By Nicole Zabasajja
Our #Spotlight of the Week this week is on Kyshon Johnson, a senior at Temple University. Not only is she a full-time student, but she is the founder of 100 Other Halves. The movement was started as a way for females to discuss their relationships with their fathers. She got the idea after going abroad and seeing what a stable, two-parent household looked like. Johnson was also inspired by her own childhood and life, which her own father was in and out of due to being incarcerated.
Her mission is to interview 100 women all over the country and hear their stories regarding their fathers. Whether they are positive recollections or negative ones, all of the women Johnson interviews get to share the ways in which their fathers impacted their lives. Johnson is currently an intern for Comcast and her hard work has been recognized by Fox 29 News.
I don’t watch the news because there’s always so much violence and negativity displayed. I’m honored to have the opportunity to share some positivity for my city❤️ I screameddd!! I can not believe I have a full 2 minute segment on Fox 29!😭 The 100 Other Halves segment will be airing again at 5pm. Click the link in my bio for the full video🌸
So far, she has talked with 70 females in an effort to take them on a, “journey of sisterhood towards realization, understanding, and healing.” To find out more about her, go to her website, kyshonjohnson.com.
So tell me a little about yourself, like what you study in school, or do in free time?
My major is international business with a track in international marketing. I’m also a senior at Temple University, and I work at Comcast as a universal relations intern. I also do event series, Boardroom Exclusive, which is a website event for non-business majors, hosted annually. The next one is on Dec. 2. I like to travel when I can.
Can you describe what your home life was like growing up?
I lived in a single-parent household with my mother, brother, and sister. My mom owned a home, and always made sure we were in good neighborhoods and schools. Seeing my mother’s drive gave me a boost of motivation and ambition.
When did you realize 100 Other Halves was something you wanted to make truly happen?
I think that when I was younger, I was running away from home, because I wanted to see what was out there. That’s what gave me my love for travel, which is why studied abroad in Spain, which prompted 100 Other Halves.
How do you choose the girls you interview?
I shot a campaign for it, and since then, people began to reach out; 100 Other Halves is about having a conversation that may strike wounds, so I prefer people to reach out to me, to be comfortable.
What has been your biggest challenge with 100 Other Halves?
Obviously time, because it’s me trying to work with 100 other women’s schedules, and like kind of making things work so that we can meet up. Another issue sometimes is that it’s very normal within our community to not have a father, because there is this huge absence of fatherhood. And so, when I meet with some of the women, they kind of come to me like, well I don’t really have any issues. ‘I’m 23 I’ve never had my dad, like, I’m doing good,’ so I don’t really know what to say… then I kind of have to work through that wall and kind of show them, like, ‘Hey! I’m the same way, but I learned, this is how it affects me. Then they’re like, ‘Oh! I kind of act like that too.’ And then, you know, it kind of softens them up.
How has starting 100 Other Halves impacted your life?
100 Other Halves has obviously opened so many doors for me to meet so many powerful women. My birthday was yesterday, and I was doing a twerk class, and my best friend was like, ‘Who do you want to invite?’ And I honestly thought like, I was just want to invite all the women of 100 Other Halves. They’ll all genuinely my friends, but the other way that it has impacted me, is that as I’m hearing their stories, I’m able to learn how I was affected as well.
I heard about your new position in LinkedIn, tell me about how that happened.
For about seven years, since I was fourteen, I worked within the sports industry. I wanted to be the vice president of marketing for the NFL for forever, and I worked really hard and I was successful in it, but as you know, a year ago, Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee. The NFL’s reaction, the player’s reaction, and the world’s reaction to it, just really gave me a bad taste in my mouth when it came to sports. So I got up and left my whole career in sports. I was like, ‘I’m going to go into tech.’ Mind you, I’m a junior in a college, so my whole resumé is sports, and I’m trying to go into tech.
Last year for my birthday, I booked a flight to San Francisco and I reached out to alumni from Temple University that worked in San Francisco, and I asked them if we could meet up, and told them I would love to get a tour of their tech company and learn more about it and get advice. You know, pretty much just trying to build my network. I met a girl who worked at LinkedIn, and she was like ‘Sure, I’ll give you a tour.’ And while I was there, she was like ‘Oh, they have an interview available you should apply for it.’ And so she referred me, and I didn’t make it past the second round of interviews, because the interview style is so different.
I also learned that social media and society pushes us to ‘Be humble, be humble,’ so the more that I do in life, the more humble I get, and the more I don’t really know how to brag about myself. I wasn’t selling myself, I didn’t know how to. I’m so used to dimming my light, so that everyone feels comfortable, and when it was time to shine, I was literally like, “Um…” So I started working, I started going to more interviews to gain more experience. I started writing down all my experiences.
Do you have plans for when you’re finished interviewing all 100 girls?
I definitely want to have a celebratory event to celebrate all of the women of 100 Other Halves.