Where were you born and raised?
Jefferson City, Missouri.
What is your occupation?
State Farm Agent
What is your favorite childhood memory?
As a child, I remember being racially harassed by a small group. An older African American student came along my side, confronted the group by mentioning the name of each of their older siblings and clarified to me and the group, that I was one of the best students in the entire school. He looked me in the eyes and said, never give up!
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Through my decades, it's has been a long grinding and arduous task to uplift the mental and emotional psyche of many of my fellow Americans, whom were constantly inundated with negative media, ignored great contributions and shunned financial opportunities for family & business advancement. Now, more truth of my culture's value & contributions are slowly breaking through the negative rhetoric. Black History Month, is steadily bringing value to all of us Americans, by showing my cultures outstanding strengths, accomplishments and contributions.
What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
Learning and gaining access to opportunities which improve a family's generational advancement, without having to rely on a system which has historically - not demonstrated an interest to benefit the development of Black communities.
When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
I was the only third grader to get an A+ on a spelling quiz, and an A+ on a test. I was feeling great, and the class cheered for me. I went to the front of the class to get my graded results, and my third grade teacher told me, "Don't get too happy, you most likely will be nothing in life." My grandmother wiped my tears! Tough life experiences build character, and provides an inexhaustible source of motivational fuel!
Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My mother was a teacher and my father was a university professor. My grandfather, my grandfather's brother, my uncle and family's neighbor all owned their own businesses. My grandmother cleaned an office of a local CEO, and he use to talk to me while my grandmother was cleaning his office. My personal "village" taught me to press on toward the goal to win the prize.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
I have helped coach six young ladies to earn college basketball scholarships, volunteered for many speaking engagements, donate time & funds to under served people, and through my insurance business I help all cultures find a path to success.