Venisha Arnold is a wearer of many hats. A former journalist, turned lawyer and community leader, Arnold has a long list of accomplishments, the most recent being sworn into the D.C Bar. The Thurgood Marshall Law School Alumnae and proud Texan recently spoke with HoustonTXBlack.com on her life, career, non-profit and her promising future.
What made you pursue a journalism career?
“There was a time in my life where I actually considered becoming an actress. Seriously. I felt the next best career was news journalism, even entertainment reporting. But as for media, I am still open to working in the industry as a legal commentator, political reporter or something similar in addition to being an attorney.”
What made you transition to a law career and when?
“Ok. So when I graduated high school, I planned on becoming a medical doctor; specifically sports medicine and my first semester in college after meeting with the pre-med adviser and reviewing the pre-med required courses, I changed my mind (laughs). I’m not a math & science person. My academic strengths are in the liberal arts. I originally expressed interest in law school during my second year in college after having a talk with my Dad. He thought it was great that I wanted to attend law school, because of course my Dad has a law degree too. After graduating college I spent a couple of years working in media. I have worked for ESPN, Fox Sports Net and CBS Radio to name a few of the media companies I worked at. It was fun and I enjoyed it but I wanted more and also I was not going to take the traditional route a lot of reporters take until they get that big break in journalism.”
What do you hope to accomplish as a lawyer?
“Of course self-preservation (laughs). but I will also have the opportunity to work on some civil rights cases, so if I am able to actually make a difference in people’s lives that would be awesome. But for now I plan to continue working in litigation. I work on an array of litigation matters from civil rights, labor and employment concerns and contract disputes.”
How did you start Persistence is Key?
“The idea for Persistence is The Key!, came about after I spoke with a group of high school seniors about a year ago. What stood out to me the most after speaking with those students was their thirst and quest for knowledge on how to succeed. It seemed like they asked me a hundred questions (laughs) and what I realized was that those kids and other youth like them need consistent long-term mentorship and that’s when the idea for Persistence is The Key! was born.”
How many mentors are currently involved in the program?
“As of now we have a small few but we are still getting the word out and accepting applications from mentors and mentees.”
How is the relationship between mentor and mentee maintained for the program?
“Once a mentee graduates from high school and depending on that mentee’s post-high school educational goals, the plan is to have a mentor in place to check up on the mentee on a monthly basis until the mentee graduates from college or attain their post-baccalaureate degrees or whatever the mentee’s goal is. The goal of Persistence is The Key! is long-term mentorship.”
Do you have long term goals for Persistence is The Key?
“As long as we have mentors & mentees their will be a mentorship program. But I am in the process of incorporating giving grants to other 501(c)(3) education-focused nonprofits that share similar goals as Persistence is The Key!”
Your favorite motto is “Persistence is Everything” – what experience(s) inspired you to claim this motto?
“Well. As the saying goes the only constant thing about life is it goes on. Basically no matter what you are going through and attempting to overcome in life do not give up on your goals and what you really want from life. Do not take a break continue to press on. The Instagram (I’m personally not on social media) page I have for Persistence is The Key has a lot of really good quotes about Persistence. But whatever your trying to accomplish in life do not give up, do not take a break, because a break sometimes turns into never finishing or accomplishing your goal you must continue to press on and persist. Persistence is The Key!”
How does it feel to be accomplished/successful?
“I have done a lot and I have a varied resume from ESPN to the District Attorney’s office. Funny thing about that I never wanted to be a prosecutor and still don’t but interning in a large urban city’s district attorney’s office was a very interesting experience that I was thankful to have the opportunity to do. So for me to answer that question I would say it’s a good feeling to be accomplished and complete my goals but I still have a lot I want to do.”
What do you want to accomplish next in your career?
“Being a good thorough attorney and just learning everything I can in the areas of law I practice in.”
Where do you hope to see yourself next year?
“Continuing to be happy, more travel, more fitness … oh and more passive income, I want to retire at 40. (Laughs) Seriously. I have a plan!”
Who inspires you?
“My parents. EVERYTHING I have is because of God and them. I hope to one day be a tenth as accomplished as they are.”
Is there anything I missed you want the readers of Houston Black to know about you?
“Never settle. Know your worth. Go for exactly what you want in life and don’t give up. Also support HoustonTXBlack.com, I definitely will!”