Wow! I have so many, but I'll define two. The first defining moment in my career and life is my uncle’s — Ira Jeffers, English Literature Teacher — continuous push throughout my life to assist me with becoming a better writer. He would always make sure to write me letters no matter where I was in the world or in life, and that still means a lot to me ’til this day.
The second is my brother, Steven, arranging for me to immigrate from Nevis to the U.S. after I had just graduated from college. His generosity provided me with a way to jumpstart my journey into my career and new life. And for that, I'm forever indebted.
What challenges have you faced as a woman of color in your field and how did you overcome them?
In my field, I've come across many skeptics and naysayers. However, having grown up in Nevis and knowing what's it's like to struggle and work hard for everything that you have, I was able to build thick skin early on and overcome these adversities by taking it all and stride and proving the naysayers and skeptics wrong by letting my positive actions and prolific work do the talking; turning those nays into yays!
What woman inspires you and why?
She may be a fictitious character but I'm going to have to say, Nancy Drew. As a child, I used to read her mystery books religiously. The way Nancy investigated each mystery made me want to be a detective, but little did I know, this was just sparking my passion for reading and writing as I was learning how to really have a way with words through descriptive storytelling.
Today, I am encouraged by the strength and wisdom of the most powerful woman in Washington- Nancy Peloci!
What is your advice to the younger generation of women coming after you? The worst thing that can happen when you try something new is that you get a lot of no’s. But no can mean many things — not now, not yet, not ready. I’ve heard many no’s in my lifetime. And yes, it’s been rough at times. . . from the no’s, to not really having a working budget and everything in-between. That’s hard; so when people offer genuine help, accept it. And also accept that success doesn't always happen overnight. Things like building a brand, clientele, crossing off goals, etc. all take time. Just keep your head up, stay focused and keep working at it.
What does being a part of the African Diaspora mean to you?
For me, being a part of the African Diaspora means taking pride in and representing my birth country, St. Kitts and Nevis, which is the birthplace of the Great Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. And as the current President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Tri-State Association.
A few years ago, I created the Caribbean Emancipation Day Celebration; a holiday to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean Islands was once colonized by Britain. This national holiday is celebrated across the Caribbean and has many different names such as: Crop Over in Barbados, Carnival in Antigua, and Culturama in Nevis. Now, we can celebrate here too! This year’s event will be a two-day celebration held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Yeadon, PA from Saturday, August 1 to Sunday, August 2, 2020. Stay tuned for more details!