Born the daughter of Winston and Regina, the name Winstina was a natural choice for their first child. It is a blend of both names.
Winston and Regina immigrated to the United States in their 20s. They both applied to degree programs, were granted student visas, and flew here from their home of Sierra Leone, West Africa to continue their education.
They have lived here for more than 30 years. They saw in the United States a new home where they could pursue their dreams together.
The couple later sent for their child. Winstina traveled to the United States in time for her mother’s graduate school graduation. Following graduation, her parents settled permanently with the hope of achieving the American Dream with another daughter.
Over the course of her life Winstina has seen in her mother and father that resilience is a must, and that success is accessible through motivation, hard work, focus, education, and self-improvement.
Straddling two continents, while wholeheartedly American, Winstina grew up with one foot in a Sierra Leonean culture and another foot in American culture.
She was surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins and as she grew older by her best friend and her family. In African culture there is a collective identity centered around a shared sense of self.
Taking this teaching with her, she, like so many children of immigrants raised in our country, sees herself as a part of the fabric of the communities that have invested in her.
Winstina is committed to service.
Covenant House A member of the New Jersey Young Professionals Group of Covenant House between 2013 and 2015, she participated in the annual Sleep Out fundraiser in 2013. She slept outside during winter with others to understand what homeless youth experience in winter and raised over $890 to support Covenant House initiatives including job training.
Junior State of America (JSA) “Be the People” and “Democracy is not a Spectator Sport” are the JSA mottos. As a Columbia High School two term JSA Chapter President, she experienced in JSA that citizenship is not merely determined by a passport or a stamp on a visa. Love of our nation and civic participation in our democracy are the key to citizenship. She is a proud JSAer. Winstina is a founding member of the Junior State of America Alumni Association (JSAAA) on which she serves as a committee member. She has worked with members to fundraise tens of thousands of dollars to support JSA summer school programs for our high school students.
Obama for America Out of every job position to date, working as an organizer to re-elect President Barack Hussein Obama II was the most daring and rewarding for her. Winstina learned what it takes to win a political campaign. She moved away from home to work for OFA first in Pennsylvania and later New Jersey HQ. To Winstina, President Obama embodies the principles of the Desiderata poem by Max Ehramann. Say what one may about our 44th President, Winstina sees in him a man who loves unconditionally, strives for high ideals and is full of heroism. Along with her parents and mentors, he is her hero.
iMentor As a part of this program, Winstina was placed with a high school student who immigrated from Haiti to NYC. In order to be a mentor she pulled from her experiences of being mentored in high school by her advisor Jon and in college by her mentors Deepak, Benjamin, and Kate. She fundraised on behalf of iMentor for its programing.
WordPress NYC Meetup & WordCamp NYC 2016 She is a co-organizer of WPNYC Meetups. Her events are sponsored by A2 Hosting and are tailored to content creators and WordPress.com users. Recently, she has taught sessions on how to develop a niche blog, and theme selection. As co-organizer for WCNYC at the United Nations, she sought a strong representation of women speakers working as the lead organizer of speaker selections.
Guided by her knowledge of the open source software and planning and public policy, she was a Lightning Talk Speaker at the inaugural WordCamp US (WCUS) in 2015, and WCUS 2016.
City and Regional Planner
Winstina has a Master of City and Regional Planning and Bachelor of Arts in Planning and Public Policy. She has the dual ability of, and is open to, working as a Planner and a Digital Media Strategist to conceptualize, design, and execute online outreach campaigns in planning and public policy.
Entrepreneur and Writer
Winstina’s father works in construction. He works with his hands, throwing the strength of his body into his long arms as he helps to build highways and lay pipes on local roads.
The immigrant experience is guided by an entrepreneurial spirit. The rewards that come with your life in a new country, or the start of your own business, involve risk and sacrifice. It requires you to move forward in blind faith with the hope of creating something better. Her father inspires her to follow in his foot steps to take on contract work herself. Though she can never walk in his shoes, she seeks to keep in perspective what it has taken for him to raise her to be who she is today. Her father’s tools are his hands, and her hands have become her tools as well.
Today, Winstina works on her computer to write articles on her field of study,
builds WordPress websites for professionals, and holds WordPress trainings for her own company Planning Write.
Her articles are about communities, community development, real estate development, and transportation, and she maintains her own WordPress.com blog on suburban planning and community engagement in the town she grew up.