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WYP2016 Speaker Spotlight


Have you ever met someone who instantly put you at ease? Like you could share what was on your mind and heart and know that you wouldn’t be judged? Next up in the WYP Speaker Spotlight is Tonya Davis-Taylor. Her story is one of resilience, strength and tenacity.

How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?

I remember starting my early career in child welfare and was thinking this feels right. Well partially because I was happy to be employed after graduation in a reputable profession. I’ve heard horror stories of people graduating from college and being unemployed or under employed I remember marching into my borough director office and telling him I was ready for more responsibility and was deserving of a promotion to which he replied great I’m looking for people just like you. Feeling pretty proud of myself his next question really set the tone for my advancement. He asked where did I get my Master’s degree from. It was in that moment I realized I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was and it became the catalyst for me to not only continue my education but to ensure that I would never be denied because I wasn’t credentialed. Needless to say I didn’t get that position but there were plenty thereafter.

What career mistake has given you the biggest lesson?

I worked for the City of New York for most of career and I had developed a nice internal network that worked for most of my career. It wasn’t until we were in an economic crisis that I realized all of my connections were in house and in the same predicament as I. I couldn’t help them and they couldn’t help me. I remember the day we received pink slips and I had three outside connections. Thankfully one came through but since I’ve learned the power of your network and I’ve since learned that life is all about relationships.

What is the biggest risk that you’ve taken?

This year I have taken the greatest risk with opening my practice and defined it exactly how I wanted to. Many people ask me why are just working with women of color, that’s limiting. My response is always the same. They need me right now. Besides no one asked you. Lol.

What is the biggest challenge to achieving success?

My biggest challenge is related to my biggest risk. As a African American woman serving women of color I’ve faced challenges with getting funding, people taking this process serious and staying in constant defense of the need for my services. While some days feel like an upward battle, I’ve learned that those relationships I’ve built will sustain me through the challenging times.

Who are you without your accolades?
Legacy holder
Spirit builder
Slap yo mama these yams are so good maker
My sisters/brother keeper

Meet Tonya at the 3rd annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. Register today:

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