An interview with Bertice Berry

About Bertice Berry

Dr. Bertice Berry is a sociologist, author, lecturer, and educator.
No one defies stereotypes, generalizations or clichés more than Dr. Bertice Berry. Growing up poor in Wilmington, Delaware, the sixth of seven children, Bertice was told by a high school teacher that she was "not college material". Fortunately, there was another teacher who believed that she was destined for more. Berry applied to several schools without any idea how she would pay the tuition if she were accepted. The day her application arrived at Jacksonville University in Florida, a wealthy benefactor called the Admissions Department looking for a potential student "who could swim if they had the right backing," and might sink without it.
Bertice not only graduated magna cum laude from Jacksonville where she was awarded the President's Cup for leadership, she subsequently earned a PhD in Sociology from Kent State University at the age of 26. Dr. Berry taught sociology and statistics at Kent, and demonstrated that she knew a few things about humor, as well. She became one of the most popular teachers at the university; so popular, in fact, larger lecture halls had to be found to accommodate the ever-increasing number of students. "A colleague said to me, 'You're funny’, and I said, 'No I'm not, I'm a scholar," recounts Dr. Berry. It was then that she realized by using humor in her lectures to address such difficult subjects as racisms and sexism she was making a more profound impact.
Dr. Bertice Berry is also the best-selling author of an inspirational memoir, I'm On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head, and the hilarious bestsellers Sckraight From the Ghetto, You Might Be Ghetto If and the sequel You STILL Ghetto. Her first work of fiction, Redemption Song, published by Double Day in 2000, is also a Best-seller. Berry followed Redemption Song, with another bestseller, The Haunting of Hip Hop and took her readers on a journey to the other side. In August 2002, she released her most passionate work ever with Jim & Louella Homemade Heart-fix Remedy, a tantalizing yet spiritual tale that has won several awards.
Despite all of her honors and achievements, Dr. Berry is most proud of becoming the "instant mother" to her sister's four young children. She lives in Savannah, GA where she is active in the community."When you walk with purpose," Berry says, "you collide with destiny!"

 

Main points

  • Know yourself before you try to engage stakeholders.
  • If you are passionate about your work, life, and presence, then engaging stakeholders becomes easy.
  • Sometimes we make research the thing. Nobody connects with it. The point of connection is between two people. Not between people and research.
  • Collaborate with the people you need to affect. You want the involvement of others, but not everybody.
  • Try to collaborate with people who understand the outcome is more important than the process.
  • Your stakeholders can’t buy into your research if you don’t do it yourself. It’s got to be usable and in a language people understand.
  • Show the emotion, passion, and humanness of what you do.