Tangela has always loved working with children and helping others. With whatever she does, she keeps in mind her values, which is helping others. When she was growing up, she wanted to be a pediatrician, but as she grew older and had internships in the human services field, she knew her new passion was to help children and give back in a different way. She graduated from Coppin State University with a degree in nonprofit management and sociology. Because of her desire to help others, she leaned towards the direct care field. After college, Tangela started working with children who were in restricted facilities and then later began work with children who were ready to transition back home. Currently, she works at Maryland Choices which is nonprofit geared towards helping families and children through direct care. She supervises and trains new care coordinators. “I enjoy where I am and I just want to continue from here. My goal is to become a licensed clinical social worker as I am working towards two masters certifications.”
From a very young age, Kristin has always been musically inclined. “I always loved the horn.” When she graduated high school, she auditioned for the orchestra, which was a very competitive process, but she knew this is what she loved so she stuck through. However, because of the competitiveness, she had several jobs while working towards this goal. She was able to land a job where she ended up working for 18 years in Denver, Colorado. She also went on to spend the majority of her musical career here. Kristin found work as a professionally trained musician playing the horn. Three years ago, she decided to move to Baltimore, and found herself in the same place as before, competing in a tough field. It was then that she realized that she needed to broaden her skills set. “I want to be a contributing member of society… to make a difference.” Kristin went back to school to get her Master of Business Administration Degree. Going back to school can be difficult with a family, but Kristen pushed through. Kristen received a call from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to do a consulting job with the Orchids program. With her new skills from business school she was able to tell them how to minimize costs and be more effective. “This was rewarding to me because the more financially stable a nonprofit is, the more they are able to help people.” Kristin is really looking forward to working with nonprofits and giving back in nay way she can. “Be open to things you wouldn't think you’d be doing. If I didn't, I wouldn't have met the people I know now.”
Ellis works at Morgan State Community with the Morgan Community Mile Initiative. With over 10,000 people in the Morgan Community, Morgan strives to make all members around them live in a suitable community. However, Ellis’ journey did not begin in Baltimore. In fact, he came from Jacksonville, Florida ten years ago where he was working at a small college. But before that, he was a tenured member of the Peace Corps, working in West Africa. Ellis thought he had it all figured it out. “I was studying political science, I was going to be a lawyer, then the president, then emperor, until one day I took a black studies class.” It was then that Ellis learned so much more about himself and developed his two strongest morals which he lives by everyday. Ellis says, “If you know you can do something and you’re not sharing it to make someone’s life better then it has not value, one. Two, tomorrow is coming so be prepared.” Ellis suggests that we find out who we are and drives us. “Go to school and become a leader…studier...thinker… People want to hire a thinker.”
Eric is the CEO of Tailored Training Solutions. Tailored Training Solutions coaches, motivates, and ultimately helps professionals succeed in the work place. Before creating this business, Eric helped social security benefactors receive their benefits on time. Eric has always enjoyed helping people, so he knew he was doing something good, however he was not satisfied. That is when he looked in his passion of helping people and created this business. Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Eric was determined not to be a statistic so he stepped outside of his comfort zone so much so that he moved to Costa Rica for 18 months. He did not know any Spanish, but he pushed and learned and was able to live in a foreign country. “Whenever I think about giving up, I just think about this time, and know that if I could do that, I can push myself to do anything.” Because of this determination, Eric was able to find Tailored Training Solutions. Eric feels that all professionals must have emotional intelligence, which is identifying, evaluating and controlling your emotions. “This is important to have for healthy workplace relationships regardless of skills or qualifications. It makes you effective.”
Reena is the Executive Director for Admissions Services with Laureate. Reena has always wanted to work in a college. Though she’s there now, it took her some setback to get her there. Reena graduated from University of South Carolina and went straight to grad school. When she got out however, she found she was stuck in Florida so she went to work for the clothing store Express. When she became pregnant with her daughter, she moved to Pennsylvania. It was there that she began her journey back to working in a college. One of her clients at Express was a junior admissions director for a college and told Reena that her school was hiring an admissions counselor. Unfortunately, Reena did not get this position, but because of keeping friendly relations and networking, she was offered another position that opened up at the university. “Networking and maintaining friendly relations is so important.” In six months, Reena was promoted and a position opened up at her alma mater. Unfortunately, in 2006, she had some setbacks that discouraged her and led her on a new life journey. With her then two kids, they had to start life over, but she made commitments to be okay. “I vowed to be okay spiritually, physically, and mentally.” Now Reena is back on track with a beautiful home and a great career that she always wanted. She says, “Life throws everyone curve balls. Keep your heart open and if you need help, ask.”
Thank you again to all our Connection’s Friday panelists. It was truly a treat to hear about your journeys and your passions!