The Story of Reaching Out
When I was working in Detroit, Michigan as a corporate manager, I not only encouraged my employees to volunteer for community outreach programs sponsored by the company, but I participated as well. I would visit inner city schools and talk to pre-college engineering students about the importance of a good education.
In addition to my job responsibilities, I stayed up many nights working on presentations to college-prep high school students and their parents. It was encouraging to talk to the parents afterwards and hear them express their appreciation for what I said to the students. Most of the parents had the same goals and aspirations for their children as I had for my son.
In 2001 after an extended health challenge, I left the corporate office to become the head chef and cook of the Gothard Kitchen. This was not my idea of how to give something back to the community. Each day I would wake up listening to cars driving down the street in front of my home. The sound of the automobiles made me feel guilty for not working. Somehow, I had allowed my job in the corporate office to define who I was.
After six months of feeling sorry for myself–and after knowing that my husband Donald did not think I could survive without him due to my poor money management habits–I made a decision to learn a new skill: Finances. I went to my local neighborhood public library and checked out five financial management books written by the experts. Every day for the next two months, I studied financial management. I took the best from what I could understand, and I developed a financial presentation without knowing to whom I would give the presentation.
While in my home city, I stopped in my local bank for a transaction. While “people watching” in the bank lobby, I had an explosive thought. I asked the bank teller if I could speak with the manager. I told the manager that I had a community outreach project for low income families in the inner city of Detroit. I told him I wanted them to experience the same banking relationships which I felt I was privileged to have because of my husband’s good financial management skills.
Before I left the bank, I told the manager I had developed a financial workbook using language about money that at-risk families could understand. What I needed from the bank was a manager to attend all seven weeks of the seminar without the audience knowing that the manager was in the class. That way, a relationship would be built among ordinary people with the same aspirations as ours. The bank would be able to better service the needs of the community. The bank manager agreed to give me that support in just the person I needed, Mary Mybia, an investment banker. My team was formed: Mary, my husband Donald, and me.
I talked to the pastor of my church, Pastor William E. Joseph, Jr., and he told me, “Go home and prepare to begin making presentations right in our church!” Three weeks later I announced my first seminar. Approximately 60 community people registered. I stopped by the bank, picked up Mary Mybia, and drove her to Detroit to hear me give my financial presentation over the next seven-week period. A new partnership was formed with the bank and community! And, from that day forward, Seven Steps to Wealth Seminars was born to teach a seven-step process, using biblical principles, to correct bad money habits. The bank acquired new clients in need of banking services.
Hundreds of individuals have completed the classes and benefited from them. Reaching out! Reaching across cities!