Denis Waitley, a well-known motivational speaker and author once mentioned that “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them.At the age of 10, Jereshia Hawk was placed in an uncomfortable situation. Growing up without both of her parents, she knew early on that she couldn’t let her negative circumstances consume her. At 19, the only family member that was providing for her passed away and left Jereshia with much more than grievance, but a five-year old son and a grandmother to take care of. From modeling to owning a successful online fashion store, Jereshia made it her duty to strive for success while taking care of her family. She recently launched Empoweryoudaily.org, a website designed with aspiring others to reach their full potential despite the obstacles they might face.Let’s learn more about Jereshia’s journey.
Where were you six months after college?
I was very fortunate to have a job waiting for me. At the time, I was part of an Engineering Developmental Program which offered me the opportunity to learn about the company through their rotations. Being part of the program helped me figure out what I wanted out of my career as an engineer.
What attracted you to civil engineering?
Growing up I loved playing Sims and building houses. While in high school, a teacher recognized my curiosity and exposed me to engineering and architecture. I attended Iowa University for Architecture, however after my aunt passed away, I knew I wouldn’t be able to provide for myself and my family, so I returned home to West Michigan University and majored in Civil Engineering.
How did you balance your entrepreneurial journey (modeling, acting, business owner) while you were pursuing your education?
I love being busy, it keeps me going and alive. During those times, I relied heavily on time management. I was strategic about every step of my life because not only did I have to further my education, I also had to provide for my family who were depending on me. From Monday to Thursday I was focused on my education; Thursday evening to Sunday night I was on the road.
At the end of the day my motivation came from losing both of my parents at a younger age but also providing for my little cousin and grandmother. I had to create opportunities for myself.
Why did you start an online fashion store?
I was steps way from graduating when I was told that I had to pay $18000. I didn’t know how else to come up with that amount of money, unless I was going to sell drugs. I had to come up with another plan. At that time I had $2500 saved and I since I always had an eye for fashion, I thought that starting an online fashion store wouldn’t be a hassle.
It took me 7 days to get my LLC. Once I acquired that I started, I was able to start off with 7 products. I taught myself how to code and reached out to distributors and wholesalers. A year and a half later, I had 100 products and made over $57,000.
What are some of your long-term goals?
My long-term goal is to get my MBA and my main reason is because I want to reach a higher level of leadership in corporate America. There are not many people that look like me at the top and I want to change that. I want to inspire the next little girl who comes in the office to know that she can achieve great things.
How can one be successful in a corporate environment?
You must know how to network. If you don’t understand people, you won’t understand business. Having a good relationship with people will help you along the way. Also I advise young professionals to never eat alone. Use that time to meet people and develop some relationships
What does the phrase “ freshman year of life” means to you?
For me, freshman year of life is being uncomfortable while knowing that the possibilities are endless. It’s starting out as an awkward duckling wobbling and trying to figure out what life has to offer but eventually growing and learning from your surroundings.
Do you have any advice for those who want to be in the STEM field?
When people ask me what do I do? I tell them that I enhance the quality of life, I help make the world a better place. The STEM field is very rewarding and knowing that, got me through college. You have a direct impact of the quality of life. It can’t get better than that. I think the reason why a lot of us don’t go into the STEM field is because we are not exposed to it early on and that it is intimidating. My advice to anyone is do not give up. Having that persistence and knowing that you are smart enough to accomplish your goals will get you through.
What has helped you keep your discipline and ambition?
I always challenge myself, I compete with myself and not so much with others. I also have inspirational quotes all over my mirror. Every year I evaluate myself on things I’ve accomplished and things I didn’t. I am a firm believer in progress.
What are some tips you’ve used to help you save money? Put link of video
– Pay yourself 30% – (Find some percentage)
– Make a strict budget early on to know where your money is going.
– Live within your means
– Coupons and saving deals go a long way. Check out my video below for more info.
Why is it important for you to be a woman of change, a symbol for possibilities?
I feel a sense of responsibility for the next generation coming in behind me. Currently there are not many women of color leading corporate America and not many women of color who are in STEM fields. I want to pave the way for change in that space and start to change the statistics.
You’re the Co – Coordinator of the Internship program at your company why is it important for young professionals to be part of committees at work?
It is the most rewarding aspect to help other interns find their career path. I want to pay it forward and aspire others. Because I care and love the company I work for, I want to make sure that we retain key talent and help enhance the culture of the company.
If you were to write a letter to your younger self, what would you say to her?
Stop being hard on yourself. You are worthy of being loved, and successful. You have the potential to reach excellence, so be easy.
Complete the Sentence…
I’m currently reading : Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. By Simon Sineck
My drop everything and dance … Spice up your life Life by Spice Girls
When I’m not video blogging I am indulging in birthday cake remix from Coldstone!
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