Women’s History Month Interview – Sibrena Stowe-Geraldino
BAYONNE, N.J. — In honor of Women’s History Month, today we speak to the strongest woman we know: club Co-Founder and CEO, Sibrena Stowe-Geraldino.
The theme for Women’s History Month this year, as per the National Women’s History Alliance, is “Refusing to Be Silenced”. What does this phrase mean to you pertaining to women’s history?
To me, refusing to be silent means being vocal and confident about topics and subjects that you’re passionate about. To speak up for ourselves and other women. Refusing to remain silent is a choice that women are making around the world and it’s about time!
Of course, you are a pioneer in the soccer community, as a female owner and CEO of the first principal Black-owned professional soccer club in the United States of America. How do you try to use your title and story to inspire others?
To be honest, I use that “first principal Black…” phrase because I can and as a woman of color, I should. Why should I? Because there are many women Black, Brown, Pink, Tan, and Blue who have been told that being the first was impossible or the goal wasn’t attainable. Everything and anything is attainable if you believe in what you’re doing and if you have the skillset and wherewithal to withstand the challenge. That’s it, let’s not make things more difficult than it needs to be. I have either a lot of fans or a lot of foes who marvel at how I do it or did it. For example, I believe that if you want a simple life and you work two jobs to have a comfortable home, car and can afford activities for your kids or yourself, you can do that! Not everyone wants to do what I do or how I do it and that’s ok. Do you to the best of your ability. I’m fortunate to an American and here, I’ve managed to live my dreams and help others make their dreams come true.
With the addition of the UWS squad, the NJ Teamsterz are creating their own path in women’s history. How excited are you about this new journey?
I’m very excited to tap into women’s soccer. US female soccer players are number one in the world and I know everyone at NJTFC is anxious to get started and be a part of that statistic!
Who are some of your favorite women’s history icons? How have you used their guidance/story to create your own legacy?
I have some pretty amazing women in my family who I draw from. My favorite female icon is my mother! My mother, Betty Walker-Evans (neé Stowe) was a talented woman who at 5-years old contracted polio, moved away from her family to the Seashore House in Atlantic City—an orthopedic resort for kids with bone and ortho disease now based in Philly. She stayed there to learn to walk and returned to her family in Philadelphia years later and thrived! She became a US Army Reserve Medic, was a part of the nursing team that took care of the 1st successfully separated Siamese twins, and eventually became a popular private-duty nurse. My mother taught me confidence, discipline, and integrity. She defied the odds, was told she would never walk and lead a normal life but, she did and no one could stop her. The US Army doesn’t know how she made it into the Armed forces. My mother was beautiful and fearless and I was taught by the best!
The other Sheroes are also in my family. They would include my grandmother Ola Mae Walker, a God-fearing woman. Like her, I’ve relocated myself for better opportunities. She did that many years before me, she met a man via family friends, corresponded with him and he came down to Georgia to marry her and bring her back to Philadelphia. She moved from the south to Philadelphia, a very bold move especially when you move alone, and need to get acquainted with a new husband who you’ve known for 6 months via writing letters. They had 11 children and a successful interior design and contracting business. My grandmother worked alongside her husband and was a “first lady” at their church, where her husband was a Pastor. She was dedicated to serving the Dunlap Community and was well respected, everyone in the neighborhood called her the same name that her children called her, “Mother”.
My mother’s sisters have been instrumental in my upbringing. My maternal Aunt Frances Walker-sister to my mother was the former Chief of Staff for US Congressman Bill Gray in Philadelphia. My aunt was a community activist and even at 83 years old, she’s now an adjunct professor virtually at MIT. A senior living home has a wing named after Frances Walker. She’s been a political influencer for many years.
My maternal Aunt Alia Walker Muhammad was a founding member of the “Million Woman March” in Philadelphia. She has also been of service to West Philadelphia until her death.
And my maternal Aunts Tia and Marion taught me how to be an amazing housewife! Aunt Tia taught me dining etiquette and entertaining high society. I inherited a limited edition of a book entitled “Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette” and believe me, it comes in handy! I feel like American’s are giving a bad rap when it comes to our culture. We have a complex and fascinating culture and I like to give my guests an amazing American experience when they visit! Thanks to Aunt Tia, I do it effortlessly! My Aunt Marion taught me to bake, sew and make wine! I spent almost every weekend at her house until I was about 16-17 years old! Most of the birthday cakes were made by her.
I can also count my 30-something-year-old daughter Natasha as my “sheroe” and who I look to for guidance! I’ve learned so much from her and as a young woman she’s taught me how to be a better woman, to have patience and compassion. That’s something that she has taught me.
I have some amazing women in my family that I can look to for guidance, even though most of them have passed away.
Now, if I were to name celebrities or influencers that I also learn from, they would include Oprah, Billie Holliday, Kim Crabbe – the first Black female soccer player on USWNT, VP Kamala Harris, and tennis greats, the Williams sisters. I look to my personal friends as well. I admire them and they’ve earned my respect because of their work ethics, their confidence, their achievements, and their ability to run their lives unapologetically. To be frank, the majority of my female friends are successful women and while I may not talk to them daily, I still learn from them and apply what I’ve learned, throughout my life. I am truly a collector of fabulously smart and confident women!
Sibrena A. Stowe-Geraldino (née Stowe/Stowe de Fernandez) is the co-founder and principal partner of the New Jersey Teamsterz Football Club (NJ Teamsterz FC), a professional soccer club based in the New York City region. The savvy entrepreneur, urban and pop culture expert is a wife and a mother from who developed an appreciation for all things broadcasting & journalism from an early age. Stowe-Geraldino studied broadcast communications at North Penn Senior High School , Montgomery County Community College – interning at WUSL – FM/Power 99 FM; She continues to take certified educational courses at Poynter News University and has completed an online master class with award-winning television writer, Shonda Rhimes.