Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
I am just a small town girl from Marion, Indiana by way of Missouri empowering others take courage! I founded Courage to Go to encourage and empower women and girls facing self-esteem and self-worth challenges globally. Growing up as a fatherless daughter I struggled with low self-esteem and did believe I had value. It’s important to place an emphasis on knowing, believing, and embracing who we are in Christ. My heart’s desire is to encourage others to take courage to accomplish their goals by recognizing the unique qualities they each possess.
Whether facing fear, self-doubt or developing confidence, it is my goal to provide people with the tools they need to be empowered to go forth in courage, despite their past. Whether speaking, mentoring, evangelizing or acting I want to spark the courage in others to go forth and not allow fear to stop them.
In my best-selling book “Taking Courage: My Journey to Freedom”, I discuss my own personal journey that had stopped me from having the courage to go forth.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
At my very core, I’m an encourager! Life is hard and I try to make it my mission to spread love and truth. I want to bring a smile to everyone I meet. I consider myself to be an “Atmosphere Shifter”. I set-out to bring a smile and shift negative atmospheres into positive ones with kindness and joy.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
At the tender age of 10 I was cast as the villain Lavender McDade in the “Cabbage Patch” play. For the first time in my life I felt free and felt as though I was in my element. I continued to act for the next several years. Years later I was married and started a family, took a long hiatus from acting. A few years ago, I was cast in a couple of plays in my hometown. I was humbled and blessed to be acknowledge with a couple of awards. I knew acting was a passion that would never die for me. Later I began receiving invitations to speak to young girls and women on a variety of topics. This particular time, I was invited to speak to a group of young girls regarding resumes and interviewing tips. I read the room and realized the young ladies needed encouragement more than anything. I was transparent and shared a little bit of my story with them. I let them know that God had created them for a specific plan and purpose regardless of the mistakes they may have made. I encouraged them to believe in themselves and to never give up. So my love for acting and encouraging will always be apart of my life until the day I take my last breath. Currently, I am on a mission to ignite courage in others regardless of the platform I blessed to serve on.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
Growing up as a fatherless daughter was very traumatic for me. It greatly affected me in the areas of fear, self-doubt, anxiety, pain from the past and unforgiveness. I was also sexually abused as a child by a family member. I was left feeling as if I did not have value. I felt worth less. By the healing power of God and a lot of therapy, I was able to forgive and heal. I was so greatly impacted by God’s grace that I wrote a book entitled Taking Courage: My Journey to Freedom. Writing this book allowed me to further heal and also no longer be ashamed of failure. I am humbled that it is a best-seller on Amazon. I never could have imagined that it would encourage others to begin healing and spark the courage in them.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Tyler Perry – I have admired Mr. Perry for years. My love for acting began at the tender age of 10 years old. Acting has always been an escape for me as I have always had a vivid imagination. Watching his stage plays over the years have not only inspired me but also kept my love for acting ignited. His messages always dealt with reality, faith and the benefits of moving forward. I admire that Mr. Perry never gave up on his dreams no matter how bleak things may have seemed. He kept his faith and continued to move forward. I am glad he never gave up and that he persisted. He has also shown that he has never forgotten where he came from and gives back to community. I believe his passion and wisdom in navigating business in theatre/film and the tools needed to be strategic and successful would allow me to take my career to the next level.
Oprah Winfrey – Ms. Winfrey was the first African American woman I remember seeing on national television consistently during junior high until adulthood. She not only was the first to host a successful TV show but she did so for 25 years. In addition, she is a very wise and business savvy woman. She always emphasized the importance of ownership. In addition, to always sign all of your checks so you know what’s coming in and what’s going out. Her passion to help young girls and women directly ties to my vision and mission. To have the opportunity to speak to her regarding a business strategy would be humbling and I would be grateful.
Viola Davis – I would love an opportunity to sit and speak to Ms. Viola Davis. I admire how she fully embodies each character that she portrays. She takes you on a journey with every character. That is what always stood out to me in each of her performances – she WAS Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away with Murder”. She WAS Rose Maxson in “Fences”. I felt every word and emotion that she expressed during her powerful monologue. A loving, trustworthy and nurturing woman that found herself despite her loyalty betrayed. Ms. Davis has overcome odds and has risen to extraordinary heights. She never allowed her set of circumstances to keep her from soaring.
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