Jovian Irvin has taken her natural ability to lead and inspire others into a successful career that includes traveling across the country developing leaders for Teach for America and coaching others to find their passion. Whether she is consulting on projects as Official Chasemaster for Wondaland Arts Society or giving a keynote address for The Clinton Foundation, she makes sure her time is spent living on purpose. Learn more about her superpower and how she helps others find theirs.
Name: Jovian Zayne Irvin
Title: Managing Director of Talent Recruitment for Teach for America and Official Chasemaster for Janelle Monae
Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Location: New York
Her Gig: I travel around the country to help our staff members grow in their leadership as Managing Director of Talent Recruitment for Teach for America. In my spare time I do one-on-one coaching, workshops, hosting, panel moderation or speaking engagements. I incorporate my love for music and my corporate skills as Official Chasemaster for Janelle Monae and the Wondaland Arts Society by consulting on events for artists and human capital matters.
Her Journey: I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the senior class president. I wanted to edify this leadership gift in politics or public service. I knew about Teach for America while in college and was even recruited but did not think it was the right path for me. Later in my career, I moved to New York and my first roommate in the City was a Teach for America alumni. Through her I saw the impact that she was having and I started to consider the side of the organization that supports the leadership development. I then joined Teach for America in a development capacity working with fundraising.
Finding Her Passion: I went through a typical quarter-life crisis where I felt far away from my passion. During that time, I started mentoring young girls at my church and knew that encouraging people to be their best was what I wanted to do. My mentors helped me to see the connection.
Her Advice For Finding Your Passion: When trying to find out what you are passionate about and what you really want to do, reflect on the high points in your life. Whether it was this past year or week by week, go back and think about your joy points. What were the times that you felt drained and when were the times you felt energetic and alive? Starting there often helps you uncover your passion points and the things that connect you to your essence.
Biggest Lesson Learn: We tend to think we have to have it all together all the time. I’ve learned that our real power is our authenticity and our ability to be vulnerable in moments when other people will not.
Biggest Career Accomplishment: The legacy of knocking down doors for other Black women. For example at Black & Decker, I was the second Black woman to ever have my job in the company. At Teach for America, I was one of the first Black women to be a Managing Director for the talent recruitment team. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the first African-American woman to be voted class president.
Her Work/Life Juggle: I ask myself: Is this what I am uniquely positioned to do? Am I the person who really needs to do this or can someone else? If I can delegate, I will. It’s how I balance.
Her Boss Accessory: Janelle Monae gave me this black and white coat and it feels like a Superwoman cape. It just commands attention. My name means a lot to me so during speaking engagements, I wear a rose gold nameplate that has my middle name, Zayne on it.
Her Current Read: The Secret Language of Leadership by Steve Denning.
Her Theme Song: “God in Me” by Mary Mary.
Her Beauty Must-Haves: Make Up For Ever’s duo mat concealer and aqua black liquid eyeliner and a bright smile.
Mantra: If you are walking in what God has uniquely called you to walk in, you never have to feel like you are left out.