Born and raised in the heart of Detroit, I never imagined I'd leave home. Growing up, I always told my mom and granny I would stay close and take care of them. The bond I have with my matriarchs is unparalleled. While I felt a sense of obligation to remain in my hometown, I also wanted to pursue my dreams. I always knew from a young age that education was my ticket upwards, so I set myself on a fast-track and earned my associate's degree days before receiving my high school diploma. I swiftly transitioned to Michigan State University (MSU) with the goal of returning to Detroit as soon as I graduated.
At age 22, I earned my master's degree in Human Resources (HR) and Labor Relations from MSU. Throughout college, I worked in HR for the State of Michigan, and after graduation, I planned to accept a different position closer to home. I thought I had it all figured out, and was on my way back to Detroit, but a special person intervened. At the time, a former MSU alumni returned to our alma mater to recruit for L3Harris Technologies and discussed with me the potential of joining the company. After a successful interview cycle, I received an amazing offer to work for L3Harris in Lynchburg, Virginia!
While I was deeply honored for the opportunity to join such an exceptional company, I was equally nervous about crossing state lines. It was an incredibly hard decision to move so far away from home, but my family was supportive. Even my granny, who was very apprehensive at the time, was over the moon when I told her about my offer! After a lot of consideration, I mustered up the courage and packed my bags.
During my year of service in Lynchburg, I've made tons of connections and learned a lot from my mentors. I've also encountered many challenges on the job. After one obstacle in particular, I confided in my boss about a stressful experience. I'll never forget her response: “If you're uncomfortable, you're growing – so that's a good thing!"
To her statement, the lesson I want to impart to all Early Career Professionals is: take risks, be larger than yourself, and always take the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone. For me, being geographically distant from my family was just the beginning of stretching outside my comfort zone. As I continue to blossom in my career, I'm learning that continuing to stretch yourself by encountering new places and experiences will only propel you into the next fruitful stage of your life!
I challenge you to identify what topic lies outside of your comfort zone and to attack it head on! You never know what opportunity is on the other side of your fear.
As part of my continued growth and stepping outside of my comfort zone, I will be beginning a new role, in a new location. It's a blessing being part of L3Harris' HR team and spending time in Lynchburg. I have grown more than I would have expected. As I transition to my new role in Rochester, NY next month, I'm thrilled to welcome the journey right around the corner and for years to come – while still making trips back home, of course!