My beautiful mother was my first business partner. She believed in me! She is the person who encouraged me the most. “Don’t give up, Paula,” she said, “you can do this.” She listened to my training and speaking sessions before the world ever had an opportunity to hear me. She never believed I’d be anything but GREAT.

I watched Mommy sacrifice to make sure our family had what was needed. The best gift she gave us was her LOVE.

I had the privilege of watching her be an outstandingly dedicated wife as she operated in unconditional love and forgiveness. I watched her be an amazing mother, as she risked her own safety to protect her children.

I remember watching her work multiple jobs at a time, come home, cook every meal for the family, and attend to us while teaching us how to cultivate and gather fresh food from our large garden.

She canned fruits and vegetables, shopped wisely, and made our house a home. She helped us with our homework and made sure we had the supplies we needed. She taught me how to sew, wash, iron, clean, budget, save, and most of all, PRAY.

She inspired me. At age 10, I began selling Avon and helped with my brother’s early morning paper route. A couple of years later, I started working at a fast food restaurant. When I wanted to get a job, play in the band, sing in the choir, participate in plays, and cheerlead, she made it happen without blinking. She also sang in the choir, ushered, chaired committees, and lovingly welcomed others into our home. She taught me with her life of service.

As I grew up, I actually tried to accomplish all the things she did in a 24-hour period, and I about passed out, Absolutely Exhausting is an understatement.

Her words of wisdom are priceless, and even when she couldn’t be around, I could still hear them. She could see what I couldn’t; she could see what I wouldn’t.

She would not let me use the word can’t. My mother always said, “Can’t died a long time ago.” She was right.

When we launched J.PR and Associates, LLC, and PaulaSpeaks, she was there, cheering me on without hesitation. She always seemed so interested in everything I had to say and every workshop I purposed to develop. When I wanted to quit, she was there holding me up.

362 days ago, my heart was unbelievably shattered. Mommy left and went to heaven.

What kept me going? Her love for me. With prayer, time, and immense intensity, I had to push past immeasurable pain. I decided to refuse to let every sacrifice she made for ME be in vain. Watching her fight taught me to do the same. I thank God for my Mommy.

Her Leadership Characteristics showed up over and over again, even though she never stepped into a corporate position or entrepreneurial role. She was the great visionary, committed to excellent service and mentorship. Her succession planning and wisdom-filled communication skills were second-to-none. You may not know her, but you are reading this today because of her.

With tears streaming down my face, I say, Mommy, this one is for you.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I miss you.


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