My life’s work is improving professional and personal lives
I was brought up in the working-class family in Detroit’s inner city. Having enough money was a struggle for my parents and our neighbors. Their options were limited. When my father was hired by Ford Motor Company to work on the manufacturing line, we were able to move into a middle-class neighborhood. Even as an eighth grader, I could see the impact the new opportunity had on our lives. I learned an important lesson about inequality, and I believe this experience formed my desire to help others.
I wanted to be of service in a way that deeply impacted the lives of others. I also needed to make enough money to support my extended family. Happily, once I became an HP employee through an acquisition, I knew I was “home.” The company was a topic of case studies in MBA programs. The culture was leadership oriented, innovative, and employee centric. In Leadership Development and Organizational Design, I discovered a talent to engage and inspire others and to help re-frame challenging situations. I honed these skills and developed others over a number of years. I was making a difference and as a result, I was the happiest I had ever been professionally.
After a merger which changed the company and culture, I needed to try something different. I went back to school and for a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language. Teaching is not so different from the work I did in Leadership development. They both require pre- and post-assessing, curriculum development, creating goals, creating or finding content, facilitation, audience/classroom management, and coaching. Best of all, I was able to continue making a difference for others. Sadly, the dire financial circumstances of higher education are now forcing me to re-invent my career again.
Reinvention was not new to me. In September of 1996, I survived a serious car accident in which took the life of one of my dear friends. It took 6 months for me to get back to work and another year to heal completely. Had it not been for HP’s intervention with my HMO, I would not be without pain or walking normally today. I learned so many lessons from this experience. Paramount was the reality of my vulnerability and the generosity of others who came to my aid. l also learned how strong my determination, resiliency and can-do attitude is.
(The Head of the Spinal Center told me I would be in a body cast for months. I told him I would dance by December. I did– on crutches.)
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