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Inspiring Conversations with Jessica Williams of Zeal Reel and Love In Action

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Williams.

Hi Jessica, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
There is a saying that mothers know what’s best. I won’t say parents know it All, but they are intuitive and wise about certain things. Aside from other things my mother has been right about she was spot on when it came to my education and starting a radio show.

I remember when my mother and I visited Savannah when I was 12 and she said I should go to school in Savannah, completely against it at the time I waved the idea out of my head. I found myself applying for Savannah State in 2011, not knowing what the future would hold.

I had several hardships while attempting to obtain my degree including my mother being in and out of the hospital, which I will say tampered with my faith at the time. As a result of caring for my mother and financially supporting her, I began to heavily drink and smoke to “escape” the pain I felt on a daily basis.

I felt like no one understood what I was going through and sought temporary coping. I struggled with maintaining a good GPA for a few years. My GPA dropped to 0.59 before I knew it. I was told I had to sit out of school for two years at first, but I kept reapplying anyway. In 2016, I was told I could no longer attend Savannah State University because of my academic standing and would have to pursue another institution moving forward.

I was completely heartbroken at the news I had received. Although I was told no, God led me to a yes in Spring 2017. I paid for a couple of classes out of pocket for the summer semester and then applied for financial aid which I was told I probably wouldn’t get. I started back receiving financial aid and was able to take more classes.

The journey wasn’t easy, but with my professors, mentors, and advisors working earnestly with me I was able to succeed. With prayer and faith, I was able to surmount the obstacles that came my way. I knew I couldn’t mess up this time and I knew my mother would be proud to see me finish so I held on to what I knew I could do. On September 19, 2018, I started my show, Zeal Reel, which is to promote positive thinking to eliminates negative thinking.

My mother had told me years prior to me starting a show that I should consider it because she knew I would be good at it and might really enjoy it. I was against starting a radio show just as much as I was coming to school in Savannah. My mother expressed to me that Oprah started on radio and considering the fact I loved Oprah and her style of delivery on TV I should think about it.

Well, in 2017, it took many random people and Greg Williams, a talented photographer of Savannah to say to me that I should start a radio show. I wrote a proposal and had an interview which resulted in me having a show once every two weeks.

I was scared to wake up at 5 am every day to be on air at 6 am knowing I had to work and go to school. I went from airing live bi-weekly to weekly to 5 days a week in one year. I want people to know that trouble doesn’t last always and that we can all make it if we try.

I used to think my past mistakes would haunt me forever, but I learned we have to let our pain turn into purpose. Although I was denied for 3 years to return to Savannah State I kept trying, working, and having faith. My hard work and persistence led to me graduating with a 2.5 GPA in May of 2020.

I managed to make the Dean’s list and Honor roll before I graduated and was able to walk across the stage at our socially distanced graduation in December 2020. I started the Zeal Reel podcast in December 2020 and haven’t looked back on audible inspiration as I like to call it since.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My journey wasn’t easy and still isn’t easy sometimes, but I know faith and obedience are the keys to success. You see, at first, I was receiving information but I didn’t take heed. I was being guided but I lacked faith. Upon returning to SSU I thought it would be difficult but not as difficult as the hand I was dealt.

Although I had some good professors, I also had some that challenged me in ways I wasn’t ready for. I learned when trying to succeed you have to change the way you think. Our perception really is our reality. How we look at life determines how we move in it. I had to readjust my lifestyle from being a pessimistic person to being more faithful and optimistic.

I had to stop catching attitudes when handling business regardless of whether the other person has one or not. I had to stop getting into trouble, “stop clowning”, as my grandfather would say. I was involved with the law more than I like to admit while trying to get my degree. I would stay up late torturing myself with procrastination to finish projects only to have them deleted by accident the next day.

I had people that tried to discourage me. Although I got it back my car was repossessed, twice. My grandfather that helped raise me passed and my mother went back to the hospital right before graduation.

As you know, we’re big fans of Zeal Reel and Love In Action. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Zeal Reel was created to uplift and encourage people all over the world through audible inspiration. Zeal Reel is also a safe platform for people to be interviewed on how they got to where they are today. The ultimate purpose is to promote positive thinking to eliminate negative thinking.

Love In Action is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help people with love. Love heals all things. Love is an action word. L.I.A. is about spreading love everywhere we go.

I host events, create bags that I call Kind Kits that have items to help the needy, and also show love to random people through encouraging words when I am asked to speak somewhere. Love In Action is about showing love to others while helping people to love themselves so they can become the people they were called to be.

I am proud to be an encouragement to people globally and locally through my radio show, podcast, and hands-on experiences.

I air live Monday through Friday from 6-7 am locally in Savannah on WRUU 107.5FM and online on wruu.org.
My podcast can be found on all major platforms including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts, and more.

I take donations for events and the supplies/toiletries that go in the Kind Kits. I host events where I share personal experiences and aim to motivate and inspire my audience that is listening. I have hosted events for men, women, and children.

To donate to the cause or to be featured on Zeal Reel I can be contacted at 912-901-6301 or emailed at zealreel20@gmail.com.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Love is the most important quality to me because you have to love yourself to encourage yourself.

You have to love others in order to help them genuinely. You have to love yourself before you can truly love someone else. Love has helped me to work on myself and has helped me to work with others.

Love is sacrificial and at times when it comes to being a leader, you have to put your feelings to the side for a greater cause. None of us may feel like doing something in a moment but when we make the right sacrifices it takes us a long way.

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Image Credits

Jeremy Brownlowe

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