BBWD Guest Table-talk: Episode 59

Date: April 28, 2022

  1.     What do you want people to know about you? Describe yourself in 6 words. Ex-

    Assaunta – So I’m an educator first. You know, that’s the first thing. I’m an entrepreneur. How do you say it? You say 6 words. I have so many words I guess that will describe me. I’m ambitious. I’m passionate, I’m humbled. That might be more than six words. I’m inspired by other people. But, you know, if I were to say, one of my biggest models or quotes is “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Because life is a journey. You’re going to have peaks and valleys, but never give up on your dreams. Never give up on your goals! You know they say the sky’s the limit, but no the sky is not the limit. It’s Limitless… And so, as you mentioned, I keep going up and up because I don’t see that ceiling. There’s something beyond the sky… More than six words. You know, I’m a little rebel. I go a little bit out

    1.     Let us know your business name, industry, location, and description. Why are you in this field? How did you get here?

    Assaunta – I stumbled into this field.I started as a literacy instructor at Bronx Community College and another nonprofit organization, I can’t remember the name now, and I taught people how to read in the community. I was teaching people the alphabet and one of the ways that I was teaching people was through their own stories. So you learn to write by writing your stories. Low and behold I ended up being a publisher. I didn’t know that at the time, you know, computers weren’t even out yet and people were writing this story and taking pictures from magazines, but I felt like you could teach yourself through your own stories. Being a lover of reading and a lover of writing materials it was a natural fit for me to teach others. Because entrepreneurship is in my blood I would also insert, “What kind of business would you like to start?” You can turn that into this or you’re a great cook. So I started by being an educator first and worked my way up through CUNY. And someone took an interest in me and I wouldn’t say that I was ambitious. I didn’t know what it was. I was just doing what I was told to do and that was do good work. I come from Integrity, good ethics, but someone saw me and mentored me without me even knowing I was being mentored And so I just followed the natural progression and then I ended up here.

    1.     What was your biggest challenge in running your business or working in your industry throughout the pandemic?

    Assaunta – The biggest challenge, and I’ll speak from the 10,000 Small Businesses Program, was moving from an in-person to immediately providing it remote. We were in cohort 30 at the time and I think we went up to cohort mod 3, which is Money and Metrics. That was the last class in person that abruptly life changed. And it changed for the team personally and changed for the business owners. We’re dealing with this pandemic, but didn’t really know what it was. So there was the fear but at the same token, we had to be there. The cohort members, at that time, wanted us to stop. They didn’t want them to come in and I talked to the people and said they want us to condense the schedule. They don’t want us to do it this new way right now, but they gave me the options to either stop it or go forward to the next time. I said you know what… they need us. They need us during this time as challenging as it is was for us. It’s even more challenging for them. See, I have a job, right? What’s going to happen to my business? What’s going to happen to my family? People are getting sick, people are leaving this earth, right? So pivoting through the challenge and I guess steering the team in a way, being there for the team to give them the strength to continue and be there for the business owners that also needed that. So, that was a challenging moment, but we ended up doing three more cohorts remotely and we mastered it. What scholars experienced in person, they experienced in the remote setting.  That same feeling of being a family. That’s how I run any business, you are family. So I think that would be the most recent challenge that we were able to pivot and to successfully navigate the boat through.

    1.     Where does your resilience come from, and how do you tap into it?

    Assaunta – God, right. The sun rises without me and the sun sets without me and I believe I’m a messenger. So everything that I do is through him/her. That’s where it comes from and I’m blessed enough to have parents, who were able to still navigate and guide me through my life. But my inspiration and my gifts come from God.

    1.     Any mistake you made that you want to prevent others from making?

    Assaunta – So and I’ll share this, this is probably a little personal but I’m pretty open and I guess it was January 2020, I had a stroke. Because I’m superwoman, I did not recognize or I should have said, I didn’t know or didn’t accept that something was going on because that week was a crazy week for me. I came down with what I thought was a cold, but I think it was Covid and I was taking Theraflu because I had to interview new businesses and Assauntacould not miss work. Absolutely not. And so, I was drinking Theraflu, like, it was water. Ifound out later that that’s the worst medicine you can take, if you have Covid, but who knew it was Covid. The biggest mistake is that I didn’t stop. Right. I should have gone to the doctor. I should have stayed home. You know, I shouldn’t think I’m not a superwoman, you know, I’m not a robot. So that would be, I would say that would be my biggest mistake is not putting my health first. Not paying attention to taking time off. I will push myself to the absolute limit. The crazy and I would say funny, but it’s not funny, is when I finally went to the hospital it was on Martin Luther King’s birthday. The stroke happened Friday, so I didn’t go until Monday to the hospital because I said if I can’t write my name, and I tried to write my name and I couldn’t. That’s the problem, and a serious mistake because I’m not paying attention or I’m not wanting to accept that there’s something wrong because I’m super human. But guess what? God said, you are not stupid! You got to get it together. So if I can leave anything with anyone is to take the time to put yourself first. You can’t be all things to everyone. I’m blessed that it was very small because it could have been worse and even now I have to try not to push myself. Sometimes I do still because it’s part of my makeup, but then I say if I remember you are not Superwoman, you’re not a robot. You got to take the time to smell the roses and take care of yourself first.

    6.     Each one. Teach one. Suggest a book, song, course, or program for our listeners.

    Assaunta – One of my favorite books, as a child, was The Little Engine That Could. My mother read that book over and over and over to me because it was about never giving up. And so a source of inspiration from me is when I think about that book.  I’ve read that book as needed because sometimes you feel like giving up. My name is Ascension. I’ve never wanted to give up, but sometimes you do. Remember, we’re not super women. So The Little Red Engine That Could is an inspirational book. It’s one that I like to always tell people to read. Remember who you are at your core? When we were children, we were innocent. We have tons of ambition. The sky is Limitless. It’s only when we go through a school system or our family dynamics, and we need other people that we are told that the sky is the limit. So, we can just step back and remember when we were once a child. Close your eyes. Think about The Little Red Engine That Could then we can remember that we can do anything and we don’t have to give up.
Damali Peterman

Damali Peterman

Damali Peterman, Esq., is the Founder, CEO and Chief Conflict Resolver of Breakthrough ADR LLC. Damali has extensive experience in corporate law, mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. She is a highly sought after mediator and trainer for Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government entities, nonprofits and small businesses.

About Breakthrough ADR

BREAKTHROUGHADR partners with you to identify the best paths to achieving your goals. Whether you need help reaching agreement with another party or giving your partners, employees or students the tools needed to navigate and resolve conflicts, BREAKTHROUGHADR will work with you to help you accomplish your objectives and find your breakthrough.

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