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When I was 17, I went on a dAte with a young man that I thought would one day become my husband…

There was a very nice young man that I practically grew up with. He was a very good friend to me from the time I was 11 years old and my parents absolutely adored him. He was the type of guy that would stop by my house to pick me up, to hang out - and would end up talking with my dad for hours. My mother insisted that he was the “one for me”. Me, on the other hand, I did not feel that pull. However, upon my mother’s insistence, I agreed to go on a date with him. (for the purposes of telling this story - I’ll call him “John”).

On my 17th birthday, John thought it would be cool to take me on a trip to Atlantic City. As we were walking along the boardwalk, he spotted a shabby little store front no bigger than the size of a closet, with beaded curtains and veils. From inside, a woman’s gaze caught mine. She was a fortune teller.

John convinced me to have my fortune told. After all, it was my 17th birthday. I had my whole life ahead of me with the world in the palm of my hands. What better way to celebrate than to have someone tell me of my future destiny.

The elderly woman, with the appearance of a gypsy, said nothing for at least five minutes after I stepped inside. Instead she sat quietly and seemed to assess me spiritually with a knowing, intuitive eye. I did not feel uneasy. In fact, her approach only made me more curious. After the 5 minutes had transpired, she simply said, “The man that you are going to marry - you have not met him yet.”

I was struck. Not only did she NOT arbitrarily tell me silly little things that most people want to hear when their fortunes are told, such as: “You’re going to be a huge success one day".… or “You’re going to live a long life.” She told me something very matter-of-fact and specific - and she said it right in front of John, knowing that it would have been easier to tell me the contrary.

Although I felt uncomfortable for John (this woman had just spoken a truth about us that I was not brave enough to admit) I never broke eye contact with her as she said three simple phrases:

1) You will meet your husband soon. The two of you will fall in love immediately. You will be separated by an ocean for many years, then reconnect. You will be married forever.

2) You will have one child- a son.

3) Your words will travel the world…

Her words came to light…

Needless to say, John and I never married. In fact, as soon as I turned 18, I joined the Air Force where I met a young officer in Tech School, Dean. During the few weeks Dean and I spent together, we were inseparable, and fell deeply and passionately in love - almost immediately. It was a young and innocent love - yet it was a connection that I had never experienced before. Our young love matured and grew deeper over the next few years - until fate stepped in and Dean received orders that he would be stationed far away- on a tiny, rain soaked, wind swept island south of the Azores (an autonomous region of Portugal - archipelago in the mid-Atlantic).

I thought back to that fortune teller. I had fallen in love with Dean, and shortly thereafter, we found ourselves inexplicably separated by an ocean, just as she had foretold.

Needless to say, our young love did not withstand the distance, nor could it bear the growing pains - and although we loved each other soul deep, there was a divide between us for more than a decade. We lost touch.

MY words came to light…

I spent the initial years during my separation from Dean fulfilling a life-long dream to pen a novel. Since I was a young girl in the 2nd grade, I knew - innately - that I was a writer. All I had ever wanted to do was write novels. In fact, I wrote stories throughout my youth that went on to publication and win awards.

A few years after Dean and I lost touch, I penned a novel - shopped it to publishers - and immediately landed a book deal. That novel went on to break sales records across the nation. It became a best seller. I received letters from the Board of Directors of Barnes and Nobles personally inviting me to do a tour and signings at their highest trafficked stores. That novel remained their best seller until the release of the 1st Harry Potter.

One afternoon, while I was doing a meet and greet at the Barnes and Nobles in Union Station Washington DC, I met a man who had traveled all the way from Sweden to have his copy signed. I was honored and taken aback by his level of graciousness, in meeting me. I felt that it was I who should be ingratiated to him for making the journey.

Once again, I thought back to that fortune teller.

Through my novel, my words had found their way to a man in Sweden. My words were travelling the world.

A storyteller emerges…

Dean and I reconnected many years later, very serendipitously. He and I were both in our mid 30’s at this point. Our reunion occurred naturally and effortlessly like taking our next breaths.

During that time, I decided to pivot and steer my career in the direction of giving back - doing more meaningful, purpose-filled work. I began working for a non-profit organization. I was deliberately starting over in an entry level position. All I wanted to do was serve others and write in my spare time.

It was Dean who encouraged me me to take on a leadership position within the organization (a role that I had been desperately avoiding.) Although I was reluctant, it was because of Dean that I stepped forward to take the organization by the reigns and use my talent to champion causes to help families and children in crisis. For seven years, as the Director of Marketing and Community Outreach, I spoke to audiences of thousands. I passionately told the story of the non-profit and connected with leaders across the globe. And in doing so, I helped to raise millions of dollars and positively impact the lives of millions of people in our communities who are often forgotten.

With my words, I was affecting change - from Philadelphia to Swaziland Africa to developing countries in Asia and Australia. If it meant changing lives, I crafted the words and told our story.

And, in moments when I would meet a young group of children from East Kenya Africa - who lovingly hugged me and called me Mamma Mimi - once again I would think back to that fortune teller. My words… my stories… were indeed travelling the world.

Her words ring true to this day…

Everything the fortune teller told me at 17 years old has come to pass. Although Dean and I were apart for many years, we reconnected, and are still happily married. We are raising one child, a son.

My words are still travelling the world, only today, they are travelling in a different way. Since retiring from the non-profit, I have taken the skills that I honed over the years to tell the stories of businesses and brands all over the world. From emerging entrepreneurs to Fortune 500’s, I create authentic engaging brand stories that connect with audiences in a way that propels their businesses forward.

Everyone has a story to tell…

Stories are the most primitive and purest form of communication. The most enduring and galvanizing ideas and values are embedded in our stories. When you have a memorable story about who you are and what your passion is, your success no longer depends on how experienced you are or how many degrees you have or who you know.

As I have experienced throughout my life - whether it be my own personal love story, a best selling novel, or a brand campaign - a compelling story transcends boundaries, breaks barriers and opens doors.

This is my story, what is yours?

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