My day jobs are many!
First, I’m a single mom to three amazing kids—that is my first, primary and ultimate responsibility above all else.
Second, I’m a home care nurse. I’ve also taught nursing at every level: CNA, LPN and both two- and four-year RN programs. That’s my passion and something I’ve wanted to do since I was in 6th grade and lost my grandfather while my father was serving in Desert Storm.
I was elected to be a village trustee in my hometown of DeForest. I am fully immersed in my community and appreciate the opportunity to serve. I’ve been involved in hiring new principals and the new superintendent and worked on the curriculum; I’ve subbed as a teacher and a nurse in nearly all the schools. I love being fully immersed in the community that’s shaping my children—and shaping me too.
I work with girls of color in the middle school to help them find their voice and their space as they navigate being in a predominantly white school. My goal is to help them move through that in a way that doesn’t take away their fire and their passion.
I also started a nonprofit that I opened in 2017: The Women’s Place & Resource Center. I created this to help women get on their feet, spiritually, personally and professionally. We’re just in the toddler phase of running this business—there’s been a lot of learning, growth and growing pains.
I have a big passion for this non-profit. Throughout my life, people have planted seeds in my heart that I was special and cared for. I’ve weathered some big storms and dealt with some very serious life challenges. The thought of other women going through similar things and not knowing what to do next, is why I started my non-profit.
After you’ve made it through whatever you deem a storm, you deserve a safe place where you can walk through the door and just be. That’s what women need and what I try to give them with the Women’s Place and Resource Center.
I’m working with Edgewood—my alma mater—to bring students from the schools of nursing, social work and business to intern at the Center. Edgewood poured so much into me, my life and my journey to do good and do more. It’s humbling to go full circle and open up my nonprofit to feed their students’ passions, goals and dreams.
With the Center, I have a two-fold goal: To be here for the women we serve and to be here for the students. These students are so smart and full of life; they’re brimming with creativity, spontaneity and ingenuity. They’re amazing and light a fire under me that’s infectious!
I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. I now have four degrees and I just finished a certificate on servant leadership. We can always do better and be better. I’ll be learning for all eternity.
My most memorable caffeine story happened when I worked at a Starbucks during my undergrad years at UW-Milwaukee. On the first day, they told me they like their employees to sample all the things they make so they can offer an honest opinion when customers ask. Let’s just say I apparently didn’t understand the concept of “sample.” By the time I finished my shift, you would have thought I needed Ritalin to settle down. I couldn’t sleep. My heart was palpating. I was bouncing from the caffeine. I was so grateful I didn’t have a test the next day!
My current caffeine of choice is a java chip with extra whip (from, yes, Starbucks). Or I’ll go for their Very Berry Hibiscus with extra berries so I can pretend I’m being healthy.
My favorite place for caffeine is, of course, Starbucks.
The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with are the following:
First, it would be Jesus—that’s a goal.
Then, Maya Angelou, because she captures so much of my mind and heart.
I’d want my brother, Michael, who died this past year. I would record that conversation so I could save it forever.
I’d have my Grandpa Don and Grandma Margaret, because I miss them so. Especially my grandfather. I always felt alive when I was with him; that I was so special. And my kids, sitting like sponges, soaking in all the conversation, wisdom and passion.
World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: The ability to change the lens I use for myself. I’m often my own worst critic. I wish I could do a better job valuing and appreciating myself, so that I would take better care of myself in order to better care for my kids, my community and the women I meet.