Tonya Bolden - Ball
Women everywhere are working hard to make a difference in the lives of their community and the world at large. Some have overcome tremendous adversity and find ways to keep going. Others have blazed a path where few women have gone before. All of them are making a difference in some way. And each month, Hope for Woman, seeks out and talks with one such woman thanks to the nomination of readers. Read the stories of women much like you and be inspired to make a difference today!
Hope for Women: Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Tonya Bolden - Ball: My two children are my biggest inspirations. They are my constant reminders of why quitting is never an option and making this world a better place for them and others should continue to be one of my priorities.
HFW: What do you do to encourage others?
TBB: I utilize every “mic moment” (whether it be on stage, radio, television or social media) as an opportunity to plant seeds of encouragement and empowerment. I often use some of my favorite Scriptures and quotes.
HFW: What obstacles have you overcome?
TBB: My biggest obstacle that I have had to overcome was defying stereotypes and statistics due to the following:
Becoming a mother at the age of 18
I had to deal with so many naysayers. I refused to become a victim of my circumstances. The world had decided that I would become one of their negative statistics. However, God had other plans. Jeremiah 29:11 is my constant reminder that in spite of the labels society has attempted to put on me, I was meant to prosper.
- Walking across the high school graduation stage in 1993 (while pregnant with my son) was the very same stage that my son had walked across when he received his high school diploma in 2012.
- Ironically, in 2003 I walked across that very same stage yet again to receive my undergraduate degree. In 2008, I stood upon that stage as an alumnus and gave the commencement address at my college alma mater’s graduation.
- I had to deal with so many naysayers. I refused to become a victim of my circumstances. The world had decided that I would become one of their negative statistics. However, God had other plans. Jeremiah 29:11 is my constant reminder that in spite of the labels society has attempted to put on me, I was meant to prosper.
Being unemployed for over a year at two different periods of my life while holding two degrees.
- I was told so many times that because I was black woman, people would be intimidated by my presence and intellect. By society’s standards I was overqualified and overeducated. In the past I was told repeatedly that in order to get a job (leadership roles), I should “dumb myself down” and remove some of my strengths on my résumé. Of course that was never an option.
- There were so many times that I didn’t not have a dime to my name, yet God still provided. My husband, parents, sister and “sisterfriends” were my angels. I should have succumbed to depression, but they wouldn’t let it be so. I had to learn that it was OK to not always have to be Superwoman.
HFW: What do you most enjoy about what you do?
TBB: Encouraging and empowering others by way of motivational speaking and presenting.
HFW: What’s one message you wish all woman could hear?
TBB: Don’t allow difficult circumstances to become the movement of your life. Allow them to become teachable moments that will propel you to your destiny.