When we’re kids we get asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Growing up in New York, I came up with a Channel 7 Eyewitness News broadcaster, and truly believed that was what I was going to do. As I look back and laugh at what I became and my journey to today, I could not be farther from my youthful dream. My laughter stems from reflecting on my path where journalism didn’t even enter my mind when I was thinking about college some 10 years later.
I earned a summer job through Philip Morris Foundation where I became an assistant for Soho Booking, who worked directly with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and this summer job gave me tremendous insight into the business world, so with that I embarked in job roles that allowed me to gain experience and eventually earn a business degree. I worked for awesome Fortune 500 companies successfully leading the business and financial sides of these organizations for over 20 years then an epiphany led me down a new path.
I decided I was going into education. I remember the conversation with my dad, explaining to him that I will not be pursuing an MBA (that I could have earned with much ease) but a Master’s in education with a focus on diversity and equity. Picking my dad up off the floor from his dramatic response, required deeper explanation of my decision in our discussion. What I recall is that I couldn’t really put it into words, trying to explain that it was really something that I felt deep within me. I asked him to trust me and with grumbles and a hand wave he begrudgingly gave me his blessing. Here I am 6 years later writing a dissertation for a doctorate in Education Policy and with experience gained from the University of Washington, Bellevue College and the Bellevue School District I am the perfect mix of business savvy with a level of awareness and consciousness around diversity, equity and inclusion that can be used any and everywhere. My lesson learned is that I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up UNTIL I grew up with a desire to live life passionately, persistently and courageously.