Updated: Mar 17
Meet Ebony Bell!
Ebony has been a dynamic breakout speaker and committee member of the IWL Women’s Leadership Conference in Louisville, KY. It was Ebony who came up with the overall theme for IWL 2020: Be the Change.
Ebony has been with Humana for nine years and currently works as a Senior Market Partnership Professional in the Medicare department. She has her BA in Arts Administration with a concentration in Business Administration and Theatre Professional from the University of Kentucky, as well as a MBA with a specialization in Human Resources from Indiana Wesleyan University.
When asked how others could Be the Change, Ebony shared the following advice, including her own impactful life experience that has given her strength and allowed her to commit herself to being a CHANGEMAKER.
"I think right now more than ever it is time for everyone to look within and ask themselves how they can be used to make necessary changes in their community. Too many times we often have the ability to analyze issues to determine what changes need to happen, but maybe because of fear or the treacherous imposter syndrome we look to others to do the work. Well I can personally tell you to make a difference in the world that many are seeking we all must “Be the Change,” we have to do the work to get to the results we need so desperately right now.
Well how you ask? How do I Be The Change?
I know for certain people are motivated to go the extra mile when they have a defining moment and for me that moment happened in 2017.
In June 2017 my 18-year-old cousin, Ryse (pronounced like Rise), was diagnosed with Renal medullary carcinoma (RMC). This is an aggressive form of kidney cancer that typically affects young adults, and is almost exclusively associated with the sickle cell trait. Ryse was an upstanding, intelligent, future Division-1 basketball athlete set to graduate high school and take on the world. He was diagnosed a week before his graduation with this cancer at stage 4, and he died the day before his graduation.
I received the news as I landed in California to be with my family to celebrate Ryse’s graduation. I was in complete shock and disbelief of this tragic loss. I prayed to have clarity and a clear direction to see how to support my uncle and aunt, Ryse’s parents as well as his sister. I didn’t want my grief or pain to overshadow how I needed to support them through this time. I felt I needed to be still, just be there and just observe what everyone else had to say about Ryse.
He had a vigil at his neighborhood basketball court and hundreds of people from the age of 5 to 65 were there to show their love for Ryse, people spoke about him like he was a superstar and I was completely astonished, really in awe of how my cousin lived his life. Since he and my family lived in California I didn’t see them often and didn’t know Ryse or his sister as intimately as my cousins in Kentucky, but that day I got to know him through his community.
They spoke about his passion for life, his drive to be the greatest basketball player he could be and his love for helping people. It was a complete life-changing moment for me and many others.
We now have a saying in our family #Ryseup in honor of him, to rise up above adversity and be who you are destined to be, live your life to the fullest. So I continue to #Ryseup each day and walk in my purpose which is to help empower and motivate women to be their best selves, I’ve always known this for several years but now it means something different. I strive to do my best each day just as Ryse did in his community.
We are all Changemakers, we just need to hold onto our why, what drives us, inspires us and step out into our calling. It can be big or small but we all have defining moments."
IWL Foundation is very grateful to have Ebony Bell as an ally, mentor, and supporter. Thank you, Ebony, for reminding us of our WHY and showing us how to hang on to our inspiration in 2020!