Juanita Banks Whittington, A Veteran Who Advocates For Diversity and Inclusivity 


( ENSPIRE Business ) Juanita Banks Released Her Book “I Love My Daddy”

ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya

Juanita Banks- Whittington is a Veteran who has dedicated her life to social work, wellness, and civil rights. Juanita Banks received her Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore and her Master’s in social work from the University of Maryland Baltimore. Now she has become a DEI practitioner and an entrepreneur. She desires to educate and empower those who lived their best lives to help people understand wellness and put healthy practices in their daily lives to have physical, emotional, and mental health. Juanita Banks has founded Nehi Cares LLC, a Black-owned business named after the kindest soul, her grandmother. Nehi Cares LLC is one of her businesses that offers services to help individuals thrive and not just survive.

In addition, she established her own minority, women, and veteran-owned consulting business called Diverse Children’s Books Matter. This organization is to promote and bring inclusivity and diversity to children’s reading. With her certifications in Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Mediation, Juantia Banks has brought a positive force in both her business ventures to add equal opportunity for adults and children. She has recently published a new book on behalf of Diverse Children’s Books Matter called “I Love My Daddy”. ENSPIRE has interviewed Juanita to discuss her career, her DEI practice, the importance of diversity and inclusion, and her businesses Nehi Cares LLC and Diverse Children’s Books Matter.

Juanita Banks

What inspired you to study business administration and social work?

Obtaining multiple college degrees was a massive accomplishment for me. I always wanted to be a role model to my siblings and others, showing them that anything is possible with drive and determination. Running my own business has always been a dream of mine, and it inspired me to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Many skills I learned from my business degree have helped me in all my jobs, including being an entrepreneur. 

As I grew in my career, I always felt something was missing. That’s when I started brainstorming and thinking about degrees that focused on helping others. Growing up, I always viewed myself as a caring and compassionate person. People would always come to me for advice or guidance. When my mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I decided to get my Master’s Degree in Social Work. When picking this degree, I aimed to ensure I was better equipped to help her and others through difficult situations. 

What does a DEI practitioner do, and where would those services be needed?

A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Practitioner is skilled in effectively analyzing, developing, and implementing strategies to address DEI issues. Their priorities may be collaborating with companies to identify, advise, and facilitate diversity initiatives. Some diversity initiatives they may focus on include: analyzing company demographics, establishing or updating policies, hosting listening sessions, administering employee surveys, and revamping recruitment efforts for underrepresented groups. They work with leadership to identify the best practices to increase employee engagement, create employee diversity training, establish relationships with employee resource groups, and collaborate with leadership and employees to ensure transparency of expectations. 

You are the founder of Nehi Cares, what are the services that Nehi Cares offers?

Nehi Cares is a Minority, Woman, and Veteran Owned Consulting Business that empowers and educates individuals on how to live their best lives. Some services offered are wellness and diversity training. Wellness training focuses on helping individuals understand the foundations of wellness by practicing healthy habits daily to attain better physical, social, emotional, and mental health outcomes. As well as uncovering the ability to thrive instead of just surviving. Diversity training aims to promote a more inclusive and healthy society for all by helping people understand how diversity and inclusion relate to all stages of development, not just in the workplace. Nehi Cares starts with open conversations that uncover internal barriers by educating and motivating individuals to be the best version of themselves.

Please tell us the benefits of Diverse Children’s Books Matter.

Diversity in children’s books is proven to build self-confidence, teach empathy, and provide education about different cultures. I created Diverse Children’s Books Matter because of the importance of diversity. I saw a need for positive representation in the children’s books my husband was reading to our daughter. The benefit of ‌Diverse Children’s Books Matter is to provide a platform for children to see characters that mirror them and their families. “I Love My Daddy” is my first children’s book. It celebrates the unique bond between a little girl and her father. The book emphasizes the importance of fathers and inclusivity.

Has your experience being a Veteran influenced your businesses Nehi Cares and Diverse Children’s Books Matter, and if so how?

Being a Veteran hasn’t entirely influenced me in creating Nehi Cares and Diverse Children’s Books Matter. My experiences growing up and becoming a mother influenced me the most. My parents suffered from drug addiction, mental illness, and incarceration growing up. Having the void of my parents influenced the creation of Nehi Cares with the desire to educate and empower individuals to capitalize on their strengths, overcome their weaknesses, set healthy boundaries, and access positive thinking. Since becoming a mother to my daughter Zuri, she has motivated me to write children’s books that she can relate to and depicts positive topics. I created Diverse Children’s Books Matter because diversity and representation matters, especially as children develop.  

How can we be more self-aware about diversity and inclusivity in the workplace and our lives?

There is always room for us to grow as individuals. Self-awareness allows people to understand themselves, their feelings, and their character. This is extremely important for people when they are looking to be more self-aware about diversity and inclusivity in the workplace and their lives. A few things they must do are first are be willing to listen, have empathy for others, be aware of their own unconscious bias, willing to learn about different cultures, create a safe space for open conversations, participate in diversity training, and be ready to participate in changes both in and outside the workplace. These are just a few things and shouldn’t be considered a blanket response. They are just the first steps in growing as individuals. 

“I Love My Dadd” Written by Juanita Banks

What do you hope your book “I Love My Daddy” will bring to readers?

I hope “I Love My Daddy” will inspire families to read together, cherish special memories, relate to the characters, and see the importance fathers play in their children’s lives.

Have you written any other books besides “I Love My Daddy”?

Yes, I am part of an Anthology. “Who Am I” is featured in Joy 365 A Devotional for Joy Restoration, along with a host of phenomenon co-authors. It will be available in the fall of 2023. You can purchase both books from www.diversecbm.com and visit www.nehicares.com to learn more about wellness and diversity educational services offered.

‌Juanita Banks Whittington is a positive force that is helping individuals in their daily lives businesses and jobs. Her goal is to help individuals be more self-aware in the workplace and in their lives and be aware of biases. To book one of her services, such as speaking panels or training, go to her website. Follow her on Instagram for more updated information. If you want to purchase her books “I Love My Daddy” or “Who Am I” featured on “Joy 365: A Devotional for Joy Restoration” go to https://diversecbm.com/

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