Friday, January 5, 2024

Season 3, Episode 1:

Exponential Growth

In this episode, the season 3 premiere, I’m sharing how we are preparing for exponential growth in the new year and what you can expect from season 3 of the podcast.

Season 3, Episode 1: Exponential Growth

by Dr. Joyee Washington


Welcome to the Public Health Joy Podcast — the safe space for real and honest conversations about what it takes to transform public health research into life-changing solutions for our communities.

 I’m your host, Dr. Joyee, a public health researcher, PhD survivor, and entrepreneur. In today’s episode I’m sharing how we are preparing for exponential growth in the new year and what you can expect from season 3 of the podcast.

 This is the joy ride you’ve been waiting for. Join us as we revolutionize public health through research done … with … for … and BY our communities. Together, let’s create our Public Health Joy!


Welcome to a fresh year and a brand new season filled with exciting expectations! In season 3, we’re diving into the theme of “Exponential Growth.”

In this premiere episode, we explore what’s on the horizon for Season 3, the innovative challenges Dr. Joyee is embracing for personal and professional development, and strategies for setting expectations and creating plans to catalyze positive impacts in your community.

Tune in as we navigate the path to a future of enhanced public health research, focusing on sustainable solutions, community well-being, and health equity.

For more information on transforming public health research into positive community impact, visit

Key Points

0:05 Preparing for exponential growth in public health research.

4:17 Personal growth and self-care in 2024.

7:56 Slow and steady growth vs. exponential growth in business and personal life.

13:55 Preparing for exponential growth in public health research.

18:19 3 key steps for planning for exponential growth in public health research

23:39 What to expect in season 3 of the podcast

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01:00 I am so glad you are here to join me for season 3 of The Public Health Joy Podcast. I can’t even believe that is 2024. If you’ve been with me for a while, or even if this is the first time we’re having an opportunity to meet, I want you to know that I’ve been on this public health journey for a long time. I have shifted and transitioned from believing I was going to be a medical doctor, to finding my love in research, to navigating the challenges of grad school, to surviving my PhD, stepping out into the entrepreneurship world, and becoming a podcaster. I created this podcast so we could share creative and innovative approaches to public health research and the relationships we build along the way that bring us joy!

02:00 Let me tell you something, this journey ain’t been easy. But what I’ve come to learn, and understand is that, even though the journey may be difficult, we have different seasons along the way, right we have different seasons for different points in our lives, and we have to start spending the time to understand what type of season we are in. So when I first started the podcast in the first season, I was fumbling a lot I had no idea what I was doing, I was in a season of figuring things out. In the second season of the podcast, that was a season of intentionality. I was a lot more intentional about what I wanted to accomplish with the podcast, the stories I wanted to share, and how I could build a relationship with you. We saw some amazing positive impact from season 2. But now we are in season 3 and I want us to level up. And I’m not just talking about in the podcast. For me, I am also in a new season of my personal life and my professional life and even my spiritual life. You may be too?

03:50 I have been in a season or a spirit of reflection for the past few weeks at the end of 2023, and moving into 2024. I was able to really take some time off. And I mean I have been working my behind off for the past 3 to 4 years since I started my business and I haven’t really taken a break and that’s one of my goals for 2024 is to focus more on my own self-care and rest, and so I decided that for the holiday break, I really wanted to focus on myself and step away from the business. That means not checking emails all day, not working on projects, not getting overwhelmed as the work stacks up. I wanted to spend time and enjoy my family and friends. And really be present with who I am in this moment. I wanted to take time to focus on what is it that I want to experience in the new year and what are the lessons that I need to take with me from the previous season of my life and into my next season.

05:28 You’ve got some people who talk about their New Year’s Resolution, that’s not me, but if that’s you. Do you boo, I aint mad at you, ok. You also have people who have words of the year, right, a word that inspires them, that motivates them, that encourages them in the new year. Maybe that’s you? It’s like setting an intention by selecting a word that speaks life into what your year is going to be, that’s more my speed. So a few months ago, I was thinking about where I was in my business, in my public health career, and in my life. All the things that had been going on. And I will say 2023, I didn’t have a specific word, but if I could sum up 2023 in one word, it would be “Transition”. I have been in a in a constant state of transition in terms of what I want my business to look like, how I want to show up in the world, how I want to show up in public health, transitioning roles in my family. We know change is inevitable. Transition can be very difficult and even painful at times, but what transitioning allows us to do is to experience growth. And one of the things that I wanted to focus on in 2024 across all dimensions, personal, professional, financial, spiritual, social, emotional, and mental is not any type of growth but “Exponential Growth.”

07:36 What I mean by that is we can experience all types of growth, it can show up in all types of ways. Some growth happens really fast right off the bat, some growth happens consistently and slowly over time. Sometimes when you are growing slow and steady you don’t feel like you are moving forward or progressing. But sometimes you get a little mix of both. For example, I live in Mississippi if you’ve been hanging around a while you already know this but when I was in high school my best friends mom had grown this little lemon tree from the seed of a lemon I think maybe she bought at the supermarket and she gave my mom a little piece of this lemon tree. So my mom planted it right in our yard on the side of the house. That lemon tree as small as it was probably 5 inches or shorter when we got it, just a little twig. Well, over the years, that lemon tree grew slow and steady. It got taller, it grew more leaves. It grew more branches, grew thicker roots, it grew a thicker tree trunk. It even acted as a shelter for birds because they would always build a birds nest every year and we got to watch the baby birds grow and learn to fly, so it was an incubator for life. But that doggone tree as much as it had grown we never saw a lemon on that tree. In case you didn’t know, We don’t really grow lemon trees in Mississippi, that’s not a thing for us, but I mean whats the point of having a lemon tree if it ain’t got no lemons on it. I think at some point we just believed maybe it just doesn’t bear fruit we expected and that’s fine. We still enjoy the growth that it has had, we just have to accept the fact that it doesn’t produce lemons.

10:06 Well that was until about 10 years later, we saw a bloom on the lemon tree and there was this little green ball that popped up, that green ball turned into a shriveled up little yellow ball that I suppose you could call a lemon. We were excited it was a new form of growth and now we knew that the lemon tree was actually capable of producing lemons. The months went on by, and then we noticed the lemon tree was covered in blooms. We had no idea what that meant, it was something we hadn’t experienced, I mean we had never grown a lemon tree before. But we soon found out that a whole lot of blooms, means a whole lot of lemons. That year we went from 0 lemons, 1 scrawny lemon, to nearly 1000 lemons. We had so many lemons from that one tree, we were up to our necks and running out of our ears, I mean lemons everywhere. What we experienced was the power of exponential growth.

11:40 For me, I have been putting in the work over the past 3 to 4 years in my public health research consulting business. I have been growing slow and steady. I have seen some amazing positives, but I haven’t quite seen the fruit that I want to see. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars, I don’t have tons of clients, I do have some significant work that I have done and I’m proud of what I have done but I will say it has been slow and steady, But what I appreciate about this type of growth is that I have really been able to take the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. I have time to make the tweaks and the adjustments. I have the time and the energy to realign myself with what makes sense, so going slow and steady has been super beneficial for my business as well as for what I do as a public health researcher and my personal growth. However, much like that lemon tree, I am at the point where I’m saying I want to have exponential growth, exponential meaning I want to grow at a faster pace than what I have been growing because I feel like I’ve put in the work to lay the foundation to be ready for that type of growth and finally bear the fruit that I have been expecting.

13:33 But here’s the thing you always hear people say you gotta be careful about what you ask for because you just might get it right and that’s one of the things that I want to be cautious about because I don’t want to ask for the exponential growth, and then I’m unprepared for the exponential growth. That lemon tree had spent years making sure that it could support the type of growth that was to come. You can’t have 1000s of lemons on a weak tree. It wouldn’t be able to hold the weight. That tree had to be able to adjust to new soil, changing weather, such as extreme heat, long droughts or even a bone-chilling freeze, on top of that it had to be able to soak up the right nutrients and if you remember 9th grade or high school biology it had to do a little something called photosynthesis all the time. It had to adjust to changing conditions and seasons. It had to learn and know it’s environment and grow in a way to support the exponential growth that was to come.

15:03 So what I am focusing on in this season of my life is really paying attention to those lessons that I have learned and figuring out. How can I use what I have done thus far in my 18 years of experience in research and working in my business over the past 3 to 4 years, how can I use that to help me to prepare myself for the growth that is to come and when you think about public health research and community engagement, and what that means and what that looks like we really need to begin taking that same approach.

15:49 In public health, we are all about seeing positive change, but that change doesn’t always happen as fast as we would like to see it. We have to spend a lot of time overcoming challenges and laying the foundation in order to bear the fruit we are expecting. In public health and in our communities, it is time for our exponential growth. There’s no question, we’ve been out here doing the work, slow and steady. But we have to make sure we are able to support the weight of this fruit that’s coming. Because what we don’t want to have is an exponential decline. Especially after we have put in all the work to lay that foundation. Then we put our communities at risk of suffering and relationships are destroyed because we were not ready. So that means we need a plan.

17:12 I consider myself a visionary because I can imagine big things for the future. But what makes me different is I don’t just see the vision, I can also create strategies and execute the steps it takes to make that vision a reality. In my personal life, in my education, in my research, and most definitely in my business, it all comes down to setting expectations and understanding how to create a doable plan to achieve the right results and bear your expected fruit. My vision is to improve the future of public health research by creating sustainable solutions that lead to healthier communities, prevention of poor health outcomes, and health equity. So I’m going to ask you a question: what’s your or your community’s vision, what is the fruit that you want to see as a result of the work you’ve done this far and where you want to go? No matter what your answer is we need to set our expectations and we need a plan to get there.

19:19 Based on my experience, I’ve learned there are 3 things required if you want to grow your community engagement, if you want to grow your research, if you want to grow your public health initiative, if you want to grow your public health program, if you want to grow your impact, this is what you really need to focus on, this is the plan:

02:00 Number one is preparation. Malcolm X said, “the future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” You need to make sure that you are getting prepared for this exponential growth. That means understand what does preparation mean for you and what does that mean for your community. If you were to achieve the vision you have set, what do you need to have in place to support it and make it sustainable. We have to keep the end in mind by preparing for our expectations that will become a reality. If you’re vision is to reduce the Black maternal mortality rate by ensuring every Black woman in your community has access to a doula and birthing resources, what do you need to sustainably support that reality. That means you have to prepare in a way that you can successfully execute the steps it will take to achieve that reality.

20:49 Number two is discernment. Now that can be a tricky one. I know in research we are all about the facts, the evidence, the p-values, right. But when we are talking about community engagement the p-values can’t compare to lived experience. What do we do when the numbers don’t align with what the community is telling us? We have to use a level of discernment and wisdom, tapping into our instincts, and actively listening. And there will be times when our community engaged research will lead us in the opposite direction of everything the textbook has taught us. In those moments, we have to use a level of discernment to make sure we are prioritizing the strengths and needs of our communities and not our own agenda as researchers.

22:07 Number 3 is reflection. We need to be able to set aside time for consistent reflection and evaluation of our practices and the impact (both intentional and unintentional). It is only when we do this, that we can adjust and shift, and understand the changing seasons that may lead us down a different path. This reflection needs to be both individual and collective. We need to constantly check in with our communities, but also we need to check in with ourselves as public health researchers. It is absolutely necessary if we want to be able to sustain the exponential growth and not create harm in the process.

Now here’s the thing, you need to prepare, you need to use discernment, and you need to reflect. That can seem like a lot. Especially if you are not used to implementing these steps in your community engaged research. But you don’t have to figure this out alone.

23:39 That’s what we are doing in Season 3 of The Public Health Joy podcast, we are going to get ready for this exponential growth together. We are going to hear from folks who are doing this work in the field, building relationships with communities, and we are going to share how we are growing, how we are striving for positive impact, and the actionable tools and strategies that are going to help you transform public health research into life-changing solutions. We are going to learn together how to revolutionize public health through research done with, for, and by our communities. Our guests have expansive public health knowledge and lived experience. They will be sharing their research stories with us as well as what brings them joy on the journey!

24:49 So if you’re interested in learning more about community engaged approaches to public health research. Whether you are a public health researcher, professional, leader, advocate, student, community member, season 3 is going to be the joy ride you’ve been waiting for. And when the public health life brings us all those glorious lemons, baby we gonna sho’nuff be ready to make some lemonade.

I am so looking forward to continuing this journey with you and I hope you ride with me. This is going to be our year of exponential growth.


I am so grateful for this time we got to spend together. If you enjoyed this episode, I need you to subscribe, rate, and leave a review. For more information on transforming public health research into positive community impacts, visit This is where research meets relationship. I’ll see you next time on The Public Health Joy podcast.


 © 2024 Joyee Washington Consulting, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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