By Princess Carroll Ayo Durodola
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Little did I know that I would meet a powerhouse of a woman that day, who would change me. Sun rays streamed through the huge windows behind me as I sat in my cube at work. I could hear voices over the tops of the office cubicles,
“Well, hello Donna. So nice to finally meet you in person.”
“Well, nice to meet you also,” was the reply from Donna.
“I’ve heard so much about you from Barbara. I’m glad you agreed to come back to us.”
“Well, thank you. I’m glad to be back…I think,” she said and got the expected chuckles.
They moved their conversation down the long hallway away from my cube as they were greeted with squeals of “Donna, you’re back!”
I dismissed her as a contractor who had worked there before. By the time I was able to welcome her she informed me that she had actually been hired full time as a trainer of our sales reps. We became friends from that day.
Sure of herself and confident in her abilities, Donna knew how to work the corporate system. Before a few months had past she was a senior training manager. During a company re-organization she became the manager of our team. I had anxiety about a friend becoming my manager but it was unnecessary. Donna was good at both being my friend and my manager.
Even though some didn’t handle her appointment very well, Donna was firm, clear and sympathetic. She had a beautiful work style. As the years went by I watched as this bright-eyed fair-skinned black woman did her job despite many nay-sayers. They may have complained about her being in authority but I would hear them mumble, “She does know how to do her job.”
No matter what relationship she had with people Donna gave them presents. Everyone in the department seemed to have some fun book or ornament or bauble that Donna had bought for them. It was always appropriate to whatever was going on in their lives at that time.
My relationship with my dear Donna continues until today. Recently we went shopping at Nordstrom’s and she showed me that I could wear white. White tops and bottoms. I had never dreamed that possible with my plus size body and big bottom, but Donna said my bottom was big, yes, but oh so beautiful. This was a turning point in my life to realize that even though my body may not have seemed perfect to me I was still beautiful. This allowed me to walk holding my head up higher.
I have also had the opportunity to work as a manager and often used Donna’s managerial tactics especially when I was faced with opposition. There was many a day when I acted as Donna would to resolve problems or deal with staff.
Another impact I have felt from Donna’s presence in my life is that I have become a giver. I give to any and everyone as often as possible. A short time ago I was able to give Donna a gift, the gift of refuge in my home when she was evicted from hers. In the giving of this gift, I saw how, like Ecclesiastes says “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.”
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