My grandmother was a great mentor to me. She lived a life that demonstrated grace and tenacity. Although she had little formal education, she understood that education was the key to success. On a very modest income, she and my grandfather sent all seven of their children to college or trade school without going into debt. Through their sacrifice, six out of seven of their children worked in the education system and consequently helped others to achieve their goals. My grandmother always looked at the bright side of her accomplishments and the accomplishments of her family.

During her retirement, my grandmother went back to school to earn her GED. Her tenacity proved to me that it is never too late to go after your own dreams. Tenacity is important because between the rock and the river, the river eventually wins.

Following the example of my grandmother, I too encourage others to become lifelong learners. I support people remaining inquisitive about what is possible and what is around the corner. I have found that those questions will lead you on an entertaining path. For me, the path has led me to live in all four continental time zones.

I am very close to my family and thought that I would always live within a two-hour driving radius of them. While most of my family still lives in South Carolina, my career choices led me to Houston, Seattle, Denver, and Philadelphia. Each city has taught me important lessons about myself and given me an opportunity to broaden my perspective.

By making these career choices, I have been able to follow my dreams and expand my family’s horizons. Because I was exposed to this broader world, I made one of my mother’s childhood dreams come true by taking her for a visit to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. My mother had read about the Eiffel Tower as a child. Even as an adult, my mother continued to be fascinated by Paris. After sharing the trip of a lifetime, we hold fond memories of our visit to the magical tower. The inquisitive nature, started by my grandmother, continues to motivate and inspire me.