When I was asked to speak to a group of young ladys, I immediately thought what I would tell my daughters!
And I don’t have any daughters just one son, so this is an opportunity for me to actually pass down my story to the next generation of business women.
I want to plant seeds for a future of being reliant upon yourself & your community. Build from within. I didn’t learn that lesson in any school. That was a life lesson!
My legacy to the next generation is the skills & mindset that it takes to not just be CEO’s but to also change people lives.
I want to start with this phrase: Be prepared. Be strong, be yourself, & always be of service to others.
Being an adult is a whole new world. It’s full of fun, full of love, full of opportunity, & it’s also full of distractions.
I got pregnant at 18, right after I graduated high school. But my father encouraged me by explaining that statistics show that most girls who have babies as teenagers end up pregnant again within the next two years, so don’t be a statistic. I was determined not to be.
During my pregnancy I went to school, made a plan,& did everything I could to prepare for the future. I graduated with a BA in Music Business. I have been to school 4 additional times. I now hold 3 degrees & 9 Certifications. Be prepared!
There is no handbook on life, on parenthood, or on being a female in corporate society.
I started my first business in high school, I baked brownies, cookies, & cakes for my friends. When I got in trouble for doing that( & yes I did got into trouble), I convinced my principal to taste my product & let me provide baked goods for teacher’s functions. I promised to do it at cost if I could sale my products to students from the concession stand before & after school. I took a negative situation, & not only turned it positive, but I prospered as well.
I was doing so well the athletic boosters complained & got me put out of business. That was the first time my business failed. But I didn’t fail!
This opportunity created a drive in me that was undeniable. It created a passion that could not be contained. I knew from that point exactly what I wanted to do in life. I just had to figure out how to make it work for me!
That was when I wrote my first business plan. I actually still have it, I haven’t fulfilled my ultimate dream, but I’m on my way.
God has needed me in other areas, but he promised me if I did his work he would provide beyond what I could ever imagine.
I went from baking cookies & brownies in my high school to working in 5 star restaurants in Las Vegas. I worked at Thomas English, Wolfgang Pucks, & a few other places. It wasn’t easy. Growing up we’re told a woman’s place is in the kitchen, but the culinary industry is dominated by men! I had to work 10 times as hard as any one else. As a black woman I am bottom of the totem pole. I get the shifts no one else wants, I get passed over for promotions. But that didn’t define me or stop me.
One thing I knew was business. I took a personal chef business through 15 years of growth, to know being a personal & product development firm specializing in food services. I also provide a service known as Cooking Therapy. I uniquely provide therapy while teaching a life skill. I never let my circumstances beat me. Be strong!
For years I struggled with my religion. I grew up as a Southern Baptist, my father was strict. So I rebelled against everything I was taught.
When in college I studied religion & almost converted to every type of religion their was. I don’t want to impress upon you my religious beliefs, but I will say that opening my mind gave me a greater understanding of how I was raised.
It also gave me insight into why I struggling with finding my place in business.
The world is alluring in so many forms. I had a child to support so I wanted to be financially stable. It took me a while to realize that all money ain’t good money. And trouble doesn’t always look like you expect. It can come in the form of a business suit, a pair of baggy jeans, or a dress; but its still a distraction none the less. It’s a distraction from you stepping into God’s true purpose for your life.
No matter who you are, where you come from, or where you’ve been. You have a God given talent & purpose. He is Empowered you with a gift to share with the world. Find yourself, have faith in God. Be yourself.
Find something you like to do, create value in it(you do this by making a plan) & monetize your passion. Always Serve God & Others. Go through life as a leader, lead yourself & others into a new direction.