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Unleashing Potential: A Community’s Journey to Empowerment

Updated: May 28

Shiona Caldwell shared a dream to conduct a job and skill-building workshop for the residents at Families Moving Forward (FMF) several months ago. FMF is a 501(c)(3) organization offering temporary housing in Durham, NC. I assured her of my commitment to making her dream a reality even if it meant going solo. However much to my surprise, Tammy Baggett, Director of Durham County Library, and Jennifer Williams, Director of Learning and Development at Blue Cross NC both enthusiastically embraced the idea when I pitched it to them. Jennifer’s team unfortunately couldn’t support the initial launch of the event titled “Empowerment Unleashed” on December 6, 2023 due to a schedule conflict. Tammy’s executives and delegates from Sistahs Who Care, Shaw University, and The Rules of a Big Boss were more than happy to step in however.

Jennifer arranged a meeting for me to introduce the initiative to her team, sharing insights and effective strategies from the event on January 26, 2024. With their buy-in we started  planning the workshop as a series for FMF residents, in collaboration with Trosa, Euresrt, Dress for Success, Shaw University, Sistahs Who Care, The Rules of a Big Boss, and naturally, Durham County Library. It was an honor to share the stage with Jennifer in teaching networking skills to the attendees. I was well pleased to take on the roles of facilitator, hired muscle, humorist, and good natured target for jests from the ladies.

Jasmine Rivera, Director of Programs & Residential Services at FMF, conveyed the guests’ enthusiastic feedback, their eagerness to engage in learning and networking, and their collective desire for more such events. Her gratitude extended to all of us, though in truth, it is I who am indebted to each woman who placed their faith in me throughout this process. Above all, I am grateful to a higher power for guiding me to contribute positively to the community and for silencing the doubters.

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