Growing up in Orlando, Nekeshia Hammond’s mother encouraged a love of reading and good academic habits. This focus on her studies, along with support from family, is part of why she is so successful today.
Today, the owner of Hammond Psychology & Associates in Brandon is dedicated to helping children, teens, families, and adults through an array of services. She founded the practice in 2009 and “feels fortunate to have a job as a licensed psychologist because I love what I do! Helping people and seeing the positive transformation in people’s lives is an incredible experience.”
What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?
Most of my family and my husband’s family live out of town so our main family unit here is me, my husband and my 2-year-old son. I would have to say that our secret to success as a family is a combination of communication, flexibility, patience and teamwork.
Our schedules are quite hectic so we have to be very vocal about our daily goals and the things we must do together to accomplish those goals. At the same time, we understand the importance of being flexible and patient. Life can throw anything at you and even a great plan can get thrown off course. We understand we must work together as team to get through each day to provide the best environment for our son and ourselves.
What is your biggest fear?
It’s a little cliché. I wonder whether or not I am spending enough time with my son and my husband. The fear of spending too much time at work is one that I’m sure every entrepreneur faces.
My other big fear is not having my life’s purpose fulfilled, which is to help millions of children and families in my lifetime. I know I’m just one person, but I know I was put on this earth to help the community.
In a way you could say that my two big fears go hand in hand. As much as I want my own family to be close-knit and strong, I want the whole world to have strong family ties for the benefit of their mental and emotional health.
What advice would you give to other women?
Trust your instincts. Don’t listen to those who judge you, and don’t give up on your goals. In life, everyone will have an opinion about everything you do. This is especially true in parenting. We are often stronger and smarter than we think we are. At the end of the day, you have to go with your gut on most things regardless of what others will think.
What is your proudest moment?
I have had several. Physically, I was really proud completing my first half marathon. I’ve actually completed four to date. Educationally, completing my dissertation and then having the courage to start my own practice. I always knew I would start my own practice. In fact, I never worked for anyone else’s office. I just jumped in and started my own.
Mentally and emotionally, my proudest moment was becoming a mother. To experience raising a family with my husband has been incredibly rewarding.
What is your biggest achievement?
I am the first person in my immediate family to earn a doctorate degree.
What makes you happy?
The two things that make me happiest in life are spending time with my family and giving back to the community.
Teaching my son new things, watching him explore and learn and just listening to him, there’s nothing quite like it. When I look at him and see this incredible boy who needs nurturing and guidance, there is nothing better than knowing I have this opportunity to teach him daily.
I think this deep seeded pleasure I get from spending time with my family is part of what makes me love helping others so much. I want everyone to be able to feel those warm fuzzy feelings I have with my family unit. Some of the organizations I have worked with include the Guardian Ad Litem program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Joshua House, National Military Family Association and the Angel Tree program. I was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama in 2012.
How do you relax and take time for yourself?
I love to be in the gym. For me, it’s extremely calming. I started doing yoga in my early 20s and have found it to be a fantastic way to achieve wellness. I get so wrapped up in so many things, and yoga is the one time I am focusing 100% on breathing. I have the best yoga instructor and she says, “When in this class you think of nothing else but breathing.” After the class my head floods with everything going on in my life, but during yoga my head is completely clear.
What kind of message would you like to give women in the area or in this community?
Since I am such a strong advocate for giving back to the community, I want to tell women to help others. Find a way to help someone in whatever way that you are able – whether it is giving of your time, your monetary donation, your skill set. Giving back to the community can be fun and you also can involve family. Being charitable is often easier than you think because just the smallest random act of kindness can make a powerful impact on someone’s life.
Also, take some time for yourself. Every week I hear someone say, “I don’t have time for me.” Although I am sometimes guilty of using that phrase, too, I have learned to be creative in finding alone time in a busy world and urge others to do the same.
What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom? About your work?
My life’s mission is to help as many people as possible. I want to instill this idea of helping others with my child. Bullying, violence and hurting others seems to play out on the news daily, but I want my legacy to be encouraging people to help and support one another. If our children are the adults of tomorrow, I’d rather raise them to believe in boosting each other up than stepping on one another to get to the top.
How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?
I enjoy reading Tampa Bay Parenting to keep up to date on the various events and activities for children and families. I share the information with others to give parents opportunities to spend more quality time with their families.
What is your favorite thing to do with your son in the Tampa Bay area?
Our favorite things are going to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and visiting the Glazer Children’s Museum. Our son gets to learn about animals and explore new adventures at the museum, and both places have great learning opportunities for toddlers. He especially enjoyed the Noon Year’s Eve celebration at the zoo last year.
Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?
My greatest inspiration and role model is my mother. She taught me from a young age to have a strong work ethic and give back to others. She encouraged academic achievement and was my cheerleader for many academic and sporting events. My mother also is my role model in that I recognize many of the sacrifices she made for our family as well as her sense of determination. Thank you mom for everything!