Vanessa Russell was recently interviewed by TheCelebrity.Online Magazine and below is the Swamp;A session we had with Ms. Vanessa.
Vanessa Russell As Cover Story Interview Feature – TheCelebrity.Online March 2023 Edition
How do you introduce yourself?
Vanessa Russell: My name is Vanessa Russell and I am a women who is loved by God and from that love I have achieved many things such as running sales, engineering and process and tools teams in the tech Industry for 30 years. In 2011 I founded Love Never Fails a national nonprofit that addresses human trafficking with housing, workforce development, prevention education, outreach and prayer. I am also an Adjunct Cybersecurity Professor for Merritt College, Board Chair of Oakland’s Violence Prevention Coalition, and a Pastor, wife to Pastor Timothy Russell and together we are proud parents of 7 children and 5 grandchildren.
How was the transition from your childhood into adulthood/teenage and what good and bad things do you remember?
Vanessa Russell: As a young child, I remember having a very active imagination. We were poor, living on $10k a year in San Francisco, far from our family in Pennsylvania. We filled the gaps in our lives with the art and simple joys found in trips to the library, zoo and park.
Most days I felt unsafe and lonely, but we made the best of it until the teenage years arrived. At that time it became evident how dangerous it is to be an interracial, black and white, girl in an urban environment without financial stability and a strong familial support system. This looked like being frequently pawed at, bullied, and abused and there was little recourse because my mother was traumatized and afraid and the rest of the family was absent.
The good news is these challenges fortified us; establishing my strengths in dynamic learning and systems repair.
We suffered greatly, but my Mother managed to find ways to provide low/no cost activities. One of my most positive memories was participation in art programs. As a child, I attended Betty May Dance Studio and SF Children’s Choir. In High School, I attended McAtee School of the Arts. I loved participating in plays and recitals. I chuckle thinking about those years. I was a young lady with no religious background who was living in heavy turmoil, engaging with substances and abusive relationships to address my pain while also playing the role of Mother Abyss in The Sound of Music and singing songs like “Climb every mountain” encouraging the audience to “search high and low until they find their dream”? How ironic and yet inspirational. Sometimes you have to sing the song before you experience it.
Struggle – What hardships have you faced during your life?
Vanessa Russell: I have overcome poverty, foster care, drug addiction, domestic violence, familial incarceration, childhood rape and molestation, co-dependency, anxiety and depression, and suicide ideation. My faith in and tremendous gratitude to God along with a committed prayer life has led to miraculous healing and restoration for myself and others I have met along the way.
I also credit my mother for doing the best that she could with what we had to meet my needs.
What things people usually do not know about you?
Vanessa Russell: I sang the star spangled banner in super bowl 19 in stanford stadium with one of my best friends Rachel Carassco. We were both in the SF children’s chorus together starting at the age of 5 and remain friends to this day.
I love to watch foreign films. Lately i’ve been watching movies about Finland, Israel and Pakistan. I love to learn about and celebrate different cultures and languages.
What make you unique from your competitors in the industry and life?
Vanessa Russell: I am definitely unique. I like to say I’m weird on purpose. I enjoy analyzing life while infusing a deep level of empathy. I like things done with excellence but understand when it doesn’t happen. I have a ton of passion about ensuring people are safe. Some people call me Momma V because of the way I care for and protect them.
What are your major upcoming events?
Vanessa Russell: There are vulnerable people all around us. Please take the time to learn about how vulnerabilities can make a people susceptible to human trafficking and help us to close this gap with your time and donations. You can support Love Never Fails at www.loveneverfailsus.com
What are your diet preference and physical measurements?
Vanessa Russell: I’m constantly working on my health although I don’t appear very healthy. I am not eating sugar or grains at the moment and beginning an intensive circuit training program. This is a constant struggle but I keep fighting.
What expert advice would you like to share?
Vanessa Russell: Start your day with prayer and gratitude. Recognize others for their hard work even when it didn’t meet your expectations. Love more than you criticize yourself and others. Never let being weird or strange detour you from being authentic. It’s ok not to fit in.
What are your social media links?