The businesswoman’s name is Dr. Devona Williams. She is the Founder and President/ Chief Executive Officer of a 16-year-old Performance Consulting Company Goeins-Williams Associates, Inc. Dr. Williams is an accomplished inspirational speaker, trainer and consultant with nearly 30 years experience in the fields of public policy, planning and public relations with the corporate, government and non-profit sectors.
Highlights of her public career include her appointment as a Presidential Management Intern in the Reagan Administration and Legislative Fellow in the Delaware House of Representatives. With an eye to business as a young child, she found her way clear to start her own very successful full time consulting and training business in 1993, Goeins-Williams Associates, Inc.
Besides being a successful businesswoman, she is a wife, mother and recently became a grandmother. Incredibly accomplished, she has a story of overcoming tremendous obstacles and challenges in both her personal and business life. Her story of overcoming those challenges can provide business and life skills for us all.
I met her over 30 years ago when she was just a smart, pretty young teenager attending a prestigious high school in Philadelphia. I was attending Central High School of Philadelphia and she, Philadelphia High Schools for Girls.
More than 30 years after that fateful meeting, after not having seen or talk with her for almost 30 years, I read Dr. William’s remarkable story of how she was raised, the incredible challenges she has faced in her equally remarkable life, learned of her business success, and was inspired by her ability to persevere, overcome and experience genuine success.
The Remarkable Women book talks about her professional accomplishments, but also the obstacles and personal challenges she has endured, including sexual assault as a young college freshman, breaking the glass ceiling at a Fortune 500 company, starting her Consulting business in a State that historically was challenged when it came to women owned businesses, a devastating injury, and an unfaithful husband and a resulting divorce.
While reading her story, I could not help thinking that the obstacles and challenges Dr. Devona faced could have ended most careers and certainly a business.
In Chapter 22 of the book where Dr. Williams’ story is featured, she tells for the first time publicly, in detail, of these obstacles and challenges that she overcame, spawning for her a unique strength, philosophy and approach to life that forged the foundation for her successful 30-year career. Her unique philosophy, strength and faith have allowed her to preserver, grow and prosper even during these challenging circumstances.
The book discusses the key beliefs and principles that allowed her to continue and experience success while going through these challenges. To put it mildly, Dr. Williams’ story is both startling and inspirational.
In the book she shares some of her core beliefs that she has applied in her life and her business. Here are a few:
· Success is planned. It is not an accident.
· You must have multiple plans. Success people plan and have multiple plans.
· You can do the right thing, prepare yourself and then sometimes things just don’t go as plan. That’s ok. All things work together for good if you believe.
· You must have an overall vision for your own personal success. What will it look like when you get there?
· You must have multiple approaches to your goals and dreams, most of them written down or at least in a framework. The yellow brick road was not the only way to Oz!
· When unexpected things happen, contemplate the impact, readjust if necessary then quickly continue to move forward.
Dr. Williams continues in her book, “ Obstacles that come along should be viewed as temporary challenges or setbacks. Find a way to get around them. Learn from them. Use painful or a key learning’s to continue to fulfill your purpose. Your vision of success. Whatever that looks like for you.”
She describes the circumstances of a violent assault at the innocent age of 18. Dr. Devona says,“ The cab driver violently attacked me, and during our struggle he yelled racial and sexual obscenities, letting me know that he intended to rape me. He punched me in my eye and nearly knocked me unconscious. At this point, I called out to God to intervene. He helped me to escape. I felt like it was the end of my life. ”
She describes how that for her, was an end of a period of innocence, and at that early age in 1973, there was not a lot of opportunity for her to get the help she needed after such an incident. She was ashamed to tell her parents. Embarrassed as if she was responsible for the attack. Never got therapy. Never told anyone until recently. But through sheer will power and the need to complete her education, pay for it, and just plain survive the humiliation of the event…she just kept going.
As a business owner particularly as a start up home-based business, you are going to have many challenges. Some will seem like they just simply cannot be overcome. You will frequently take two steps forward and one step back prior to your business becoming what you and I would call “successful.” There will be times when your expense far out weigh your revenues. You will want to quit, give up, go and get a real job!
During those periods, take some advice from Dr. Williams. She says,” Obstacles that come along the way should be viewed as challenges that are temporary, that can be overcome.”
Dr. Devona believes everyone can be remarkable in both his or her business and personal life as well. It is possible to have it all…if you just refuse to give in.
She says, “ If you continue and never quit, then you too can be a Remarkable Success in your company, home, business and most importantly, in your life.”
Get the book and read her complete story. Have a handkerchief in your hand and then become that remarkable person that is you.