By Debra Brown
Simmons Nation News Staff Writer
“To God be the Glory!” From the mouth of LaJada Holder; mother, entrepreneur, and student.
As a student LaJada is the co-founder and President of the Voices of Simmons, a small ensemble of talented, student singers at Simmons College of Kentucky. LaJada humbly credits Alumni Demetrius Gunn for the original idea of a singing group to sing at convocations. Once Demetrius left the group, he encouraged LaJada to keep it going. LaJada determined in her heart that she was going to make it happen. In 2018 Voices of Simmons became an official student led organization at Simmons College. Voices of Simmons celebrated its one year anniversary August 2019.
Debra: What was the driving force for you to make this happen?
LaJada: If this school had not taught me about Malcolm X and a bunch of other radicals, then I would have had that defeatist mindset. I was told no three times from three different people in the administrative office. So, determined “by any means necessary”, she allowed “no” to be her motivator. Relying on God to fulfill her desires, she made it happen.
Debra: What would be your advice to another student about the obstacles they may encounter when starting an organization here at Simmons?
LaJada: No one has your vision but you. So you have to actually put forth the work to get it done. Without the passion and drive it will fall short. Procrastination could cause you to miss your opportunity because you did not see the vision all the way through.
Debra: What type of music does Voices of Simmons sing?
LaJada: We sing gospel.
Debra: Traditional, contemporary or what?
LaJada: Whatever style as long as it is praising the Lord.
Debra: As President of Voices of Simmons, how do you get all those good voices to harmonize and unify with one another?
LaJada: I am so thankful that we actually have a Chaplain and we always begin with prayer. From the beginning I let everyone know that we have to do everything with decency and order. We must humble ourselves because our voices sound differently to God than they do to others. So, maybe someone can project louder than another but even in their softness, God still hears them.
Debra: Because it’s all about praising God.
LaJada: Exactly! That’s the thing. I’m thankful that we have people that are not all about the solo. Because if a person wants to sing a solo, the opportunity may present itself when other people can’t make it to an event. That person can show up and represent the Voices of Simmons. We’ve had people do that. Plus, you have to know the people that you are working with and delegate the positions.
Debra: Where does that come from? That is very mature attitude to have.
LaJada: It takes years of experience. As a child of God, I understand that all things, without decency and order, becomes chaos. Also, I am the oldest of four girls. Leadership came early. I watched my Mom, and once I had my own child I understood what was going on. You must realize that God is working through you even when you don’t recognize it. Lastly, it is important to put God in everything.
Debra: How do you handle conflicts within any of your organizations?
LaJada: First, I listen and hear things all the way out. I pray, and try to be understanding and compassionate. I study the Word and I have a best friend I go to for advice. But, mainly understanding people and praying helps me to make the decisions that need to be make.
Debra: What kind of outside activities are the Voices of Simmons involved in?
LaJada: Building a relationship with Southside Christian Rehabilitation Center. The Voices of Simmons volunteer by spending time talking with patients, transportation or whatever needs they may have. I also want to build a relationship with the Salvation Army. This also helps build up our resumes so all who are involved benefits.
Debra: You have talked about how very important it is to have a support base. What would you recommend for someone who doesn’t have that? Because that’s a blessing.
LaJada: Yes, it is a blessing. I would say, surround yourself with people who are supportive of what you are doing. Wherever you can find it. Seek out people who have the same mindset as you. Stay away from negative people because they can keep you from fulfilling God’s plans for you. Also, take constructive criticism.
Debra: Thank you, LaJada
LaJada: You’re very welcome