Voices of Athena with Priscilla Brenenstuhl

Going for Gold with Ebonie Jackson

Growing up in a family of teachers has our guest, CFO, CPA, and Board Member, Ebonie Jackson, always striving for the A+. Not just in her professional achievements, but personal as well. Hear why we are giving her all the gold stars in this episode.

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Voices of Athena

Sit down with the highly accomplished members of Athena Alliance, an executive learning community for women leaders, to hear the personal tales behind their professional success. We learn the real story behind their inspiring executive careers — their fears, their failures, and what song they’re singing at karaoke. You don’t get to the top without creating some memorable stories along the way.

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Going for Gold with Ebonie Jackson

Ebonie Jackson

I think the roles that I have now that are more heartfelt and mission-based are part of the fact that I have two little ones and I want other families to be cohesive. I want that no matter what they do, to find that giving part of themselves. So I think that changed me.

Priscilla

Welcome to Voices of Athena, a podcast highlighting the more personal side of the successful women that make up the Athena Alliance- a learning community for executive women. I’m your host, Priscilla Brenenstuhl.  Today I’m talking with Ebonie Jackson about community, mothering, and leading with empathy.

Priscilla:

What am I looking at?

Ebonie:

Home, my double closets?

Priscilla:

Okay, you are in my little like, it’s my room. I don’t know, it’s weird to have a room as an adult, but it’s my room. I have like a yoga mat. And it’s where I gave birth. And you know, it’s like, Yeah.

Are you ready to dive in?

Ebonie:

I love speaking about the journey. You know, I have such a big family and family is about a lot of my story. So I’m excited to talk about the backstory.  So don’t think you don’t just you know, wake up one day and become successful it is a community effort

Priscilla:

Who is someone that inspires you? And why?

Ebonie:

Okay, I love this question. And so I have a lot of people inspire inspires me, but they’re pretty much all in the same. The deepest inspirations pretty much all in the same vein. So it’s my family. And so, like, I have a wonderful husband, children, my parents, my mom, my dad, my sisters, my aunts, uncles, extended family, I call them family by choice. And the people that I stand with, but people all those people will not be surprised to hear this answer that the person who inspires me the most is my mom. And that is because of her not just being my mom, she’s amazing person on top of that. So my mom’s story is amazing. It has really been what I saw when I looked at myself and how her backstory, and what she has sewn into me, is why I work so hard, and why I can set goals and aspire to be higher. So I just want to give out a shot out to my mom. And the reason why she inspires me is that she grew up, she’s number 11 of 13 children. She grew up in the family land, and as a lot of people know, when you are a farming family in Louisiana, you do not get to school until harvest after harvest. That means that every year all of her siblings would be late to school as a relates to starting after harvest. So not in September, or after Labor Day like other people but you know, October November coming to school and she and her negotiation skills she negotiated with her dad, she loved education, and he said get your bails of cotton for the day before you can go to school. So he would wake up with her every morning, like four o’clock and pick cotton with her until she finished and let her go to school on time. And so she always valued education. And so to see her being the first in her family to graduate from college, to now be a BP and a CFO. In this season I’m in now and is amazing just her story, her journey, and she sewed all that that work ethic into us, how she treated us when we were growing up. We always had goals. We always valued education. She had that whole compassion like her dad gave her, she gave to us. We got to figure out and advocate for what we thought was we wanted in life and she helped us side by side. So she’s my biggest inspiration. She’s in finance as well. So now, she’s my person I call every morning. And we talk about grandchildren, because that’s what she wants to talk about, and she gives me career tips. But she is just amazing. And she has just done so much for me. So she is my biggest inspiration and has always been, so that is my answer.

Priscilla:

Wow, that’s remarkable.  I could see why she would be an inspiration to anyone, and then add the fact that she’s your mom. And I got, I mean, I’m gonna assume that the two, the way that you grew up was very different than the way that she grew up.

Ebonie:

Definitely. Um, so she was all education, education, education. So just like she advocated when she was little, like for us, school working first before chores, before anything, it was schoolwork. And she put into us that education is what, what helps generations succeed. And so she always had us in really good schools, a very prestigious private school. From when I was little until when I graduated high school. She just made it so I had no excuses. There was no excuses for the privilege she gave us growing up to where she came from. And she was like, you have to be better. The next generation has to be better. And she always instilled that in us. And I think that, that work, and valuing education, loving family, and things for each other, having a voice, It was just amazing. So yeah, I that’s how I, I aspire to do in my own life. And so I have always had a community around me, I’ve always I’m an academic, I love education. I think it was not only instilled, but now I’m just like a lifetime learner. That’s all for my mom. It just is.

Priscilla:

And you said you talk to her every morning. Is that right?

Ebonie:

I do. I do. And so they’re very few mornings. I don’t talk to her. But it has been forever. So like when I graduated from high school. I left Texas, which is another deeper story I’ll talk to you about later, but I left Texas and went to Florida for school. And when I went to Florida for school, and I was way far away and so we talked every morning even in I was in college, my roommates thought I was crazy, and but I did and it just kept going on so no matter what and she says I’m  her alarm clock in so and she does it endearingly. And we’re very early risers. I don’t know if it’s just because of what she did when she grew up. It also was I was a competitive ice skater growing up and so I had to get on the ice really early. And so still Yeah, so still, I wake up early every morning so I go out walking. I call her out here it’s five o’clock in the morning. She’s probably up in I know Texas behind us an hour and I still call her I’ll wake her up at four if I need to. But she’s just always there for me so yeah, we talk all the time.

Priscilla:

Awesome. I’m not that way with my mom but maybe I can aspire to be that with my kids.

What song are you singing at karaoke?

Ebonie:

So it would not be karaoke for me it’d be the shower. My husband’s the karaoke your person. He sings all the karaoke songs and I like cheer him on but I sing in the shower so I’m that that girl. I actually because the shower I use those morning showers to get me just woken up, most of my stuff is inspirational, so I really really like anything Mary Mary. So like walking one foot  in front of the other type of things that make you excited and so that’s me. I’m very spiritual, I’m very, I need something to get me through the day or need something to to calm me down after my walk in that, I’m so analytical sometimes that my walk sometimes I’m like planning my day and I’m like no, no, I just will know that I’m walking with one foot in front of the other so Mary Mary and I also like their It’s the God in Me, just because it’s just the way I think I present myself to the world. I’m very joyful, very goal oriented know that my  steps are ordered that type of thing. So I have to center myself before that that’s why I would think are my, not the one song, but the songs I will be singing in the in the shower. Not on karaoke. That is not happening Priscilla, not at all.

Priscilla:

Well, I love how it went from karaoke okay, I don’t do that, but I sing in the shower. And it’s, it’s to center me and start my day. So I mean, that’s kind of profound, you know.

Ebonie:

I just need to be centered because I’m all over the place. I just like, being a mom doing what I do career wise, I just have a moment to say, Okay, why am I doing this? What is my purpose? Let me center myself and let me get some pep in my step for the next day. So that’s, that’s me.

Priscilla:

What is your biggest fear?

Ebonie:

Yeah. So, as the lifetime learner, I believe that a lesson that you don’t get the first time you have to go over. And I think that that’s not just academics, but I think that that happens in life. And so my biggest fear is to have to repeat the worst lesson that was so hard for me over and over and over again, because I don’t get it. So I think that things, the way that you approach situations,  if you don’t mature from that, I feel that those same type of similar situations follow you. And you keep on having to repeat that lesson. So my biggest fear is to have like, a lesson, like I’ve had really interesting transition, so is having a horrible transitions over and over again. And more so with, I would say, like, the worst day of your life being like Groundhog’s Day, because you did not learn that the real lesson that was supposed to be at the end of that. So like, for example, when the pandemic happened it was just really stressful and as a social person, being away from people, and just not being able to see them other than on a screen. And so say the next pandemic comes and we don’t have our stuff together. Like, well, we have to repeat that over and over because we did not learn the lesson that was posed to be in that challenge. So that’s kind of what I’m saying is that I do I believe that you have to learn lessons. And anything that you do have to change your approach, you have to pivot when you need to pivot. And if you keep on going the same way over and over again, I feel like you get those lessons again. And so you did not get the gold star, you got to go over. So that is my biggest fear that first day, I’m gonna have to repeat over because I did not figure out what the lesson is. So that makes a really introspective, it gives me it makes me when I have a bad day, or I have a bad interaction to think about, Hey, what did I do? How can I do better next time, because I did not want that lesson to come back. And so I want to learn and say I got an A on that and you do not have to give me that anymore. I want a new lesson. So that is my biggest fear to have that worst day repeated.

Priscilla

That’s really fascinating for a few reasons. Hope I can remember them all. One being that this whole teaching in academia it like you know, I was gonna say that to you, Well, this, this lesson right, and you keep saying it as a lesson and then you went ahead and said gold star and looking for that gold star.

Ebonie

It’s horrible, my mom really put that in me. Look at that. It’s all together. It’s it’s together, everywhere.

Priscilla

And I don’t know if I thought of it in that way before, you know as my worst fear, but I definitely I definitely jive with what you know, introspection and also, you know, having the perspective that everyone or everything can be your teacher. And some lessons are harder to swallow than others. And I can respect not wanting to go through some of the lessons that I’ve learned, that’s for sure.

Yeah, like one and done for some of them.

Ebonie

I just want to get the grade because I feel as though  I want to move forward. I want you to say yes, you do not need that lesson again. And I just feel like, I just see it in  people’s, a lot of people’s lives pattern. I feel as though it’s not necessarily because of anything that they initially did. I think that there’s always something to be learned. And that the next time that same thing happens, you have to rise above it. And I feel as though something in my head says that if I don’t learn this lesson,  somebody will throw that ball at me again. And I’m gonna react the same way, and it’s gonna be horrible again. So that’s really seriously one of my biggest fears is that I won’t learn the hard lessons.

Priscllla:

And when you put it that way, it makes sense to me, because now I’m thinking about when you bring in the idea of other people, it especially in my family, it’s really hard for me to watch people repeat cycles. You know, like, almost my empathy, ii’s not that my empathy goes out the window, but my patience, I end up just like being like, why, like, why can’t you see? You know, it gets to be very frustrating. And so I could see that like, oh, wow, what if there are things that I’m doing that I’m not aware of? I don’t even realize that I’m repeating this. This pattern, I can’t see it clearly. So maybe even you know, it’s more than just not repeating the cycles. It’s being able to have the introspection that that keeps you from repeating those things or noticing when those are coming up? That’s a great answer.

Ebonie:

I love it, break the cycle, we’re gonna break this cycle.

Music

Priscilla

What’s the most daring thing you’ve done?

Ebonie

Okay, so remember this, I’m giving context before I say this, because it really is daring for me.

So remember, I am a CPA, I am conservative. But I do take risk. And so one of the biggest risks that I took, and I think it’s because I was so young and because it was so many people that were like, no, no, no, even though that the people in my family were definitely in my corner. But I’m a Texan. I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and that’s where I went to school, that is my base. And if you know anything about Texans, you do not leave Texas, and you definitely don’t leave Texas for college. So when I actually left Texas, which was my home, and which was my, that’s what I would say, that’s who I am still. I’m still a Texan, even though I haven’t lived there since I left from college. That was big because of the fact that I went to another state. And I did not have family in Florida. I don’t know how I didn’t have family in Florida see as my mom had 13 brothers and sisters, but I had no family in Florida. The school I went to was a historically black college and university, which was my dream school. I had wanted to go to school forever but I went came from a very private conservative school in Texas. And so a lot of people were telling me no, like my counselor, naysayers, just a lot of people saying, “hey, you’re, you have so much going for you.” or “You’re going to the school out of Texas and it’s a historically black college and university?” And I said yes, I’m going there. And that was a big step for me and not because of the school, because the school I had researched back and forth. I mean, that was the school I wanted to go through since I think I was like in ninth grade. I love Florida A&M University, and have always, always wanted to go there. But more so because it was going to be by myself. I did not have classmates going with me. I had a really small class and almost everybody stayed in Texas. I had really cool girlfriends who are like amazing, were amazing then, are amazing  now, that were my support. And they were like going to schools, some of them, a couple of them went to historically black colleges as well. And so we kind of vibe on that, but we still work together, but it was hard. And especially when you had a lot of people that you looked up to telling you hey Ebonie, why would you? You know, you’re, you’re you have such so many strong academic things going for you. Why would you go there? And I had explained to everybody all the time. Because Florida A&M is number one in my book, it has a really good business school, I can, just, I just, I want to be in a space where I could be with other people who were like me for a moment. I mean, I was in a school that  there were very few African Americans. And we were all girls. So I had no African American boy in my class since I was in kindergarten. And I just wanted to be in a space where if I got a B It wasn’t because that the teacher didn’t think I should have gotten the B, it wasn’t subjective, that if I got a B, I felt like I earned it. And so and I was always big academic, so it was nice to be able to have that space. And so I went there.

that was really daring for me because, I mean, I was so sheltered. I am going to Florida and by myself without friends from high school, not family, when I’m a very family oriented person, I mean, I was, you know, high school was like big for me, I was cheerleader, I mean, I was just very involved. And to go there and just be by myself was just scary. And so I think it’s because that’s why I would say is the most daring just because it was I was so young, I did, it took a big risk it paid off, that was one of the best decisions I made in my life. And that was probably changed the trajectory of who I am. I mean, the relationships I have from my schoo,l from FAMU, the academic. I still talk to my professors and I graduated in 2002. So it was just amazing. It really helped me but it was very daring at the time, at least to me.

Priscilla

I think that was daring, I don’t think you need to defend yourself. I mean, what I’m hearing is that not only did you do something that most people were telling you not to do, which is always scary, especially if you respect those people or they’re the only people in your life, and they’re saying no. To maintain your center, to go after something that you want when other people can’t. That’s very challenging to go outside of other people’s expectations. And then it sounds like you know, you know, you weren’t running away from something you it’s not like, oh, you weren’t happy or you weren’t successful in the place that you were. So you were risking that almost the comfort zone. And you said, Yeah, I’m comfortable here, and I’ve made it here. But I feel like there’s more out of my comfort zone. So that’s huge.

Ebonie

Yeah, that was exactly what I was doing. I love Texas, like Texas still has my heart. I mean, that is my home state, and will always be where my base has been. But I just saw something more and that’s the school I had researched hard about where I was going to go cuz I’m Type A, and so I researched forever. I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I had my mind pretty set up. But it was like at the end it was like, I like people that I really respected were telling me things and it was hard to say and I never really questioned it because I knew that I wanted to go to FAMU. But my parents were always so supportive. They were you know, that’s where you want to go? They really want me to go to their schoo,l Grambling. So I would still have left Texas but it had been one state over in Louisiana. But I just was so supported by my parents. So that helped it. But at the end of the day, I ended up that I had to make that step myself  that when I went to campus that I would be meeting new people that I’m not from Florida, so all these people could probably be from Florida, or surrounding and just kind of making my own way. And I did and I just I loved it. Um, that was again, the best decision I made in my life. Other than getting married. That was the first best decision I’ve made.

Priscilla

Okay, so Ebonie, if you were not in the profession that you are. Would you be doing?

Ebonie:

I know, you can answer this question, because I think that I would be in a helping profession. And so it would either be teaching, so I’m sure that that’s a surprise, not. Or I would be like a social worker. Like I really do feel as though that I’m here to serve. And so I feel as though that would bring me joy to see others do better, to balance in their live,s to fix whatever they need to fix. I love teaching now. So I think that probably made my job into a semi teaching, and probably has helped me pretty much teach non finance people financial information, just because I love teaching. So I think that I would be a definitely a teacher professor, probably a junior college or university. I don’t know if I’d be good at high school. I don’t know, but I don’t think that I would be good. Or something like that, at a university.

Priscilla

High schoolers can be particularly challenging.

Ebonie

Yes. Just oh my gosh, my sister is a high school teacher, or she has been, she has that patience. And she has that she really can get with the hormones. She’s like, really skinny, really little and she will just talk with authority like, I’m gonna beat you up. Because like, I told you this and they respect her. She’s amazing. But no, I don’t think that’s my skill. I think that I do. I do. Teach. I think some things are generational. I look at my grandparents, they were teachers. And my parents have all taught I think I’m the only person in my family has not got one check with teaching, but I love.

Priscilla

Maybe not formally, but you’re definitely informally

Ebonie

Right. So informally, I think that they actually get for this has some kind of district on it or some kind of university name. And so but no, teaching, I think is that social work, I really do like helping people. So I think that’s why I really like my job is because I’m a CFO at a children’s service and I get to work with social workers all the time. So no, it’s nice.

Priscilla

Ebonie is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administrative Services for Lucas County Children’s Services. She serves on several boards, including the AICPA, the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium and the Ohio CPA Foundation Board.

Priscilla

What is a life changing or life affirming moment?

Ebonie

So probably one of my most personal moments was probably one of the most life changing for me. And for a couple of reasons. And so having my first child and becoming a mom, myself, was extremely life changing for me. It just changed my perspective. Totally. It was like one day I am this independent woman, who’s married. So I’m independent, a married woman, who is just kind of a career focused, very focused on how do I just climb the ladder. I’ve always been a goal setting person. So it when the matter was climbing the ladder, because I wanted to climb like, it’s just like, it’s a goal. It’s the goal. I love this. I love it, I get to play in it. And then having a little boy who took my heart the moment I saw him and changing everything, just changing a lot. So he didn’t necessarily change everything. I think what happened is that around me changed as well, my priorities change, and everything just kind of changed for me. And so I think the timing when I had my first, Jacob, was basically when a lot of transition happened at my actual company, and so I had really strong mentors, my career, just blessed with that. And so the CFO and my  direct person in finance, they are both leaving just right after I had it. So I think that that on top of having just kind of changed a lot because I was doing a lot of projects for the CFO leadership team. I had just gone off for two years that for one that was solely for them, and then I was supporting all the bee’s knees at a fortune 500 as their financial person, and then I have this little one, and then all the people around me are gone. And I’m just like a young lady with this new family and had to make some big decisions. And so I kind of downshifted my career at that time, and really focused on him in our family. And so that was a big change for me. And so I think also changed the way I just looked at myself. I think kids kind of show you yourself.

Priscilla

oh, Lord, dothey show you yourself. Whether you want to or stuff you may not even want to see.

Ebonie

So I think I became less career focused, at that point, more self aware. I think I continuously become more self aware every day because of that, because it’s just like, I’m like, Ooh, is that how that displays in the public? Like, when I do that? Is that how people view me? Whoa, I probably fix that one right there. But also, it just changed where my focus was. And so I think that the roles that I have now that are more heartfelt or more mission based, are probably directly, and the fact that I have two little ones. And I really want other people’s families to just be cohesive, I want other people like no matter what they do, to find that giving part of yourself. So I think that that changed me, I really do. I think I always was, at some level, a given person, I just think he just made me more human, and may have to pull down the fine strip I didn’t know I had, especially those first few nights when you had our first few months, you had to stay up all the time. I think you’re still going through that. How old is he

Priscilla

Two months old, and you see the bags under my eyes.

Ebonie

Well, you gotta reach down for that extra energy. I think it just taught me I can reach a little bit further. And I feel as though it taught me that I could just do anything for this little one and for the family that we were building. And so yeah, I just think it just changed me. And it was defining it did change my career path. For me, as I said, career wise, I downshifted. And then when I’ve shifted and and people are like, you’re down shift is the controller, and now you’re a CFO of not for profits in government. And at that time when I was there, if I look at my careers at Fortune 500, basically working with the CFO and his leadership team, so it just changed it in. I think that I could have made it work. But it also made me more aware of women issues as it relates to having families because when I was younger, I had really cool managers when I was in public accounting, and a lot of them have families. We would laugh at, we’re like, oh, my gosh, she has to go pick up her little one. And don’t worry, I’ll stay. It was no big deal. But we were just like, gosh, she always has to leave or something like that. And then I’m like, Oh, I understand why she had to leave. Like, your whole focus is different. It’s just different. And it’s good, though, because it makes people, I think it’s made me understand what really is important, and even helps me help me prioritize at work like, this is important. This is petty. This is important, this is not. And it helped. I think it helped me be able to relate to people and be able to figure out hey, what makes, when you lead a certain level, I think you have to inspire. It helps you understand to connect with people to understand how to inspire, and to understand, gosh, I have so much empathy for your team and for who you are. I just think it just changed me. So not that I wasn’t these things before, but I think it just heightened my awareness of almost like antennas that oh my gosh, this person needs this support to be successful.

Priscilla

This person is a person.

Ebonie

Yes, that’s it.So yes, because I’m such a family person. I think that that’s probably where it really got me viscerally. So it was like, Oh my gosh, this is like, another generation. Like, who knew? Who knew?

Priscilla

And that happens for us too, with our parents, right? At some point, we go, oh, wait, they are people. You know, I like for my children. I still say that I Am, I exist only as to serve them. But I definitely agree with you, or I had a very similar experience. And I was, I don’t know if I was goal driven. I mean, I have things that I attained to on a more of a feeling level than logical aspirations, but I was in Los Angeles. I was traveling all over the world when I got pregnant. I was like 33 I was like, wait, I can’t ride my motorcycle anymore. You know, there’s a lot, there was a big adjustment to that. And the biggest thing for me was just what you’re saying, is a little shift in priorities and in perspective. You kind of touched on it earlier. You go from being your person and independent person to then a pregnant person, which is a strange thing.

Ebonie

Oh, there was a total thing, especially pregnant during the summer. ooh, no, that’s, that was a total thing.

Priscilla

Well, and you have to get used to that, right? You’re like, hey, my body is different, like, my feelings are different. Like, I feel like a different person. And I’m trying to initiate myself into the shift that I can’t really be prepared for, you know, like, how can you really prepare to be a parent?

How do you plan that? Like, that’s where I’m getting? What was your flowchart Ebonie? Where was your goals?

Ebonie

Our first one was good. The second one, I was on bed rest. And I talked to the doctor. The doctor looked at me, he’s like, No, you got to go remember? And I was like, no, because last time, this is me, last time, I got to stay. And I was still traveling until the last month. I had this paperwork. Just give me a folder and give me a checklist and I will be there. And he was like, No, you will be sitting down from now on ma’am. And so yeah, so it just helped me I would say, go with the flow, because I was not go with the flow type of person. And I’m still not, but I’m better than I was. Okay, so I’m gonna claim that I’m better than I was.

Priscilla

Because you can plan all day long. You can dot every I and cross every T and suddenly, there’s milk spilt all over the whole report. And you got to start over again.

Ebonie

It was a change. And the good thing, the good thing about it is, that I think it has made me more nimble, you can pivot easier. But you got to pivot. You’ve been practicing pivoting, because guess what, if you are talking here, then this little one comes running right here and says mommy and trying to say, Who is your friend? You just say,” hey, that’s Priscilla. Hi, Miss Priscilla? And why don’t you go down here?” So and then it was all about a minute. I don’t think that that would have happened, I would have been like, oh my gosh, my whole thing is ruined, let’s go start this taping all over, take that out. Edit it, because or what am I going to do without that? Now we’ll be stuck on that one thing. Now I just look at things globally. And we’re gonna have a global perspective, because those little things like that matter. Right, and actually, like, at least for me, COVID and getting to see into people’s lives a little bit more and getting to see their little ones and getting to remember be reminded, like consistently that they are people with whole other lives that I know very little about, has been really helpful for me, not in just relating to other people, but in being kinder to myself. And not getting so hung up on the expectations that I have, you know, of how something will go. It can be difficult to manage, it can be challenging, but overall it

Priscilla

I feel like we have some kind of Salon here that we’re talking about, like the skill of how motherhood prepares you to be a leader or something.

Ebonie

Because there’s, it definitely does the it does, because I think that it’s something that’s really important to see how you present yourself. I feel as though having a child that walks around acting like you and you’re like, appalled, like, oh my gosh, did you just do that? And you’re like, oh my gosh, you got that from me? Like, oh my gosh, how do I even get a job? So yeah, so I think that that’s important. I mean, and then also just the multitasking, the having to really understand your team, how to train your team. How do you prepare your team for life? I mean, I think it’s just amazing. I think that it’s made me better. I just think that when I when I did downshift and have that time just to kind of be just mommy in helping with doing like more entrepreneurial stuff and being mommy a little bit, but then when I came back to an upshift again, I wasn’t a whole different lane. I mean, I was wanting to make sure that I picked the right role that would work for me and the family that would work for my spirit that when I sang in the morning in the shower, that it wouldn’t have to be like a really long shower.

Priscilla

I’m not leaving until the water’s cold.

Ebonie

Exactly. So just made sure that I picked where I needed to be and that where I gave, I gave impact quickly, you know that I give impact and it’s not just doing something that I’m impacting something and because I want this world to be better for the next generation where my kids will grow up in and the way that grandparents are, oh my gosh, that was a whole nother one, or have expectations change and how you deal with, that’s not how you acted with me, and how you still maintain relationships when things are not being, clearly not being the same. So yeah, it’s just there’s some lessons in that, so we could do definitely a salon like that. Priscilla, I would love it.

Priscilla

I love it. And I think we should, because you know, there are so many women leaving the workforce, and there’s a really great opportunity because the conversation is right. And there’s so much potential there to reframe the story that’s been told about women and motherhood and prioritizing, you know, because what you said is key in, I had to pick things, I could give an impact quickly. Because if I’m going to be away from my family, and take time away from my family, I’m not going to do that just for anything, I’m going to make the most meaningful.

Ebonie

Like, I want to make sure that my team is successful. I want to make sure that we can do this together, and that we can make an impact. So why would we be away from our family if we’re not making an impact? Why are we coming here to do little things, and so I have to be working my babies, then we go and work and go make this good for everybody. Your name needs to be the paper. Because we are here, and I think that helps people I feel I think people want to be successful, like right to do so they made the impact. And I think that that is what a leader does. And I think that that really helped me there.

Priscilla

Absolutely. Well said Ebonie. Is there anything else that you would like to share before we close?

Ebonie

Two things. One, Priscilla, you’ve been amazing. I just love Athena and I loved what the leadership of Athena has done, and you just have made this an awesome experience. So I just wanted to say thank you because you are amazing. And this is something that I don’t get off any type of conversation with. I am in the children’s services. And we always need foster parents. So please, if anybody is listening to this, and you have thought or even wanted to foster, please reach out to your local children’s services, because there are children that need your help. So I wanted to make sure I said that  and I’m just so grateful for the family that I have, as I’ve been saying, my husband’s my kids, my parents in my extended family. And I just think that all kids belong in a family system and so please, anybody who wants to foster, make sure to reach out to your local children’s services and do that.

Priscilla

I can think of few nobler things to do and it’s so fitting with you closing with a teaching and caring moment and reaching out in service and I applaud all the work that you do Ebonie. I give you a gold star.

Ebonie

You know my motivator here.

Priscilla

Clearly I’m using it, I keep using it over and over, like I know what makes her happy. The expectations I know, and I can, I can manage them.

Ebonie

Thank you so much for your time and I really appreciate the time.

Priscilla

Thank you for joining me.

Thank you for tuning in. Join us next time where we talk to Barbara Wanta about friendship, travel and the spirit of adventure.

If you’re a member and you’d like to be featured on an episode of Voices of Athena, please reach out to me at priscil[email protected]

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