By Carrie —

Raised by parents who struggled with drug addiction, in an environment where abuse was rampant, I lived a childhood filled with setbacks, heartbreak and challenges. At 11, my dad beat my mom in the early hours of the morning and left for Cali and shortly thereafter ended up in prison. At 14, my mom left me and my 3 siblings in the middle of the night and never returned. At the young age of 20, I became a single mother to a beautiful daughter.

It would have been easy for me to follow in my parent’s footsteps, to succumb to the pressures of drugs and poverty, to end up in prison as many of my family members have.

But my path would be different, and would lead to a successful life filled with an exciting career and a loving daughter. There wasn’t one moment when I had some sort of epiphany — I just kept moving forward, kept surviving. I eventually found a job as an administrative assistant with LGE Design Build. I kept climbing over the course of 16 years + to office manager, to director of HR, to Chief Operating Officer, to the head of a charitable foundation, to a partner in business ventures.

I could have been a statistic. Instead, I’m a leading force for one of the Valley’s top commercial design build firms — and a proud mother as well. My combination of perseverance, empathy, life experience and professional experience differentiate from the rest. Never give up!