Chris was born and raised in Baltimore, but left for Denver to attend college. In his sophomore year he decided to take a break from school and try his hand at running is own business based off a business plan he had made in class. The business was successful, but didn't bring in income for Chris and so he got a job at Home Depot, working nights and operating the forklift. Back in Baltimore, working during the day and night, Chris decided he really needed to go back to school. He went back to college in the evening and for four years continued to work day and night shifts while in school. After that, he took a sales position and three years ago, started his own technology business that outsources IT for banks and credit unions. The business now has 30 employees and is going well. Chris enjoys working with clients and employees and is excited by the growth he has seen in his company. He told clients, "passion and hard work make you successful, there is no special sauce." He also stressed the importance of networking. "Networking is constantly happening, but it is the follow-up that makes it come together." You should remember and reach out to the people you meet, he encouraged.
Sonya is a job coach at MND and shared with clients about the importance of sticking with it through the telling of a personal career story: Sonya had her first experience as a cashier down at a store in the Inner Harbor. She didn't want to be a cashier forever, but knew it was a good way to get her foot in the door. After six months on the job, Sonya's manager told her she was leaving and that she wanted to train Sonya for her job. When Sonya was finished with her managerial training, she was put in charge of 3 separate stores at the harbor and had a variety of responsibilities from hiring and firing to doing payroll and taking orders. Sonya had just been a cashier but she stuck to her new role and tried her hardest so she could be successful. "You don't know what things will lead to," she said. She also urged clients to find a job doing things they love. Sonya loved talking to people so retail was perfect for her. At the Inner Harbor she met people from all over the world and made a goal for herself to learn to say hello in as many languages as she could. She urged clients to stick with their job search and to put in 100% at whatever they do.
Karol works at Behavioral Health Systems of Baltimore, and described her career journey using one word: grateful. Karol grew up in the projects in Baltimore with 4 siblings. Her parents reinforced the importance of education and their childrens' value, and Karol's father was her biggest cheerleader. By surrounding herself with positive people, Karol was able to use what she had to make her life better. As a student, Karol was always involved in advocacy and leadership. She began working for the federal government in Social Security through a program her family's case manager helped her find, but she soon left for a job in the court system, as she was interested in attending law school. Someone saw something in her however, and she was referred to a position for a Senator on Capitol Hill. She didn't get the job she interviewed for, but showed her gratitude for having had the opportunity to interview, and was called the next day by the Senator herself and offered a job. Karol worked on Capitol Hill and succeeded at her job because "no was a not an answer". Even when her director gave her impossible tasks, Karol was able to complete them and impress those around her. She eventually realized though that she wasn't satisfied, and she left the Capitol for her first passion: advocacy work for the disenfranchised. She works tirelessly now to bring resources to those with substance abuse problems, and continues to go above and beyond.