When I was 3-years old, my single mother packed up her three girls and moved the family from Huntington, West Virginia to S.E., Washington, D.C. My adolescent years were tough. As an extremely shy introvert living just above the poverty-line, I was the victim of relentless bullying and petty theft of the 50 cents my mother gave me for the school snack truck. Those horrific schoolyard experiences drove me deeper and deeper into my protective shell. But those experiences also began to shape the adult and the professional I would later become: Someone who values hard work, lifts while rising, and gives back, especially to those who strive to thrive.
After graduating from Emerson College in Boston, an education I funded with student loans, grants, scholarships, and part-time jobs, I landed my first real job: Television news reporter in Columbus, GA. I majored in Broadcast Journalism, so this was my DREAM job! But I soon realized that although I enjoyed being a TV reporter, I didn't feel passionately about it - probably because I wasn't very good at it. A few years later, I left television in search of passion and fulfillment. And I found it, behind the scenes, in public relations, communications, and brand management.
My first corporate job was at Reebok International. I was hired for the entry level role of media relations specialist. During the next 17 years. I was promoted to the roles of manager, director, vice president, and then the C-suite role of Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, reporting directly to the company Chairman and CEO. My lengthy and unique Reebok experience included working directly with A-list celebrities Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Diddy, Pharrell, Venus Williams, Scarlett Johansson, Allen Iverson, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and many others.
Rockport, adidas Group, Nintendo, 38 Studios, and Boston Scientific rounded out my in-house management experience. Through these incredible opportunities, I was able to define my brand and craft my story, all while raising two children.