By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Feb 24, 2023 at 1:06 PM

OnMilwaukee's The Future Is Female series is brought to you by Alverno College and features some of the most interesting, innovative and intelligent women in the city.

Alverno College, for over 135 years, has strived to educate and empower women to realize their leadership, strength of voice and potential to lead in the working world. Alverno’s support of “The Future is Female” continues to showcase and exemplify these efforts by supporting the stories of grit, resilience and strength of character of present, past and future leading women in the Milwaukee community! #AlvernoStrong

Cree Myles graduated from Alverno College in 2013. Today, she serves as the curator of the All Ways Black Initiative, a space that celebrates Black writers and the readers who love them, presented by Penguin Random House. 

Myles says Alverno prepared her for this important and fulfilling job and that her time studying there was nothing short of a dream.

"Alverno gave me a safe space to dream and to learn about myself and the world around me," says Myles.

OnMilwaukee recently caught up with Myles to ask her eight questions based on the "8 Abilities" that all students achieve with an Alverno degree: Communication, Analysis, Problem Solving, Valuing in Decision-Making, Social Interaction, Developing a Global Perspective, Aesthetic Engagement and Effective Citizenship.

"Alverno also did a masterful job of teaching me how to learn. I can find out anything I need to know because of Alverno," says Myles.

Here are the 8 questions, based on the 8 abilities:

OnMilwaukee: What does active listening mean to you? Do you consider yourself a good listener, and if so, how has this helped you in your personal and professional relationships? 

Cree Myles: Active listening is ensuring that the person whom you are communicating with feels heard. It's making sure the other person feels safe to express themselves. When I am present in my body, well rested and well fed, yes, I am a good listener. People trust me because I listen well and that has had a very positive effect on my professional relationships.  

What was the last subject you were curious about and then pursued to learn more? How did you pursue it?

I'm in my first year of coaching track and field and naturally I'm curious about how to go about that best. Along with studying the head coach on the team I started following track and field pages on Instagram and I do a lot of Googling. I coach sprints for 10 and under so it's really about maintaining the balance between progress and fun because they're still so young. I also read two books about coaching but to be honest they haven't helped at all.  

If you can’t figure something out yourself, what source or person do you turn to first? How long do you wait before you ask for help? As a woman, do you think you wait longer to reach out?

My first sounding boards are always my parents and my husband, no matter what the subject. I feel heard when I talk to them and a lot of times the problem that I'm facing isn't as complicated as it seems after I say it out loud. I am not the best at asking for help so probably too long. There is a vulnerability in asking for help that our culture frowns upon. I'm learning to move past that, though.

What are your personal values? Who and/or what inspired them and how do these values affect your decision-making process? 

I value excellence. I value vulnerability. I value courage. I value truth. I value impeccability. I value love. I value empathy. I value boundaries. My values are inspired by historical figures I've learned about whose stories moved me and my ancestors. King Leonidas, Nat Turner, Kobe Bryant immediately come to mind as folks I have no personal ties to but whose approach to truth, courage and excellence all inspired me to be better. 

My grandmother is another person who deeply inspired my values. My values are the first thing I examine when I have to make any decision. "Does this align with where I'm going and what I believe?" That is always my first question.   

Technology and on-line communication/meetings/social has definitely changed over the years. Do these things help or hinder your growth – or both?

My entire career is on the internet so of course technology has helped my growth as a person and professional immensely. It is draining though and as of late I have been on the hunt for real techniques that offer a more balanced approach to my relationship with social media.   

Where is the furthest you’ve traveled and what is a thing or two you learned from the experience? And what surprised you?

France or Germany whichever is farther. Transparently I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and very sick so mostly I learned about enduring. 

What are your favorite art forms? How do you challenge yourself to actively engage in the arts?

As far as I'm concerned everything is art.  As I mentioned I coach track and field and a sprint race can be art if it's done correctly under the correct circumstances. My whole life centers around consuming literature and coming up with creative ideas to celebrate it so it's not hard for me to stay actively engaged in the arts.  

How do you/your work move Milwaukee forward?  

My work is focused on uplifting the Black diaspora as a whole, and Milwaukee is certainly included in that. I uplift and celebrate stories that center Black experiences, it's liberating and validating.  

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.