It is now one month till the USA Ambassador Pageant starts in Florida at the Innisbrook Resort! So excited! Every day now, we have a challenge. Today is “all about me.” When I think of this question, the ending of the Breakfast Club comes to mind: “. . each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.”
The USA Ambassador Pageant believes in Success through Leadership, Integrity, Character, and Confidence – SLICC. This foundation is what truly calls me to this system – because I have succeeded / am succeeding because I have taken on leadership roles and strive to be the leader my community needs me to be, however large or small that community is – living my integrity, building character, and gaining confidence.
Who am I?
Passionate. Authentic. Vibrant.
Whatever I do, I do it with everything – when I cry, I am bawling like a baby. When I laugh, it is a full, belly rolling, sometimes to the point of tears laugh. I am an excitable personality. . . some call it “way too perky” while others keep feeding me chocolate and caffeine. Like the country song says, I am “unusually unusual, absolutely unpredictable” (song by Lonestar).
But that may be wishful thinking. At my core, I am a southern girl, born and bred – and proud of my roots. I am mom to two amazing young women, who are my heart and soul. Unfortunately, my gene pool must be a swamp, because I passed down my autoimmune issues to them both. If I ever asked God why I had to have so many problems (systemic Lupus, et al), I learned why when my baby girl was 11 years old, then her sister at 13 – both diagnosed with autoimmune, incurable and life-altering. I had it so I knew how to help them through it. Theyoungest is now just past one master’s degree and about to finish the second. My oldest has a master’s in education, specializing in STEM, and teaches elementary – and about to give birth to her first child. I am blessed.
Additionally, I love animals to a fault (seriously, I have six dogs and a cat). And the light of my life is my beloved spouse, Tim.
Last year, when I was honored to be named an Outstanding Woman in Business, we had to pull questions to answer on stage. I was in the latter part of the group and was so envious of the women who could answer so eloquently. My question was “Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would go back and advise your younger self to do differently?” My response was immediate. “Well, yeah. I’ve changed careers three times and am on my third husband. I wish I had gotten it right faster, but I’m Southern and we take things slowly. But at least I finally did it right.”
I’ve learned to be open about my struggles and life experiences. Maybe my story resonates with someone and helps them in some way. Having survived domestic violence, rape, near-death, and still struggling with self-worth, incurable diseases, and depression – I thank God every day I wake up and every night when I lie down to rest. I have fought to get where I am, but only succeeded because of the people who helped me. It is my calling in life to serve others and to help make this world a better place. If I only impact one person, then that one person can impact another. We build our future, one step at a time, one small act at a time. Through the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards, I have been awarded bronze, silver, and gold for many years – and Lifetime Achievement for my volunteer work and have currently recorded over 10,600 hours. Why? Because people helped me. People need help. Lawyers are in a unique position to give to the community in a way no one else can – and all attorneys should do so.
In the end, I am a successful woman, happily married, bursting with pride over my kids, working as a global privacy consultant (attorney), still pursuing my Ph.D., who cherishes my experience as a hospice nurse, dreams of being a talk show host, and frankly – welcomes every day and glories in the small blessings in life.