engagement + impact strategist
I pull out the best in people and help them discover + stand in their truth, create a game plan for success, and take intentional action.
I WON THE LOTTERY!
Growing up I saw life from three different lenses: poverty, privilege, and community.
I grew up in poverty in a single parent household where my mom struggled to take care of my brother and I, and I lived around the corner from a rich neighborhood that was built on the east side of Columbus called Berwick. There was a school built there, and they allowed kids outside of the neighborhood to apply to attend. Guess who won the lottery? ME!
I was privileged enough to go to a school where people like the senator’s daughters went. Berwick Elementary was math and science based. We had invention and science fairs and camping trips multiple times per year, when other public schools barely had school materials (I later learned). My privileged educational track continued until my freshman year of high school.
I also learned community. Every weekend I went to my grandma’s house. My grandparents lived on the south side of Columbus, what I affectionately call the hood. It was a different world, and I LOVED it – sitting on the porch talking to neighbors, walking to the corner store, or swinging on the swing next to the peach tree. Being at my grandma’s was like living in the country on the south side in a house off of the alley. I saw some crime and violence, but what I remember the most was the tight knit community of people that wanted nothing but the best for their family and supported each other.
MY ADVOCACY BEGAN
It wasn’t until I started attending a public high school that I began to see how the three lenses of poverty, privilege, and community gave me a distinct life perspective. I had a different foundation, experiences that told me there was more, one that helped me clearly see the gaps from the world I had grown up in and the one I ended up entering. I didn’t like it, and I didn’t think it was fair.
My best friend in high school didn’t believe she could go to college (I think there was only a handful of us from our class that went). We both had struggles in our childhood and would be first generation college students, so the odds were definitely stacked against us. I remember telling her, “If I can go to college, so can you. Fill out your applications!” (I can be a little bossy that way. LOL!) She did and was accepted, but when it became time for us to go, the bursar’s office was holding up her financial aid because of issues with her FAFSA. I remember calling the office and advocating for her to go, and they let her!
ANSWERING THE CALL
When I look back now on my story, I can understand how my experiences shaped me and prepared me for the work I’m called to do today. I continue to have the ability to see life from a variety of perspectives. I see the gap between those who have access and resources and those that don’t. I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now, and I work diligently to do something about it. I see a problem, create a solution, and invoke change in the people and in systems that keep people trapped.
Being raised in poverty, educated in privilege, and exposed to the beauty and pain of hardship has taught me to be intuitive – recognizing gaps/missteps and missed opportunity; an encourager + motivator – pushing people to achieve greatness; a problem solver – developing creative solutions to complex problems + obstacles, and has made me bold enough to stand in truth, advocate for what is right, and help people WIN!
What I did at the ripe age of 17 is now what I do for every individual and organization I’m blessed to work with.
Why Work With Me?
In a nutshell, I know how to help people achieve greatness, even more than what they imagine is possible. I do this through my natural gifts, educational experience, and professional expertise.
My life story has been about overcoming obstacles + beating the odds, and I desire to help as many people as possible do the same. If you’re an individual or organization that is ready to win more and consistently, let’s get started!
Monique is passionate about working with people to create change. She was drawn to helping people through nonprofit work 15 years ago, and over the course of her career has had the opportunity to explore multiple forms of social work and community development, most recently leading community engagement work as a senior director at a foundation. Monique earned a master’s degree in social work at Case Western Reserve University, where she was provided a stellar foundation for working directly with people and organizations in an impactful way.
- BA Journalism + Mass Communication (Kent State University)
- Masters of Science in Social Admin (Case Western Reserve University)
- Certificate in Nonprofit Management (Case Western Reserve University)
- In progress: Human-centered design (IDEO U)
- Family support worker
- Community organizer
- Community engagement
- Leadership coaching
- Adjunct Instructor – Case Western Reserve
- Needs assessments
- Strategic planning
- Action planning
- Program design + evaluation
16781 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 248, Shaker Heights, OH 44120