Carletha Hill – Career Hero: Child & Family Parenting Expert and Community Leader
My name is Carletha Hill, and at 14 years old I became a teen parent. Since becoming a parent, I have always been inspired to complete college and give back to my community by helping other young mothers. I met my husband Willie Hill as a teen and we got married at age 21 and now we have three children together. We became mature adults at a very young age and became devoted Christians.
After completing high school, I went to St. Petersburg College where I completed my Associate’s Degree and an Applied Technical Diploma for Maternal and Child Health in 2004. I began working as a childcare provider, and later I started working for Healthy Families Pinellas, a child abuse prevention program. While working in Healthy Families, I was able to give back to my community and motivate young women to accomplish any goal and become great parents. It felt really good to inspire, motivate, and mentor young pregnant women. My husband and I became counselors in our local church and through there we brought many families into our home to help them become self-sufficient, break drug habits, and prevent teen pregnancy. We believe God has always called us to mentor His people where there was a great need. I met my good friend and mentor Sharon McCormick at Healthy Families in 2001, and we became instant friends.
As a Career Counselor she has always motivated me to complete my college degree and to continue doing the great work that I do. Sharon is the most inspirational person I know. She is not only a great friend; she is an excellent Career Counselor. She has supported my daughter while she has been in college and helped her to be accepted in internships to be trained for her Finance degree which she completed at Florida State University in April 2016. After completing my degree at St. Petersburg College, I transferred to University of South Florida and entered the Public Health program. My goal is to complete my degree and to continue working in the community to help young mothers to be great parents.
Diane Andrade – Career Hero: Communications & Media Superstar
Diana Andrade is the first of her family to go to college and graduate with Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts with honors. After a year of trying to get an entry- level position in her field she was able to do so an Account Coordinator for recruitment advertising agency.
With a year of experience and a stroke of luck, she landed a position for MTV Networks Latin America scheduling commercials. Once Diana was confident with her position an opportunity occurred for the Nickelodeon Latin America programming department scheduling and coordinating children’s programming for one of the top leading networks around the world.
Christian Adams – Career Hero: Social Work
I never envisioned myself as a social worker as I planned for a career out of high school, I had every dream of becoming an attorney. I was accepted to attend Campbell University and was set to begin fall of 1992, however as a new wife and mother taking care of my family took priority. From these humbled beginnings, I began to show one of the primary elements of a model social worker – helping/taking care of others.
As I continued into adulthood, it was my ongoing desire to help others that lead me to enter the undergraduate social work program at East Carolina University in August, 2006. I completed my undergraduate studies and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work by December 2008. While earning my Bachelor’s degree I interned at the LWG Intergenerational Community Center in West Greenville, NC. It was during this time that I began to develop a passion for macro level social work but more specifically for program development. I collaborated with other social work students and helped to develop a shoe box Christmas Program that provided over 300 children in West Greenville with Christmas toys that year. The shoebox Christmas program has continued on each year thereafter and each year is bigger than the one before.
After graduating with my bachelors, I was hired to work as a community social worker at the LWG Intergenerational Community Center. I continued to gain more understanding of how important it was to be diverse in both macro and micro level social work, so I applied to the advance standing social work program at East Carolina University. In May 2009, I was accepted into the program and graduated in May of 2010 with my Master’s Degree as outstanding senior with a 4.0 GPA. During my graduate studies I interned as a community social worker with Kinston Community Health Center, in Kinston NC. I worked with the migrant outreach program. I took on many social work roles during this time such as educator, broker, facilitator, and case manager. For myself, this was yet another way I was able to make a difference in the lives of others.
It was after graduate school that I began to view myself as a clinical-community social worker. I learned to utilize both my clinical skills and community engagement skills to help others understand the multiple layers of social influence on family’s lives. It was important for me to share with others my belief that inclusion of both clinical and community engagement skill sets along with building strong relationships would be imperative to creating success to transform the lives of those social workers help.
Today, I currently serve as the Triple P Program Supervisor at Durham County Department of Public Health where I am the lead specialist over regional services for Durham & Alamance Counties. I work closely with community stakeholders and practitioners across multiple disciplines to implement one of the world’s leading parenting programs and I also provide direct parent education to caregivers with children birth to 12. I have over eight years of social work experience as this point in my career in the following areas, community organizing, case management, parent education, and program implementation. I hope I have demonstrated through my own career that social workers can work in many different roles within many different agencies. I continue to tell those I meet, I didn’t choose to be a social worker, but that it was my destiny to be a social worker from birth!
Christina Gammon – Career Hero: Web Design, SEO & Social Media Strategist
Christina Gammon started her career in web services in 2008. Unexpectedly, during her pursuit for a Bachelor’s degree in Information and Library Science, she left her career path to care for loved ones. The decision was easy but her love of learning remained. As an outlet to the strains and stresses of caregiving, she began freelancing as a web designer and polishing her skills.
Completing various courses in online research, web design, HTML and business applications led her down her continued path of web focused work. And in 2012, when her caregiving circumstances changed, Christina branched out to do full time web design.
As the Internet has changed, so has the needs of small businesses. Christina believes in helping small businesses achieve big goals by offering her services and expertise in an affordable way. And in 2015 she branched out her Web Design services to include Social Media Strategizing and Search Engine Optimization.
Over 8 years have passed since making her career change and she’s never been happier. She professionally works with over 20 different small businesses in a wide range of markets. From landscaping to rental property companies to career counselors to ice cream companies and professional builders, she really takes the time to understand the goals of each individual client.
Christina Gammon lives in Southern New Hampshire but has clients all across the country. She enjoys what she does and it shows. Her career path has truly made her a career hero. If you are interested in the services she provides, please contact her at email@example.com.
Cassie Stockamp – Career Hero: Healthy Living Expert, Business & Community Executive
I’m not sure if I’m a career hero, but I have definitely been on a career journey and through that journey I’ve learned that it’s not a linear process. I’ve gone from being an entrepreneur owning my own construction company to becoming a non-profit exec running the Athenaeum Foundation, a cultural institution in Indianapolis.
I’ve also learned, no not just learned – experienced – the sensations and understanding associated with finding a career that brings joy and realizing that my job no longer feels like a mere job. I’ve learned to be more intentional with the way I live as a result of this career journey and have had some amazing opportunities flow from it.
In my current position I have had the fortuity to interact with professionals that run major organizations that run/impact the City. Because of those connections I have been able to start an event that not only feeds my soul, but has become a well-recognized event in the City. Monumental Yoga brings over 3,000 people together on an annual basis to celebrate the summer solstice under a banner of love and unity!
Transit is becoming an important piece of the social climate in our City, and somehow I got appointed by the Mayor to the Regional Transit Board and then became Board Chair. As I leaned into this position I became aware of the many facets of it including my desire to lesson my carbon footprint. After a period of contemplation, I decided and did sell my car relying on multi-modal forms of transportation including my bike(s), bus, Uber, Blue Indy, rent and borrowing.
I am grateful for my friends and neighbors that support me in this effort as it is not an easy one in a City that lacks a robust mass transit system. Thank goodness the shared economy is alive and well!
My other “jobs” bring me such joy that I often forget that they are considered jobs. I teach yoga 3-4x a week and derive so many more benefits than just the paycheck! I also am an AirBnB host which is also joy filled. I have had over 200 guests from around the world and have had 100% good experiences. I love to share the magical stories and experiences I’ve had as a result and remind people it’s an industry based on trust! Try it….
I’m dreaming about 2018 – the year in which I plan to take off and volunteer my way around the world with the assistance of an amazing internet resource called WorkAway. I will use this site to connect me to volunteer opportunities that are doing amazing work and opening my eyes to even more incredible ways to live.
Enough of my ramblings. I wish for you a life full of “yes” and joy!!
Tameka Davis – Career Hero: Administrative Office Coordinator, Accounts Payable & Receivable Specialist & Bookkeeper
Tameka Davis, is a financial professional with the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh, NC. She received her B.S. from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University and majored in Business Administration/Management. Upon graduation she accepted a Retail Management position with Walgreens Drugstore. She was a key contributor in Employee Coaching & Retention and Performance Management. After her tenure with Walgreens, she joined the Wake County Courthouse, and has worked as a Bookkeeper for 8 years. She has successfully entered and monitored probation cases into the Courthouse database; researched, prepared and completed a detailed unclaimed funds report for the North Carolina State Treasurer; and specializes in helping victims of crime receive restitution funds due to them by becoming a point of contact. She performs detailed research of address documents to ensure victims are located. Tameka enjoys helping the public and having a direct impact on the community.
In addition, her volunteer experience with Lucy Daniels Center has taught her how to bring awareness to problems within the community, and raise funds to be allocated to community programs. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She can be contacted via LinkedIn.
Silvia Liboon – Career Hero: State Accounting & Tax Professional
I have always had very many diverse interests. Two years of drafting in high school and a lifetime-long fear of thunderstorms led to my passion for knowledge about the weather. I applied to two completely different programs at different universities. For one school, I chose Architectural Engineering and for the other, I chose Meteorology. Once I found out I was accepted into both programs, I ultimately chose the university setting I thought would work best for my personality.
Within my first semester, I knew I had chosen the wrong major and started doing more career research to see what piqued my interest. I have always had a knack for analyzing figures and decided to major in accounting. An opportunity for a double major presented itself, and I decided I’d broaden my knowledge and (hopefully) future opportunities by complimenting my Accounting degree with a Finance degree.
After graduating from college, it took six months to land an hourly position at a distribution center. From there, I was able to land a position at UNC-Chapel Hill and learn the ropes of university financial operations. Although I did not stay long, I was always grateful for this position for introducing me to budget management and the benefits of working for the state!
I went on to work for the North Carolina Department of Revenue. I never would have dreamt when I first started that I’d be there for nearly 10 years! I learned so much about tax research, the art of dealing with the public, and the ins and outs of the spectacularly complicated tax code.
My role as a tax auditor introduced me to many other skills as I was occasionally assigned to special projects along the way. These projects exposed me to software testing, IT project management, the opportunity to do more complex analyses, business process engineering, procedure documentation – and countless other business functions.
It was at this point in my career that I came to Sharon wondering how I could advance. I felt like I had obtained numerous skills, but also felt like I wasn’t quite sure how to present myself to make sure the world knew what I had to offer. Thankfully, Sharon was able to help me pinpoint my strengths and develop a plan to strengthen my weaknesses.
After working with Sharon, I was able to start my current position with NC Department of Public Instruction. I am learning so much here and know I’ll be able to advance my current skills as well as develop new skills. My story is far from over as I look forward to someday earning my MBA and launching a successful business of my own.
Patrice D. Wilkerson, M.B.A. – Career Hero: Author, Business Co-Owner, and Employee
Sharon asked me to write about how I achieved success. Here is my story: For as long as I can remember, I knew that I wanted to be successful. I had always wanted to be a teacher but when I got into high school I enjoyed my Accounting classes so much that I decided to become an Accountant. I knew that whatever I did I was going to be successful. In my thirty-one years of living, I have learned that everyone can be successful if you work hard, have a positive attitude and a strong support system.
Being successful was important to me because I wanted to make my parents proud. My parents have been influential in the success that I have gained so far. I saw how hard my parents worked just to provide for me and my siblings. This taught me that if you really want something in life you have to work hard for it. I knew that if I wanted to be an Accountant I would have to work hard and get an education. My first year in college was hard for me because I had to get adjusted to being on my own. My parents encouraged me to stay in school and not give up. They taught me that all things are possible with God on your side. I took their advice and I graduated in four years with a degree in Accounting. After graduating college, I had a hard time trying to find a job. Here I was with this Accounting degree and I am jobless; however, I never gave up. I wouldn’t stop until I found a job.
Months went by and I finally got a job working at a Call Center. This was not in my plan but I needed a job to make money. I didn’t let this discourage me.
After I got home from work I would get on the computer and look for jobs because I knew this is not where I was destined to be. So I worked hard and still sent out resumes every day to different companies. Within two months I was employed at another job with benefits. I liked this job and I set a goal of climbing up the ladder because I wanted more responsibility. Within a year I was promoted and I owe all of this to working hard and setting goals. Throughout all of this, my brother and I decided to start our own company called Wilkerson’s Business Support, LLC. It is a business support service that provides administrative services to businesses and individuals. We knew we wanted to be entrepreneurs and we didn’t stop until our dream came true.
Having a positive attitude has helped me in being successful. I knew that drugs, alcohol and negative people would definitely destroy the plan that I had set forth. I like being around people that share the same goals that I do because they push me to be better. I like being around people who believe in me and will support me in everything that I do. I learned to never listen to people when they say you can’t do something; that should motive you even more to achieve that goal. I also learned that there will be obstacles that may stand in your way of achieving your goal but you have to press on and turn that negative into a positive.
Five years ago, I lost my father who was my best friend. It was really hard to cope with this but I wanted to turn my hardship into a championship. I had always love writing poems and I had a dream of writing a book of poetry. So I figured why not write a book of poems and dedicate it to my father. His untimely passing taught me that if you want something in life go for it because you never know when it is your last day on this earth. So I published a book of poems and decided to name it “Through It All, I’m Going to Make It.” Through my pain, I was determined to continue to make something of myself. I didn’t stop there; I decided to go back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Accounting. I graduated in 2011 and I knew that my dad was smiling down from heaven.
God plays an important role in my path to success. He is my support system. He has opened up so many doors for me and I truly give Him all the glory and praise. I can remember when I didn’t have a job, I would pray to God every day and sure enough I got a job. I can remember when I was working at the Call Center, I prayed to God for a better opportunity and He made a way. All dreams are possible just give it to God.
So, would I consider myself successful? If you define success as accomplishing your goals, then I would say I am successful. I have set goals and I have accomplished them but there is always room for improvement. I always push the bar for greater things. I have more in life that I want to accomplish and I look forward to finding my calling in life because that is the point where I would consider myself successful. If I continue to work hard, have a positive attitude, and keep God first in my life then it will certainly happen.
Harriet Thompkins – Career Hero: The First African-American Female Warrant Officer, United States Coast Guard Reserves
I met Harriet in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Harriet is one of those people who impresses you immediately. She is an outstanding leader and member of the community who has served her country. Harriet Thompkins made history by becoming the first African-American female Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) in the United States Coast Guard Reserves in 1996.
She began her career 19 April 1975 when she enlisted as a Yeoman Third Class under the direct petty officer program. Her first duty assignment was at Station Port Canaveral, Florida. In 1978, she transferred to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington DC to work on a special project in Cutter Maintenance Division. During her tour of duty at Headquarters, she was advanced to Yeoman Second Class after ranking Number One on the promotion list.
In 1981, her civilian job moved her to Miami and she reported to Base Miami Beach for duty. Later she was transferred to Marine Safety Office Miami. Her job again moved her to the Tampa Bay Area and she reported to Station St. Petersburg for duty. In 1986, she was advanced to Yeoman First Class.
In 1991 she was among the first females to undergo the age-old initiation rites into the ranks of Chief Petty Officer. During that time, she received her master’s degree from the University of South Florida (undergraduate degree from Florida A&M).
In 1996, she was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer and reported to Group Charleston, South Carolina for duty at the Assistant Administrative Officer until her retirement. She also produces and hosts an award winning TV show on Access Pinellas. She has published a book of poems and an inspirational CD.
Gina Swanson – Career Hero: Advocate for the Elderly & Director of Activities Superstar!
Gina is the most amazing person I know. I have never seen anyone work so hard to achieve personal and professional success. She worked full-time and part-time, and got her Master’s Degree! She does her best, which is always exceptional, to every role she has. Gina has been exercising her strong ambitions and passion for most of her life. In 2007, she earned an Associate’s degree in medical assisting from Bergen Community College, then moved on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in 2009 at Montclair State University with a 4.0 GPA. Soon afterward, she returned to BCC to become certified in medical billing and coding in 2011, and earned a certificate as a home health aide the following year.
Since September 2012, Gina has made a name for herself in a number of assisted living facilities. She has coordinated the planning, development, and implementation of varying levels of activities for many residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. She has also maintained therapeutic relationships with patients and their families, and encouraged others to learn positive coping skills in order to meet their best interests. Most notably, Gina has provided food, comfort, and program schedules for more than 20 dementia patients at Atrium Senior Living of Park Ridge. She also serves as co-facilitator of the Alzheimer’s Association, and currently conducts activities with 20-40 residents at Christian Health Care Center, where she typically puts in more than 18 weekends’ worth of overtime per year.
Gina returned to school in 2013 to advance her career, and further pursue her passion for the geriatric field. In December 2015, she was awarded a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Felician University. Her thesis focused on Improving Education at Assisted Living Facilities to Produce More Empathetic Caregiving. She has also earned Activity Director Provisional Certification, and applied for a CALA license, which she expects to receive in April 2016.
Career Hero: Bonnie Cashwell, MSOM, Dipl OM, LAc
With 20 years experience as a holistic practitioner, I am passionate about natural healing. I believe in giving the body the support it needs to do what it has the innate intelligence to do – heal. This has been my personal approach to health for many years. Patients tell me, ‘you walk your talk.’
Prior to becoming a student of Oriental Medicine, I received acupuncture treatments consistently for a decade. That’s how I know firsthand what the medicine can do. It was with this depth of understanding about the body and healing process I began the transformation of becoming an acupuncturist.
When it comes to treating, I use a functional medicine approach and treat the whole person. This could be teaching you exercises, yoga postures, how to use food as medicine, choosing a detox or cleansing program customized for you, or be as simple as tweaking your current practices.
Recognizing healing as an individualized journey I am able to find solutions for your specific health needs and mentor you in achieving health goals in a teamwork environment. Additional ‘tools’ I utilize are: Chinese herbs, supplements, moxibustion, cupping, dietary education/coaching, lifestyle change suggestions, tui na and auricular (ear) acupuncture. Many tools provide you with many options.
Before returning home to North Carolina I practiced in Denver, CO. There I was on the marketing committee of the Acupuncture Association of Colorado. I was a member of the Alter Med Research Foundation interfacing allopathic medicine and research based complementary medicines. Also, I volunteered with Acupuncture Without Borders after the Aurora theatre shootings and participated in local news station health fairs. My current license is in North Carolina where I served as treasurer for the North Carolina Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Nationally I maintain certification with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). I am certified as a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine which includes Foundations in Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture with Point Location, Herbology and Biomedicine.
My Master of Science and Oriental Medicine degree was earned from Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, NM. Additionally, I have a Bachelors of Science degree.
Career Hero: Whitney Gregg, Psychotherapist
I am Whitney Gregg, a licensed Psychotherapist and Certified HeartMath practitioner in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I have over 8 years of experience as an outpatient therapist, a Military mental health research assistant, and an engaged local mentor. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to work in the field of mental health care and pursued psychological studies as early as high school. My interests were specifically centered around children initially. As I moved through my undergraduate program I realized I wanted to have a private practice and work with adults and families as well.
Prior to graduation from Fayetteville State University with my Bachelors, I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling to better equip me in my long-term goals. I attended Capella University for my Masters in Mental Health Counseling. During my graduate studies, I assisted in a research Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members (Army STARRS). I was exposed to a number of service members with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of my participation. My experience living on or near a military base coupled with my experience assisting trauma patients influenced my decision to focus on trauma treatment for both civilian individuals and service members.
My primary areas of expertise include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety Disorders. I’ve presented at local symposiums and general audiences on the topics of Caregivers Support, Communication Skills, Substance Abuse in the Workplace, and Stress Management to help improve the understanding of mental health care. I am an interactive, solution-focused therapist. I pride myself on having a therapeutic approach which provides support and practical feedback to help my clients effectively address personal life challenges.
I am aware of the needs of service members and their families and I intend to reduce the stigma around counseling. I have a passion for improving mental health care in both military and civilian communities. I shared information during an interview regarding child abuse in military families and how the stigma around counseling impacts the family. I am on a mission to make a difference in the lives of my clients and assisting them in living the life they want.
Whitney Gregg, M.S., NCC, LPC
National Certified Counselor
Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC)
Certified Clinical Military Counselor
Tricare Certified Mental Health Counselor
Certified Telemental Health Practitioner
· The American Counseling Association
· Career Thought Leaders
· National Board for Certified Counselors
· National Career Development Association
· Society for Human Resources Management
· Society for Technical Communicators