Twenty-five years ago, when I was promoted from a Sales & Service Representative to a Performance Coach, my manager at the time said I was going places. I had no idea what that meant at first but now I get it. My next role as a Senior Training Manager took me around the world three times over. I worked on projects that took me across the globe, as well as to more than 38 states within the USA.

When it comes to the cities, places, and faces along my journeys—I remember them all, especially the smiles. From Paris, Texas to Chennai, India and from St. Catherines, Canada to Pasadena, California; the people I have connected with all over the world have given me a global perspective. Through sharing my smile, learning their hardships, and celebrating together, I have upped my emotional intelligence and ability to have empathy and understanding of diverse cultures. I’ve met AT&T employees from all over the world that I will never forget.

When I was in the Dominican Republic, everyone was so friendly. They loved music and dancing, just like I did. Even though it was a little scary the day they changed government and we had to stay in our hotel, I was inspired by everyone’s positivity.

Even in the United States, there are cultural differences, and I would feel out of place at times, but the teams were always welcoming. I often went to Appleton, Wisconsin to coach a huge call center. Traveling can include weekends away from home, and one of the managers invited me to join their family on a Sunday to watch a Green Bay Packers game. The folks there are very warm and friendly.

When I was in Oklahoma City, the team there took me to my first rodeo. It was hosted by the Black Rodeo USA Association. This was special to me; I did not know this lifestyle existed, but of course it does.

There have been times when I was on the road for major milestones, too. More recently, while in Louisville, Kentucky I celebrated my 25th year with AT&T. The team made me feel so appreciated. They showed up with flowers, desserts, and lots of smiles. To me, their joy let me know that my 25 years have been a job well done. I will never forget the love I received at that pinnacle moment of my career. During my time there, we became like family. To this day, if traveling down I65S, I stop in at the call center to say hello; it doesn’t matter if I’m on vacation or if I’m working.

To me, no matter where I go, a shared smile always starts a great connection. I’m often asked, “How are you so confident?” It’s not always easy, but I’ve been lucky to be inspired by incredible women both inside and outside of work. Beginning with my mom, I use the joy and ideals she taught me early on to be happy and confident in life.

As I look back, I am truly humbled that I had the gumption to go from a small town (Michigan City, Indiana) to travel all over the world without fear. AT&T has enabled me to share my passion for life and combine it with a dynamic career. I love being able to demonstrate that a black woman can be a lot of things and having a big friendly smile is one of them. When I was younger, my mom would remind me that smiling is my superpower; and I’ve used it to navigate the world with grace and success.

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