and how it informs what you’re doing now?
I started honing my passion for radical empathy during my run for MIss Kuamka 2020 through UC’s African American Cultural and Resource Center, when I created my platform titled ‘Dissolving Division’ this is an company dedicated to implementing radical empathy into spaces where it is not normalized to listen, like academia. Through the Dissolving Division, I have conducted training on how to facilitate conversations surrounding equity and experiences, as well as hosting conferences to give participants a space to share their experiences and receive validation and uplifting from their community.
Recently my work has been combined with the TRHT, where Lonnie and I have researched to develop a tangible guide to radical empathy, and how to be an ‘ALLI’ teaching participants how to understand their own experiences and how to build real connections with those who may have differing identities.
What are you most excited for in your role at Cohear?
I’ve sat in on a few focus groups so far,and I would have to say that’s my favorite part about working at Cohear. Hearing the relief in participants' voices just when they’re able to talk about and discuss the things that are either taboo or uncomfortable in many communities. I truly believe that you can feel radical empathy and that it’s contagious, and being in these focus groups have just reinforced that belief that through conversation we can truly connect to one another on a deeper level.
Is there anything about Cohear’s work that you find most surprising or enjoyable?
My biggest surprise is the support from large corporations and community organizations that Cohear has. Usually when working in fields like empathy, or social justice; you nearly have to beg companies to buy in and convince them they need these services. I think the structure and research that has gone into Cohear speaks for itself and attracts those companies and organizations truy seeking to understand their communities.
How long have you been in Cincinnati and what are some things you love most about the city?
I moved here solely for school in 2018, so I’ve been here about 3 years now. Personally, my favorite place is Ludlow Avenue near UC’s campus. All the stores has some semblance of culture, and are truly welcoming. It’s almost like my smaller community within a community that I have found, and it’s become my act of self care for the past 2 years or so.
I also love the amount of parks and the variety! I love nature and biodiversity, and no two parks look similar, which allows me to have so many different perspectives and experiences while still being surrounding by beautiful greenery !
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
What are the three words you would use to describe Cohear?
Do you have a favorite travel destination?
Rome - I love ancient Greek and Roman(Latin based) history!
How about your favorite movie or TV show?
Favorite movie: Legally Blonde
Favorite TV show: 911(currently) Pretty Little Liars(Forever)
Anything else you want to add or share about yourself?
Nope ! just that I’m from Philly !