Vixen Chat: Dominique Penn Talks Philanthropy and Activism
Vixen: What inspires you to do all that you do?
Dominique Penn: What inspires me is my mom and my kids. My mom was such a hard-worker. She’s just so driven and well educated that she’s always been my backbone and support system. She’s always told me to never give up on anything and to finish it no matter what. Just to see her—being a single parent, raising a young black woman in South Central—to see her make it, I know that I can too. My children are my drive. I want my children to be able to look back and say, “my mom was independent.”
Vixen: Amongst all the community work that you do, do you also do lecturing at schools or community centers?
Dominique Penn: My mom is a teacher, so last year I went to Narbonne High and we played a game called Shark Tank. They had to come up with business plans and I was the shark tank. They had to pitch their stories to me to see if I would invest in their companies. Sometimes when you give lectures kids don’t listen, especially high school students, so I wanted to take a different approach and teach them about owning their own businesses. We live in a society today that you don’t have to work for anyone. You can own your own business if you have the right tools. I liked the interaction with the high school kids because now maybe they’ll know what to do when they graduate. Hopefully they will choose to go to college and graduate. I chose the working route, I didn’t think college was for me, but it gets harder to go back when you get older. I use my life experiences to educate these kids and let them know that if they have all the opportunity and there’s no bills to be paid, then you take those opportunities because it’s had to look back and try again.