Black Girl... Amish Farm?

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

We're winding down 'Open Book October' and I want to prove that leadership lessons show up in the most unexpected places.

It's the summer of 1994. I'm working three part-time jobs— babysitter to two small boys, customer service rep at an antique store and furniture maker on an Amish farm in Grabill, Indiana. 

That last one is a surprise, right? Well, it's true! That summer I worked for the Sauder family and  made hand-crafted curio cabinets for Bath and Body Works stores across North America. We built, painted, and distressed these beauties until they looked vintage. And my job was to slap the fire retardant coating on each piece before assembly. It could have been worse. 

And, as you might imagine, being the only girl (and Black girl) on team was a bit intimidating at first. Each morning, I would drive the 50 minutes to Amish country and venture down a long gravel driveway surrounded by cornfields to a...

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From Amish Farm to Entrepreneur...

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

I’m taking a hard left this week to address something that I get asked about regularly.

Many of you know that during the pandemic I left a role I really enjoyed to start my own company. And now, when I’m out and about, I’m often asked: “Girl, how did you do it?”

Sounds straightforward enough. But this isn’t really what folks want to know. The question behind the question is, “Weren’t you scared?” or “How did you know you could make it work?”

So this week I thought we might rewind and level set. Last Thursday, I invited you to think about the power of reinvention. I used the analogy of surfers getting up on their board and asked you to notice the waves of opportunity in your own life.

As a reminder, reinvention is the action or process by which something is changed so much that it appears entirely new. So, if that’s the measure, I’m an expert in...

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