By Editor-in-Chief Shawn Chavis
Dr. Cheryl Hill is a woman of significance- a leader in the marketplace with the privilege of being a spiritual advisor to several governmental and faith leaders in the United States and abroad. Dr. Hill’s government appointments have been with the Maryland Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives and liaised to the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. Her company, Integrity International Consulting Group, LLC (IICG) is built on on the principle that all business must be “holistically” discerned. Bronze Magazine caught up with Dr. Hill to learn more about her inspiring contributions to various communities through her organization.
BM: Dr. Hill, you are the Founder & CEO of a dynamic organization called Integrity International Consulting Group out of the MD area. Please tell us about your company’s purpose and mission.
CH: Our Consulting Group consults with groups on many levels. We work with those starting up in business, already established businesses, governments and grassroots groups. We have a consortium of partners that would meet just about any need. We have those that have been in government, corporate, community development and private industry. We are blessed to be used as a for-profit and non-profit organization that provides a safe environment for those that we do business with to have an opportunity to support “social causes” as well. Our social causes usually but is not limited to agriculture, health, education, micro finance, and water resources.
BM : Your organization is described as providing a “holistic approach to business and community development.” Can you tell us how this type of approach has transformed the communities with which you have served?
CH: Yes, we make certain for example if we bring investors in to do business development in the countries where we have developed a relationship we then strongly insist that 10-20% of their profit goes to community development of some sorts. If they decide to assist with education we don’t want them to just ship books to an identified school but to assist with teachers’ salaries, the repairs of the school AND to send their employees to come on ground to participate in their outreach to the schools. In this way they are not just giving from afar but they have their hands into what they have committed to. For the projects I am doing in Africa, this is having a great affect on the people because although there are people and corporations doing great works almost as missionary outreaches of their businesses the African communities have said to me that they DO NOT see many African Americans reaching out to assist them in rebuilding. This caused me to reach out in a different way and to truly be on ground more to hear the need and to do. Holistic means ALL are involved in the process and we do not just apply the band aid approach but look at the root cause and address the entire issue at hand.
BM: Your international community partnerships include working with the people of The Republic of Benin, and Nigeria. What types of projects have you overseen in these countries and what has been the impact of these projects on the people there?
CH: In The Republic of Benin we are setting the infrastructure of the group that we will work with to receive donations, identify viable projects, build relationships with grassroots, faith, business and government leaders. Before the good works can be done a solid infrastructure of an integral team must be established. We have sent over $2.8 million in resources to assist with the flooding disaster and are working on providing $13-15 million in vaccines to Benin. In Nigeria we have moved in leaps and bounds in a period of 10 months. The leadership in Cross River State Nigeria is excellent. We are working on education, micro finance and trade/investments.
BM: You have an extensive and impressive client list from the White House to local and international grassroots organizations. Can you name one or two individuals who have positively influenced and/or inspired you?
CH: Yes, Elizabethe Wiebe, former Associate Director for the White House Faith Based Community Initiatives opened a wide door for me in working with the White House and Africa. She saw how God was using me and literally picked up the telephone one day and gave a charge to several Cabinet members to assist me with whatever my need was and they did and hence I have been working various initiatives in Africa since 2008. She worked for the Bush Administration and is a young woman in her 30’s that has a passion for people all over the world.
John Picard is another person that I met for approximately one to two hours and we literally became connected with the same passion for Africa. He is a world renown expert on “greening.” He was a part of the “lead team” for “greening” the White House for the Clinton Administration and has a passion to holistically affect the way we live to live a better and healthier lifestyle by working with the earth instead of against it. He and I will be doing several projects in Africa this year.
BM: As a spiritual advisor, have you ever been confronted with a difficult challenge to your spiritual mission of others? Can you explain why or why not?
CH: No, I cannot say I have been confronted with a challenge only a challenge within myself. Many times as I am led to speak to people of various influences or when they come to me I struggle within myself to say, Oh, my God I can’t talk to this one or that one because of their influence and then by the time God is done great change has taken place and I realized why I needed to say or do what I was led to do and I am astonished and I give God all the glory! I am privileged to speak with all types of people from various cultures and faith. When you have real truth, that which you speak transcends past the barriers of culture and faith.
Also, I would like to add that it is not just my witness for God that they see, they also see the spirit of excellence that I operate in which causes me to become “sought out.” We have to remember that no matter who you are you can only be charismatic for a moment, but if you do not produce in an excellent way and supply a need you will not last long. I thank God for a spirit of excellence.
BM: Dr. Hill, what type of advice or best business practice would you give to other women in terms of aligning their business visions and goals with faith-based principles?
CH: I get this question often. My response is that I align myself with God which is right standing, governing my affairs with integrity, listening, sharing with ALL faiths and living, loving and laughing MORE. I share faith based principles through my giving. I truly give 200% of myself. Water, housing, medicines do not have a certain “faith” assigned to it. In sharing these important areas of life that gives commonality to all people that I have aligned myself with. Faith based initiatives was created to bring initiatives of government priority such as foreclosure, education, health and the like to work through faith leaders (all faith leaders) because the government realized that “faith” was the common denominator of all communities and faith leaders had an effect in communities. In order to get a message of resources, hope and other needs to the communities, faith leaders are and continues to be the answer and hence you have faith based initiatives.
“We have to remember that no matter who you are you can only be charismatic for a moment, but if you do not produce in an excellent way and supply a need you will not last long. I thank God for a spirit of excellence.” ~Dr. Cheryl Hill