Updated: Apr 8
Name: Saundra Alexis Heath
Where do you live now? New York, NY
Industry: Creative Entrepreneurship - Art Gallery Director
What does it mean to you to have a voice?
Having a voice means being able to be my authentic self in any situation. It means being able to use my gifts, talents, and skills in ways that are significant for me.
How did you find your voice?
I found my voice through the intersection of values, gifts, skills, talents, passions, interests, opportunity and things I see that need fixing in the world around me.
How did 2020 help you refine/redefine your voice?
Sheltering in place during the backdrop of Covid, racial injustice, conspiracy theories, and Trumpian trauma strengthened my voice. To be silent during those times was to be irresponsible. We all needed to hear from each other to know where we stood.
What event or series of events helped you find your voice?
Reading works of the Black Panthers while I was in middle school. My parents and grandparents adhered to centering Black folks. An example of this: before there were targeted greeting cards, we penciled in brown faces on greeting cards and cereal boxes. When my parents divorced, I was suddenly responsible for my sister in many ways and bullied in school. That helped me accept a lot of responsibility for my voice and its influence.
Church culture helped me feel divinely protected and secure. It gave me language to encourage myself and others toward trust, hope, courage, and radical self-love. Corporate culture provided the right leadership opportunities to develop my voice through my work.
Whose voice are you influenced by?
I’m influenced by many voices: my family, popular culture, church culture, and the many, many books that I’ve read. I’ve been influenced by people I admire and those who admire me. I was taught very early in life that I had a voice. My father taught me that I was born to excellence and I believed him. My mother’s love was a constant source of encouragement and a reminder of who I am as a Black woman and a Carter Girl: Smart. Powerful. Resilient.
How has your voice influenced others, particularly those in your community?
I am a torch bearer. I believe in community and intentional living with purpose. As a result, I am the Chief Encourager of anyone within my influence to fulfill their highest aspirations. I believe in being generative and entrepreneurial. We launched an art gallery in a townhouse. Since that time, a few others have launched galleries and salons in their home spaces as well. I have been a welcome respite and source of opportunity for hundreds of artists and creatives. I’ve had an impact in the way Blacks are portrayed in the media and the way we see ourselves through my work in advertising and public relations. My voice has influenced my children, who are whole, conscious, compassionate, wise, thoughtful, and influential adults. Leadership roles in my local church have allowed me to support others in their spiritual formation.
Where will your voice lead next?
I am continuing to create digital content for the art community that instructs them on selling and showing their work.
This is one of my husband’s paintings currently on exhibit in a public art project in NYC.
I am also teaching corporations how they can encourage creativity and innovation through transforming leadership. I am also writing several books on creativity, transformational leadership, and the business of art.
Saundra Alexis Heath is Co-founder and Director of Heath Gallery New York and President of the Heath Group. She’s the founder of Show + Sell Your Art™️, and SOLD™️. These are signature programs to help artists and creatives advance in their careers and get their art work exhibited and sold. She’s an experienced creativity coach, and an award-winning business and marketing strategist.
Saundra holds a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and held executive leadership positions in brand management, advertising and public relations, producing breakthrough results for clients including: P&G, Avon, Royal Caribbean, The U.S. Postal Service, The U.S. Army, General Motors, Amtrak and Quaker Oats. She’s been published in Fine Arts of America and The Creativity Workbook for Coaches and Creatives: 50+ Inspiring Exercises from Creativity Coaches Worldwide edited by Eric Maisel.