Last week, I had the pleasure of joining The BOSS Network as the keynote speaker for its annual Boss On Campus High Tea event at Howard University. The students in the room were highly engaged and eager to be motivated by the women leaders who dedicated their time to share the life and career experiences that propelled them to success!
There was a dynamic panel that featured business and personal growth strategist, Yvette Gavin, savvy music executive, self-taught serial entrepreneur and business strategist, Kimberly Jones, certified dating coach and entrepreneur, Sharon Smith, RN. Speaker, Author, Global Nurse Educator, Certified Life Coach, Priscilla Q. Williams, moderated by Cameka Smith, founder of The BOSS Network, which is named one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women, by Forbes.com.
The women reflected on how they transitioned what they learned in their traditional nine to five jobs into successful entrepreneurial careers. Their stories of struggle, strength and triumph not only inspired the students, they had a profound impact of motivation for the adults in the room, including me as a new entrepreneur establishing my own business.
After my keynote, I was approached by several students who shared their appreciation for my words of encouragement and transparency in sharing my journey. There was one young woman, a college freshman who really encouraged me and touched my heart. She told me how inspiring my story was and gave me the biggest hug as she began to cry. She confided that her mom was a drug dealer, her siblings were homeless, and she has been struggling to change her life for the better. She told me that I gave her the motivation she needed to stay focused.
She had a special aura about her, and I could feel that she was destined for greatness! I instinctively knew that she struggled with feelings of guilt for leaving her siblings to pursue her education in order to live a better life. Some of you may understand the burden of being “the one” in the family who succeeds, in spite of all the obstacles that life throws our way. She will certainly have to pay the “Black Tax”, but hopefully her journey will inspire her siblings to follow her lead.
I encouraged her to stay strong and diligent in pursuing her dreams, and assured her that God didn’t bring her this far to let her fail. I gave her my personal contact information and told her to reach out to me anytime she needs encouragement or advice. It was in that moment that I knew my purpose for being in the room on that day. She inspired me to keep sharing my story! I had been contemplating doing less speaking about my book and personal story to focus on building my business. In that moment, I knew that wasn’t an option.
One of the greatest rewards of my career is the impact my work provides to the younger generations. There’s such power in sharing our experiences and life lessons. Ideally, it will help someone avoid the pitfalls that we’ve made along the way, but what I know for sure is that they will remember how you made them feel on that particular day!
I hope this blog inspires you to share your stories with the younger generation. I promise you, it will be a very rewarding experience!
May God bless you and yours,