My book, a memoir, is also a road map. It tells about my journey to find my place in the world, a journey that had many twists and turns and its share of roadblocks. The reader is given insight into what life was like in the segregated south on a small farm and how that experience prepared me for those twists, turns and roadblocks. It describes the paths I took and how I dealt with the adversities I meet at various stages of my life - from childhood to adult.
Born on a farm in the segregated South, I sensed that a better life awaited me so I journeyed to the “big city” to seek my fortune. After a few years of dead-end jobs I came to the realization that education would be my ticket to a new world.
At the age of 22, I enrolled in college and with the help of loans, scholarships and part-time jobs obtained my BA degree. During my years as an undergraduate, a professor became my mentor and convinced me that I was Harvard material. In 1969, an era forever linked with the civil rights and burgeoning women’s rights movements I earned my MBA and achieved the historical milestone as the first African American woman to receive a Harvard MBA. I did not set out to make history, but simply wanted a better life.
After a series of varied jobs upon graduation, I found my niche as an entrepreneur. My building maintenance company was started in my garage, financed with a few thousand dollars. This was during the time when few women were becoming entrepreneurs and there were limited support groups for those who did. The company grew to $20 million in sales with more than 1,200 employees before I sold it.