“‘Oh, there’s the Mercer Lady.’ It’s not Ansley. It’s, ‘There’s the Mercer Lady. She’s gonna help me go to college.’
At first, I was like, ‘The Mercer Lady?’ Then, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re identifying me with a college…they’re identifying me with help.’
Sometimes we take for granted resources we may have grown up with. My mom was a teacher. My dad worked at Georgia Power, an engineer.
So, there was never an opportunity where I didn’t think I was going to college.
I used to do pageants, so this is fun…
I identify as a double minority – being a woman, being black.
I think that sometimes African American women get painted into this picture or put into this box, that we’re angry and we’re aggressive.
That’s definitely not true. I think a lot more of us are passionate and vision oriented and goal oriented in fighting unseen and unspoken battles.
If I can dismiss you by calling you an ‘angry black woman,’ then I don’t have to listen to anything you have to say.
I’m just passionate about what I say.
Even just being a woman in general…mother, nurturer, entrepreneur, light of the world, giver of life.
But you can’t be angry, you can’t be tired, you gotta be resilient.
You almost have to fight this uphill battle…before you even open your mouth.
Sometimes it’s like a two-edged sword. Is that gonna stop me? No. I’m a chameleon. I work with the environment that I’m given.
Because if it’s not my voice then whose will it be?
I do believe that everyone has a divine purpose and a mission while they’re here on earth. So, for me it started with my job. I’ve always had a passion for educating others. So I actually traveled the country for four years, teaching leadership curriculum and group dynamics and just helping students, 8th through 12th grade, just evolve and find themselves.
Just making sure we educated the child holistically.
I realized I wanted to go back to grad school. So I was talking to the students about making good choices and finding your purpose and you know, goals, and setting those for yourself.
My work for the last eight years has been helping students and adults return to college. I work downtown on Plum Street. I have helped over 8,000 adults and seniors get more information about financial literacy, post-secondary education, financial aid…helping those students transition into college.
Seeing that urgency, that hunger, a little light bulb went off to me.
I am always looking for ways to inspire and educate others. For me, it unlocks a world. It’s not too late.
Success is not measured in wins and losses. It’s measured in the grit…the tenacity, the effort you put forth. My success is in my journey.
I don’t believe in a big war. I believe in small battles.
For me, beating the odds, being part of the 1%, getting my PhD., reaching back, helping others. Those things make me feel like I’m successful. It’s about the journey.
How can we grow together? I’m a team type of person.
You never know what you might have said to inspire another person.
I’ve always said that I want to be a citizen of the world. I want to empower individuals.
Education is that first step to financial freedom. It’s the first step to sometimes peace for individuals.
Even if you don’t do this grassroots work…just helping other individuals…going out into your community, being that positive change that you want to see in the world. That’s where the hope is.
I see the investment in the community that is going on. I see the need for my job. I’m gonna continue, hopefully, being a professor and looking at the higher education system more through Mercer’s lens.
Macon is central. It’s big enough…the city feel… and I can walk to the shops…all the restaurants. But it’s not overwhelming. My first full adult apartment is that downtown apartment.
It’s definitely home for me. I love Mercer. I love the impact that I am making there. I actually started part-time…from part-time to interim director in eight years. That’s crazy, huh?
We have a good pulse on developing the intown infrastructure. And if we don’t keep that going, I think that maybe we might lose it…we might miss that opportunity to bring more people in.”