“Wha be fi yu, cyaa be un-fi yuh.” — What is meant for you will always be yours.
THESE are words every Jamaican knows, words that have been a driving force in Taneshia Kerr's life. Throughout her professional life, this saying from her mother has stuck with her and has been the reason for her success. Today, Jamaican-born Kerr is the interim CEO of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina, a role she earned because of her determination and faith.
Kerr witnessed first-hand the challenges women in leadership face when taking a break from their career to care for their families. In 2014, after giving birth to micro-preemie twins, she walked away from her role as director of corporate communications at the Central California Adventist Headquarters where she was a part of a team that served 30,000 members in 140 churches and schools. This move also saw her relinquishing her position as an associate pastor of a 550-member church. While it was not a decision she made lightly, she knew that the well-being of her family came first.
During an interview with Steve Harvey, he called her a supermom for making the decisions she did, and growing in the face of such adversity. The experience she had as a mom of preemies not only helped her to grow, but also led her to a new calling — a ministry for supporting others who found themselves battling life's challenges. This mission of hers to help others see and fulfil their true potential aligns perfectly with her current role; however, this did not come easily.
New challenges came her way when she decided to resume her place in the corporate world. She shares that, “Even though Steve Harvey called me super mom for the sacrifices I made for my children, I didn't feel so super when it was time to re-enter the work world and I was getting rejection letter after rejection letter. When I applied to work at the Chamber of Commerce the only open position was receptionist, but like we always say — just get a foot in the door because wha be fi yuh cyaan be un-fi yuh. And that's exactly what I did.”
This belief and determination would pay off in a great way. In less than four years after landing that role, she was appointed as the interim CEO, a position which she could be appointed permanently. Her new role sees her serving 700-member businesses in a community of approximately 300,000 people. Even as she executes her responsibilities as the interim president and CEO, she wants to continue her mentorship.
She knows, from her own experiences and work, that often dreams are neglected due to various challenges we face in life. At a time when so many individuals are faced with life-altering decisions, losing jobs, seeing a decrease in earnings or having to adapt to a new way of working, her drive is stronger than ever.
“I want to teach others and give them the tools to chart their own path to success and work through the mental and emotional blocks that get in their way,” she said.
Kerr does this through her seminars and by sharing journals, books and other training material which she houses on her website, taneshiakerr.com. In understanding that often the barrier to success is a financial one, she has created a membership programme which allows her to reach a wider group of individuals at a more affordable cost.
“Each of us has moments when we feel stretched too thin and far out of our depth. We get swallowed up by circumstances that seem beyond our abilities and outside our comfort zone,” she shares through her Buy Me A Coffee platform. Here she gives members access to content from therapists, thought leaders and teachers as well as live masterclasses with personalised training material. In this way she helps her members appropriately respond to their challenges then chart their path to coping, recovery, alignment and growth.
Kerr has shown how, even in the face of adversity, even when challenges arise, through faith and unwavering determination, you can overcome your obstacles. As she takes on her new appointment, there is no doubt that she will do all she can to help those in her charge rise to meet and overcome their own personal challenges.