IN HER OWN WORDS
“I am kicking the door down for Black, Brown and Indigenous people to come through.“
In 1933 my great grandmother Ethel packed up my grandmother, mother, my three great aunts an uncle, and put everything they owned into two trucks and a car, to become a part of the great negro migration from the South to the North. I am three generation removed from slavery.
Born in Los Angeles, California I was raised by a single mother. My father was not in the picture. My three sisters and I grew up in a house filled with love, music and joyful noise, until it no longer was. I attended Bishop Conaty Catholic High School, I left school and home at the age of fourteen and received my General Equivalency Degree “G.E.D” the following year. My first job was in downtown L.A. working for a pattern company called “Simplicity and Vogue” as a pattern model. Traveling between shows and fittings, at that age was exciting, emancipating, and cultivated a sense of confidence and courage into my burgeoning character.
In my thirties I began my career in Hospitality at Rolling Hills Country Club in Palos Verdes, CA. and then completed it at the Universal Hilton in Universal City, CA. I learned how to negotiate, navigate and become an influencer. Going up the corporate ladder, from manager to director I learned how to listen and manage people, do inventories, Plus & Lost and became savvy and fluid in how to manage budgets.
At that time, I had no idea that this education would serve me well throughout my life. After over twenty 20 years in the field of Hospitality. I began my own thriving business in Event and Wedding planning called Absolute Elegance. My company aired on MTV and the WE channel program, Platinum Weddings. I took everything I learned from my Hospitality career, along with my own vision, and applied it to my business. I had six plus years of fulfilled and satisfied clients. I was honored to pay it forward to my protégé, and her business, to this day, continues to thrive. Around the sixth year of running my business, it came down to the quality of life vs the quantity of life. I was doing events from Palos Verdes, Beverly Hills, Bel Air to Pacific Palisades and clients would spend an upwards of $30,000 on roses for a wedding. I would get in my car and on my way home, see unhoused people struggling on the streets.
I’d think about how that $30,000 spent on roses for a wedding that lasted a single day, could feed and clothe and provide resources for those unhoused folks. That disparity hit me deeply and caused me to reflect upon how I wanted to live my life going forward. I chose quality over quantity.
My wife introduced me to Ashland, Oregon seventeen years ago. She knew I would love it here, and she was right. We would visit back and forth and eventually moved here in 2006. I fell in love with this sweet little city. The people, are kind and warm, the buildings and structure of the city are charming. Lithia Park is a haven of lush, gorgeous trails winding along-side a rushing, fresh creek, I found respite from L.A. in bounty of tree lined streets. Locally owned businesses and the surrounding nature gives me an unwavering sense of home and belonging. My son has also moved here, and my daughter and grandchildren love to come and play in our lovely, quaint city of Ashland that I am so fortunate to call home.
Since putting down my roots here, I’ve worked with the Neuman Hotel Group at Ashland Springs Hotel as the Catering and Sales Manager, and as the Senior Sales Manager at Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites for the past Fourteen years. I have sat on the boards of The Children’s Advocacy Center, Phoenix Counseling Center, Addiction Recovery Center, and Ashland’s Rotary Club.
I have volunteered for the Dr. Martin Luther King Committee, and I am also on the Housing and Human Service Commission for the City of Ashland. I have held that position for the past seven years. I am a member of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and am the Founder and President of Southern Oregon Pride which celebrates ten years this October.
I will bring my integrity, honesty, lived experiences, and the ability to get things done to Ashland City Council with your vote.