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As my team and I approach the tenth annual, “Women That Soar Awards,” my heart and mind both overflow with emotion. I am thankful. I am nervous. I am overwhelmed. But, more than anything, I am proud of what my team and I have accomplished over the past 10 years.

In 2007, I was told it would be hard—almost impossible—for a black woman to create a platform in Dallas, Texas, that united women from all racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

I wasn’t swayed.

I knew the purpose and need outweighed any obstacles I’d face. I embraced the challenge because once upon a time, the opportunities that exist for women today, especially women of color, were unimaginable. From education to career, our options were limited.

Since then, the mental chains have broken and set us all free to—be! Today, ideologies such as cannot, will not and should not are merely chains that keep us boxed in or locked up emotionally, mentally and for some physically, in dead end jobs, relationships and lives!

As a single teen mother with three kids, for me, government assistance was not an option (especially if you know my mother). I worked hard to avoid becoming a statistic. Not only would I become accomplished, I’d became a role model for young girls, especially those who looked like me. I would open doors where others closed them—teach them that they, too, are free to be.

For more than ten years I’ve met a kaleidoscope of women. From Fortune 500 CEOs and celebrities, to a Princess of Saudi Arabia and everyday dreamers. Purse strings ranged from full to empty and homes stretched across palaces, gated communities and Section 8 housing. However, the one thing we all have in common is the struggle and stamina to overcome any adversities to make our dreams reality.

The journey there is not easy. Tears, overdrawn bank accounts and disappointments will abound, but once you’re on your purpose path, it will have been worth every heartache.

As I pen this blog, I think about those who have been effected by Hurrican Harvey. The lost of loves ones, homes, possessions and jobs. I know there is an overwhelming fear, anxiety, pain, tears and emptiness. Yet, I know there is hope, love and the opportunity to rebuild. In times like this, we can learn how much we need one another. How we’re our brother and sisters keeper. How we’re stronger together. l’m praying for those affected. It is my hope that we will continue to our acts of kindness, and not just during a crisis. I don’t know what the future holds, but what I know for sure is, if I were able to accomplish what many said I couldn’t, any woman/man with faith, will and ambition can too! And together, we can soar!

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