Why Diversity is Important to Me​

My Story

I’m passionate about helping diverse people achieve more. I grew up in poverty and became a teen mom. As I stepped up the ranks over time into the middle-class (after graduating with a bachelor’s degree), I was faced with the stigma of poor people, which affects policy for us all. I believe a society with more diverse people where decisions are made will be better for us all. It’s why I’m here.

What Happened

I am an exception because I dared to believe bigger and made hard changes. As people saw my struggle, a few kind people decided to help me along the way.

One of the most challenging battles I had to fight was to obtain welfare benefits without looking for work so I could attend college full-time to get a bachelor’s degree. I got in just under the wire before laws were passed to prevent poor folks from getting a university degree. This one step changed the course of life.

During that time, I was constantly harassed to “go work at Walmart and work my way up.” I’m skeptical it happened because retail managers work many non-standard hours. It’s not conducive to caregiving. Some social workers were deeply troubled that I was “gaming the system” and getting “undeserved privileges.” I met other women who wanted the same thing but couldn’t get access due to the new laws. Frankly, even before the law was passed, the program was a well-kept secret because the goal is to have people working due to agency metrics, even if it sets them up for a life of poverty.

I got off welfare shortly after starting a new job after graduating with my bachelor’s because I made too much money. I’ve never been back on welfare since. I believe in retraining because I see how it changed my life and set me up for success (and kept me off of welfare permanently, how’s that for solving the problem). I can now give back – to donate time money, and share my story.

I’ve been told I was the exception by well-meaning friends and colleagues throughout my life and career. I was the one who got it right. I’m not like the other poor people. But I was one of those people. There are plenty of me’s out there who didn’t get the chances I got. My sights are set higher now, and life is easier financially (although other challenges arise, not worrying about making living expenses doesn’t mean an easy street, so I got that part wrong). I also keep my costs low because I remember vividly what it’s like to have more of the month left than money.

I sincerely appreciate the people who have helped where they can along the way, which is why I’m here.

Who I Help

Many female life coaches life journeys don’t match my journey, so it can be hard to take some of their advice when it seems so far off.
It feels even more off when they don’t have the racial or cultural issues to deal with.

I’m here to help other diverse women and persons of color who have the grit and determination, who are looking for guidance from someone who’s been down the path and made the mistakes, so you don’t have to. People who have dealt with personal setbacks still keep going and trying to find another way to do better tomorrow.

My Experience

Even back then, Tech was where it was at reputation-wise. I heard about the great money, the parties, the free food, and the swag. It sounded like paradise. Sure it was male-dominated, but what did that matter when it comes with ALL of that?

What I learned was that it did matter—a LOT. I had to interview more get type-casted into customer service despite having the background and training to do more. I got a job in sales and was the only woman on an all-male team. We were provided five (5) weeks of training on selling technology, a computer, a phone, and a paycheck (for the ramp period) and left to work cold calling businesses that already had suppliers for a company many customers had never heard of.

It was a difficult job. It was also probably one of the best training because I could make all of the mistakes and learn how to sell while making some money. Because their money was at stake, they provided excellent training. It wasn’t the best culture, but it was afoot in the door, which I needed since I didn’t have connections.

All About Failure

I held an inside sales role, which meant I could work 8-5 pm office hours, Monday through Friday. It worked better than most jobs as a full-time mom, and I still get back in time to pick up my daughter from daycare. It also could lead to a managerial role in inside sales or field sales (where you get to travel and meet people). All I had to do was work hard on this job and do well.

Which meant calling many people and getting rejected. I counted the wins, which were a few a day – getting in contact with someone live who could help me start developing a relationship with the company. I did it even though it was hard on my self-esteem. I learned not to take it personally to stay sane.

What was a more challenging lesson to learn was that there are people who will try to take advantage of you because they know you need your job, so you have to watch your back. In my opinion, it happens much more than it’s discussed.

Today – Let’s Rise Together

I held on kept pushing despite the obstacles. I’ve read countless books on sales. I’ve networked.
I’ve also learned some hard-won lessons.
Despite it, I didn’t give up.
I’ve taken chances and doubled down on risky opportunities, and won.

While I’m still a work-in-progress, I also would like to help others. We can all rise together.