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Champion of arts education, ASU grad student receive MLK Jr. awards

Teniqua Broughton, Simone Bayfield will be honored at ASU's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21 during a private virtual online event

Teniqua Broughton and Simone Bayfield are the 2021 ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Servant-Leadership awardees.

Teniqua Broughton (left) and Simone Bayfield will be honored at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21 during a private virtual online event.

January 04, 2021

Two women with a passion for philanthropy have been selected as the 2021 ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Servant-Leadership awardees as a part of Arizona State University’s 36th annual MLK Jr. Celebration, for their influential work in arts education, women’s and homeless shelters, and advocacy for minority students.

Teniqua Broughton and Simone Bayfield will be honored at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21 during a private virtual online event. This year’s theme is “Race may differ. Respect everyone.”

The awardees were selected by the ASU MLK Jr. Committee for their servant leadership: a philosophy of serving first, then leading as a way of expanding service.

Teniqua Broughton, Servant-Leadership Award

Teniqua Broughton was a student-athlete at ASU preparing to graduate when she took her first theater class.

Broughton, pursuing a degree in interdisciplinary studies in educational psychology with an emphasis in theater for youth, knew she wanted to work with children in some capacity, but it was during the theater class when she decided to intersect those two passions and turn it into a career.

“I found that I fell in love with just the energy behind what it took to remember your lines,” Broughton said. “I think very similar, being a former student-athlete, the dedication, so I was really kind of connected to that, and the emotion that I had to put into the scene, so you really are becoming the character that you were reading or representing. And so, that class was really when I knew at that point, that I wanted to still work with kids to a degree, but I knew arts and arts education was my interest."

Broughton had the opportunity to work as a counselor for Camp Broadway at ASU Gammage, a multi-day theater camp for children ages 10 to 17 to learn acting, scene study, improvisation, music theory, singing and dancing, while building self-esteem, teamwork skills and creative potential.

After her success with Camp Broadway, the perennial Sun Devil found her first full-time job at ASU Gammage as a cultural participation manager. It was at ASU Gammage where Broughton first realized the impact of her work in arts education through the Journey Home program, which she called “instrumental” to her professional journey.

Journey Home is an intensive four-week program for women incarcerated at the Maricopa County Estrella Jail. Through creative writing, expressive movement, storytelling and visual arts, the ASU Gammage program is designed to raise the awareness and consciousness of the women so they feel empowered to create a different life for themselves in the future.

Broughton said it was “dear to my heart” to “see how arts become the medium for them, that 'You know what, when I leave here, I have the opportunity to be a better mother, a better sister, cousin, wife.'”

“To see the transformation of women who are incarcerated for the choices that they have made ... that's what makes me feel excited about it,” Broughton said. “And so, when I think about it more, it's the fact that I can be a part of just changing maybe one person's life, whether it's a woman, whether it's a child, that's what makes me feel excited about it.”

At ASU Gammage, Broughton also worked with Desert Harbor Elementary School in Peoria, Arizona, to help teachers with arts integration strategies. She called her five years working with the school her “greatest gift.”

To Broughton, arts education is about the inclusivity for different types of learners to engage with material in a way that makes sense to them. 

“Arts education has given really a platform to make sure that ... there's inclusivity in the learning process, and the engagement process of bringing people and kids together,” Broughton said. “So, when I think about a child who may be struggling with just auditory learning, or just completely visual learning in a platform, this was an opportunity to use different tools and skills and ways to engage them.

"So, for me, it develops the whole child, it provides an opportunity for them to be well-rounded, and to enter into the world and experiences in a way in which you can appreciate people, things and experiences that maybe you haven't had, that would allow you to be a little bit more open-minded because the arts have provided that for you.”

As much passion as Broughton had for each of the roles she worked in previously, she wanted to have a bigger impact in her work, which she saw in herself as being “much more community-oriented than sector-oriented.”

“As I traveled on my journey to different jobs, I started to notice that I was not going to compromise my community leadership for staying within a box space,” Broughton said. “And I started to realize that that's how I could grow departments, that's how I could grow an organization. But I wanted to build something that I had, and I didn't really want to have to compromise what I was doing ... in the community because I knew it was benefiting my organization.”

Broughton founded her company, VerveSimone Consulting, in 2013, through which she supports nonprofits in the areas of arts, culture, social services and education.

“So now, almost six years plus of having worked among consulting, it's pivoted, I want to say with different skills that I can do, but I will say now, I feel like I really honed in on what I can do, which is my nonprofit, governance and management stuff,” Broughton said. “I can start an organization from the bottom up, you know, building it. And so, I've really gotten to that place where this is what I should be doing. And this is what I want to do.”

Even now, after years of service in the arts and nonprofit sectors, Broughton said she knows “my purpose is to serve others” and that being named a servant-leader made her realize “that's what I feel like I practice every single day.”

“To get this award, for me, means that I think about how I treat others,” Broughton said. “I think about what am I putting into the world that is a legacy piece? And if I walked away today, did I do a good job? Have I done a good job of being that leader today? And so that's how I look at servant-leadership.”

For Broughton, seeing the legacy of her work has been the most gratifying reward of all.

“I can think about every organization I've been at, I left something there,” Broughton said, “something is there, that's still going, that's associated with me. And that, to me, is what I wanted to do.”

Though she is proud her commitment to arts education and nonprofit work is being recognized, Broughton said, “I just think that you should travel down life doing right because it's the thing you should do.”

“I don’t look for an award,” Broughton said. “The things that I do with the programs that I do are the things that I love, the things that I get excited about, the things that makes me happy. So, to get an award for finding how to get to that place is unreal for me, and that somebody recognized that the goodness I might have put in 20 years ago is now all these pieces.”

When reflecting on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the namesake of the servant-leader award, Broughton said that “this is the moment to continue to platform bringing people together to truly treat all people of color as humans.”

“As a Black woman, who is proud to be who she is, with a name like Teniqua, I think the things that I see happening with the constant protesting and we're not going to stand for that, means that we have said we are taking back what we know we deserve, what we know we should be at the same line as, when we know that is important to have.”

Broughton also serves as the executive director of the State of Black Arizona, a nonprofit organization that runs leadership programs and produces data on African Americans in the state, which she said is how she embodies King’s “stance for action through our activism.”

Simone Bayfield, Student Servant-Leadership Award

When Simone Bayfield, a young graduate from Johnson C. Smith University, a historically Black university in Charlotte, North Carolina, moved back to California and started a career in retail management for L’Oreal, she never could have known how soon she would be changing her plans to pursue her passion for beauty — and changing lives along the way.

Bayfield had always been interested in the beauty industry, but coming from a family where graduate degrees were the norm, she never thought that dream could be her reality.

One day, Bayfield decided to leave her job and go back to school to pursue a cosmetology license. Soon after, she founded Simone Bayfield Beauty.

It was not just a love of doing hair and makeup that inspired her to start her own beauty business, but also the realization that there was a gap in the industry of providers who knew how to serve clients with multicultural hair and skin.

“Funny enough, one of my first professional jobs was actually Los Angeles Fashion Week,” Bayfield said. “It was very interesting to me that all of the models of deeper skin tone had to bring their own makeup with them because, so oftentimes, the makeup artists that were hired for these shows didn't know how to work with their skin type, didn't know how to match it. I really was just like, OK, there needs to be education, there needs to be more advocates in this area. We need to have more representation of artists that look like the models and look like the talent and really be able to provide everyone with a service, not just certain people.”

As Bayfield’s business grew, she found herself doing wedding makeup for a Broadway star and saw her work credited in People Magazine.

Her natural instinct to serve others never changed, though, and Bayfield would routinely volunteer at women’s shelters and homeless shelters in Los Angeles. By offering her beauty services to women — many victims of domestic violence — she gave them “a new lease on life.”

“When I was in beauty school ... the school would authorize these vouchers to the local homeless shelters, so that some of their residents could come in and get free haircuts and it was practice for us, as part of our training,” Bayfield said. "You could see these people come in with their heads held down, and they didn't want to look you in the eye and they weren't really sure what to say. And then, to see them come out and kind of straighten their back and put their shoulders back and look in the mirror and kind of reignite that spark in someone's eye, I immediately knew like, OK, this is something that I can do basically for free, and it's not costing me anything and something that I know is going to make a huge impact.”

Bayfield continued her work at the shelters, helping women who were ready to transition into the workforce get “mini makeovers.”

“Again, it was like, seeing these women that ... really felt kind of worthless, and felt broken and beaten down and didn't feel worthy of love or feeling like they deserved to feel pretty, and seeing again, that kind of light just really be reignited,” Bayfield said. “And then also, realizing that it was so much more than just a haircut or so much more than just makeup. You were really giving people a new lease on life and feeling like they deserved to be happy. They deserved to be seen as more than just a statistic.”

In 2018, Bayfield decided to go back to school once more and pursue a master of business administration. At ASU, Bayfield has continued to serve others, though in a different way than with her beauty business.

“It was pretty apparent to me when I first started the program that there weren't a lot of people that looked like me,” Bayfield said. “I was the only African American student in the entire program. And while that was an amazing experience, it was also like, OK, but what about our students here? Why aren't we attracting in more talent in our own local community? You know, where's the disconnect there?”

In addition to seeing the lack of representation in her own program, a summer of protesting against police brutality toward Black Americans was the tipping point for Bayfield to do something in the ASU community.

“I think everything just really exploded in the summer after Breonna Taylor and George Floyd,” Bayfield said. “And there was kind of a little bit of outrage from me and some of my classmates that the school wasn't addressing it, and that it was taking weeks for a statement to come out. And it ... very much felt like there wasn't a support system. And I was like, OK, myself and one of my other classmates started talking, and we really felt like now is the time, people are more open to change, because of what's going on.

"This is the first time that we're really going to be able to have these open discussions. And people are kind of finally accepting and acknowledging the fact that there has been this systemic oppression in our country, and it's part of our history, and that we really need to make a change. You know, why not us? Not why us but like, why not? Anyone can do any small change and start anything and just helping one person is really going to have a trickle-down effect, right?”

Along with her peer, Daniel Valdez, Bayfield co-founded Accelerated Leadership for Underrepresented Minorities (ALUM). The student organization is “a pipeline” for students of color to move into high-power positions in the business world.

“We just really started talking about how we wanted to get this organization started,” Bayfield said. “We wanted to have a place for all of the students of color to be able to come together to support each other, to create networks, to make sure that we have the resources that we need to be successful. With diversity now being such a hot topic, we really needed to take advantage of that and make sure that we were providing opportunities that maybe we weren't getting from the school to build these pipelines with these companies that were looking specifically for hiring diversity.

"And so, we really just started working over the summer of doing some research in our own class and seeing how people felt about the issue, brought in some of the other Hispanic students and started working on creating this organization so that we could not only bring awareness to the topic, but make sure that there was a community in place for ourselves and also for any future students.”

Bayfield hopes that ALUM will move to other MBA programs across the country, saying her dream is for ASU’s organization to be a “strong model” and “that we have a strong enough community that any student feels welcome and supported when they come.”

Bayfield said being a servant leader is about being there “to serve your constituents and serve your community.”

“That's what the purpose of a leader really is, is to not be the one who's necessarily the face of an organization, or the person with the most power or the most money, but it's about who's helping make the biggest change,” Bayfield said. "So, to me that servant leadership is really a leader who stays embodied in knowing that they're there to work for the people they serve, not the other way around.”

Bayfield’s advice to those who may not see themselves as leaders is to think about “what small thing you can do to make a positive impact in the world.”

“Martin Luther King Jr. ... was bringing awareness to issues that people maybe didn't want to talk about,” Bayfield said. “And so, by continuing to bring awareness to those issues, whatever they may be ... we need to remember that most of all we're all united in the fact that we are the human race, regardless of anything else, and that we need to always be looking out for the marginalized groups and making sure that everyone's voices are heard, regardless of who they are, what they look like, or what they believe in.

"So, to me, that's the best way to honor him. You don't have to be a leader to make change. Let your voice be heard. Have an open mind. Participate in conversations that are uncomfortable. Talk to someone who's different than you are and try to see their opinion. Continue to be empathetic to other people's feelings and use that to really form your own opinion.”

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