Hey, I'm Jackie
An optimist, mother, author, coach, leadership performance advisor, trainer, and, advocate for service excellence and diverse and inclusive workplace culture.
I am dedicated to helping you embrace the truth of your enoughness and embody the power of your best self to rise and slay your greatness in unique ways.
Think Bigger. Feel Bolder. Act Braver.
A born and raised Carolina girl from famously HOT Columbia, SC, with nothing but my faith in God, a farmer's work ethic, keen situational awareness of the cultural influences in corporate environments and a gift of leadership, I'm proud to have built a 20 - year award-winning leadership corporate career by defying the odds as a minimum wage employee working for Marriott Hotels. I was able to work my way up through the ranks of management to become an executive leader of high-performance teams and successful million dollar businesses.
One of the things I am often asked is
"How were you able to rise above the odds against you to achieve
the level of success you've accomplished?"
From the age of seven when I heard snippets of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech "I Have A Dream" after his assassination on April 4, 1968, I believed in my heart that I was destined to be a leader who would make a positive difference in the lives of others. And, I have always been curious about how my ideas could become a reality.
Despite my humble beginnings and my personal challenges at the time I started to work at the Columbia Marriott Hotel in my hometown of Columbia, SC, deep within my soul I felt a sense of belonging and I set out to do what I could with what I knew to make the hotel better than I found it.
For example, when I received my first promotion into the housekeeping administrative position, one of the first things I changed was creating a weekend rotation for all housekeeping employees which meant that they would now have at least one weekend out of the month off. For the single mom's on staff, this really meant a lot to them.
I became a literacy tutor to help one of my co-workers read at a higher level. I organized the hotel's first Thanksgiving Baskets Giveaway. My manager Bill Ammerman and his girlfriend Debbie and I delivered the Thanksgiving boxes to individuals from a list I received from the United Way of the Midlands. During the three and half years that I worked at the Columbia Marriott, I was recognized as the Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year.
Fortunately for me, our HR Director Wayne Nappier suggested that I interview for one of two Housekeeping Supervisor positions that would be available at the new Courtyard by Marriott opening in the city. I applied and was hired to be a part of the opening team. I was excited about this advancement opportunity with the company.
Six years later, I had prepared and positioned myself to receive five management promotions within the hotel as Marriott continued to re-organize and require managers to successfully lead multiple departments within the Courtyard division. Even with the additional responsibilities, I was able to become a charter member of the Courtyard by Marriott Mid-Atlantic Diversity & Inclusion Committee and a part of the Courtyard Opening Hotel Task Team. Coupled with these experiences, my belief in my ability to become a successful Marriott general manager and the support and sponsorship of my managers and district manager, I was promoted into my first GM's position on February 9, 1995.
I Have Learned Over the Course of My Life,
Every Challenge is A Divine Opportunity for Us
to Level Up Our Faith & Personal Mastery Skills
Six months after my first GM’s promotion with Marriott, life hit me with a sucker punch when I experienced the unexpected death of my teenage son Blease who died unexpectedly from cardiac arrest. The mental and emotional hell I experienced from the loss of my son isn't something I would want anyone to experience. A few months after this blow, I experienced another unexpected blow when I received the results back from my first employee opinion survey as a General Manager.
According to the results, I was ranked as the least effective GM in my region. The emotional and mental blow of losing my son and now having members of my new team rank me as the least effective GM caused me for a moment to question if I should request a transfer back to my hometown of Columbia, SC. At least, I would be around my close friends and family members as I navigated the journey of processing the grief I was trying to numb myself from feeling.
After aligning myself with Spirit and praying about the situation, I recognized how I was operating from the assumption that the hotel staff trusted me enough to be influenced by me and follow me. Nothing was further from the truth.
So, I decided to use one of the key tools in my leadership playbook to initiate the effort to connect with the head, hearts, and hands of the staff. I scheduled one on one meetings with each team member. During each session, I asked each person to help her become a better leader for him/her. I asked each person to write down on an index card ONE THING he/she felt I needed to STOP doing, START doing and CONTINUE doing to improve our relationship and my leadership.
As much as I would have loved to have found a hole and escape the spiritual and emotional storm I was experiencing, I knew in my gut that God hadn’t allowed me to defy the odds against me only to position me to secure this GM’s position only to be unsuccessful. I knew from experiencing the loss of my mom at the age of thirteen that these circumstances although very difficult were divine opportunities for me to grow into the next level version of myself and flourish.
Instead of ruminating over my fear that I'd made the wrong decision relocating to Wilmington, NC, I was able to ground myself in the truth of who I know myself to be and what I stand for as a leader. Following my intuition, I decided to start showing up as the leader the staff needed me to be based on our one on one conversations. The following year, I was recognized with two other GM’s at the Courtyard/Fairfield Inn Leadership Conference as one of three GM’s with the most improved employee opinion survey results in a company-owned hotel within the US.
Building on my ability to connect with the heads, hearts, and hands of team members, I began to invest in the development of all hotel staff members. I understand the importance of personal development and personal mastery and the role they had on my unimaginable success with Marriott Hotels. I began to develop a team of leaders without titles. Together, we implemented new customer service and community services initiatives that enabled our team to grow the hotel's market share, revenues and profits during a period when new hotels were being built on every block it seemed in Wilmington, NC because of the opening of I-40 through the city.
In two and a half years, our team was unrecognizable. So much so that we were awarded four #1 awards out of 300+ Fairfield Inn hotels in the US at another Courtyard/Fairfield Inn GM's Conference.
Throughout my Marriott career, I had great managers that demonstrated the power of servant leadership. I would not have had many of the opportunities that I had throughout my corporate career had it not been for the great leaders that invested in my growth and development.
I worked tirelessly to pay it forward. During the thirteen years I worked at Marriott hotels, it was expected of me by my bosses to groom my replacement in each of my roles. By the time I resigned from Marriott, four women, three of which were Black women were promoted into GM positions. Many more hourly employees were mentored to take on their first supervisory roles which helped to prepare several of them for middle management promotions. I was conditioned by Marriott to grow leaders.
I continued to mentor and grow leaders at the other organizations in which I worked before leaving my last GM's role to return to school and pursue my aspirations of becoming an author, speaker, and trainer.
Even to this day, I remain proud of all the team members I have had the pleasure of working with and serving in various leadership roles. I am especially proud of those who have accomplished so much more than I did while working in corporate environments. Those that I remain in contact with are the ones that I maintain the expectation that they should always be growing leaders, with and without a title. As they get older, they are beginning to understand the power of their leadership legacy.
I believe we must bring the power of our authentic self
to the table to grow forward and flourish in diverse arenas.
Today, as the founder and CEO of Slay Your Greatness Academy, I am using my life and leadership experiences and ongoing professional development to support growth-minded individuals, teams, and organizations.
I am undeniable proof that conventional paths to success are not everybody's cup of tea. I believe if one embraces her or his creativity and lead one's life, career, and start-up business with an entrepreneurial mindset, you will discover who you are at your best when you fully engaged and effective.
Paying attention to what enlivens our mind, body and spirit is a sure way of discovering the path that will fuel feelings of love, creativity and enthusiasm as we look forward to waking up anticipating the good we will accomplish as we live a life that reflects the power and presence of who we are at our best while consistently making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Which Brings Me to You
From the age of nine, when I conducted my first summer reading program in my neighborhood, I have sought out ways to serve and help others be better and experience better in life.
My commitment to embodying a servant leadership approach toward managing successful million dollar businesses and leading highly successful teams is a direct result of my innate desire to serve others with my unique talents, strengths, knowledge, creativity, and wisdom.
Through my free content, performance coaching services, LIVE events, online training programs and any other service or program I provide - I am in this to help you grow forward and flourish so that you get into the arena and live the life of your dreams.
Regardless of your present circumstances, I believe you already have the inner-authority to create the breakthrough necessary to level up your life, career, team's performance, and start-up business. I can help you uncover it and re-align with it and unleash it toward creating the change you desire to experience in your life.
I am here to help you embrace and embody your inner-authority and accept the truth of your enoughness to rise and slay your greatness in ways that enable you to live, love and lead with a greater measure of happiness and personal leadership success.