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Meet Dr. Zakia Robbins-McNeal of Brooklyn Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Zakia Robbins-McNeal .

Hi Dr. Zakia, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My quest for being more organized occurred out of sheer necessity. I have been diagnosed with chronic insomnia. For almost 40 years, I have not been able to get a restful sleep. I can probably write a book about that too, but I digress. Here’s the deal, my chronic insomnia forced me to have to be efficient. You would think that if a person couldn’t sleep, they might as well use the time to be productive, right? Well, I’m sorry that did not work for me. I could not be productive in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. Instead, it was more akin to being in a fog. In addition to this, when you can’t sleep at night, this also means that you are tired all day. The cycle of sleepless nights and tired all day was (and still is) my life. I had to find a way to make things happen, regardless of whether or not I was tired all day.

As a therapist, I knew that I liked to help people. As social media became bigger, I would share my ideas of how I would set up my projects and tasks for all to see. People would respond with “please teach me your ways,” or, “when are you going to package this up and sell it?!” I just never knew that it would transform into me helping others outside of therapy sessions. I created a system for myself to help mitigate my tiredness and the necessity to get things done. This system has been documented in my book #ALLDONE, a practical guide to going from college student to graduate. However, you can use it outside of the classroom as well! In 2019, I began accountability coaching to teach others how they could be productive and organized too.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road! Imagine feeling like you’re walking through a fog. However, you need to manage over 100 staff, complete your doctoral degree and deal with a multi-million dollar budget! Countless doctors would tell me that there was nothing wrong with me. However, there has to be something wrong when someone can’t sleep nor ever feel rested. I tried countless medications (literally every over-the-counter medication, herbal remedy, etc.). Nothing worked! But alas, I still had to perform and do well. I am tired daily, but many people would never know unless I told them.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I live a multi-faceted life! I am a former child and family therapist by trade. However, my current full-time job is as a college Professor/Program Director of the Behavioral Health and Human Services Department. In addition to my accountability coaching, I am also the COO of a mentoring program in the Twin Cities. Rounding out my roles is that I was just elected president of my sorority’s local chapter: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated: Iota Zeta Zeta Graduate Chapter. Not only do I help others navigate their busy lives, I still work to navigate my own!

I am a North Philadelphia native, where my understanding of the challenges children and families face in urban settings developed first-hand. My desire to serve others blossomed through dance education. My research interests began while working toward my Master’s at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, where I investigated a strength-based approach for families coping with ADHD. While working as a master’s level clinician and supervisor, I helped develop an innovative pilot program for children affected by ADHD and other mental and behavioral health diagnoses, which has blossomed into a leading model of service delivery in the Philadelphia area. My interest in Autism Spectrum Disorders developed more fully when I became the Director of Behavioral Health and Rehabilitative Services at a prominent school for children with Autism in 2010. I directed an intensive program specialized in comprehensive services for children with Autism. I completed her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and Development, with my research titled “Factors leading to turnover of masters-level clinicians in wraparound. My research has been presented at numerous conferences across the country.

What makes you happy?
Helping others achieve their goals makes me happy! Sometimes, people come to me, and they feel completely lost. I help them work through their goals and help them identify feasible, clearly defined steps to goal attainment. The sense of relief I hear from clients when they achieve their goals brings me so much joy!

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Dr. Zakia Robbins-McNeal

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