Heroes – that lady is my hero

Today’s superb guest post is by my good Twitter buddy Chris Fields. Chris is an HR professional, with a Master’s from The Ohio State University. He consults and blogs at Cost of Work and you can reach him on Twitter and LinkedIn too. Chris – it’s a pleasure to have you here all the way from the US of A – the floor is yours:

That Lady Is My Hero

While online, I saw bits of a conversation from my friend Doug Shaw, he mentioned something about an open invitation to guest post on his blog and the subject matter is heroes. I’m always down to contribute to a blog, especially if I like the person and the blog. Doug has been swell to me for a long time. Now it was just a matter of doing something interesting.

I like to stir the pot a bit but this time the only hero that I could think of was a relative. That’s been done to death. Relatives are easy targets because you learn from them since you’re around them and so on and so forth.  But my mind would not shake this one and here’s why.

Not only is one of my biggest heroes a blood relative, she’s an inspiration of growth and sustainability. She dropped out of school in the 6th grade to work and help her mom & dad. Then she became a teenage parent. Her parents didn’t approve at all. She didn’t give up though. Turns out she was a really good cook. She would cook and clean the homes of the rich and wealthy. She made a decent living. One day someone she worked for asked her to cook for a dinner party. She did, and they loved it.

She continued to cook for families, parties and events and that blossomed into a small catering company. Armed with a 6th grade education, she began to carve out a nice little niche for herself but she knew in order to get better and be competitive she had to learn how to cook and bake more sophisticated dishes. So she went to cooking school. Her expertise spread throughout the city of Memphis. At her busiest time, the holiday season, she’d have 2-3 events a day; she’d cook anything from a full Kosher menu to a simple Christmas cake. As young kids and teens, we would help her prepare food, load the car and clean.

I remember looking out the window all night waiting for the headlights of her car to pull up in the driveway. And when she finally arrived well after midnight, she would be dog tired. Her white serving dress would be strained with sauces, drinks and other foods. We’d unload the car, look for any good left overs and do it all again. She worked hard for the money and she did well. She would always tell me “You have to work harder for yourself than you do when for someone else.” This from a lady that didn’t make it to high school. I keep mentioning that because I have 2 degrees (B.S. &Master’s) and she is still smarter than I am and more business savvy. The things she did instinctively, I had to learn in a university.

Did I mention she was my grandmother?  She passed away Oct. 2004. She’s always been my hero not ONLY because she’s was an awesome granny but the example of leadership, and wisdom she gave me. She taught me how to be a professional. That’s why that lady’s my hero.