This Women’s History Month, I celebrate my mother, the author of this quote. She made this remark in response to a compliment. It’s taped on my wall. Little does she know that I see it as a powerful affirmation to those of us who have struggled with imposter syndrome and don’t see the genius in themselves that others see.

My mom was born to a father who worked in a junkyard and a mother who raised seven children. My grandparents were first-generation Mexican Americans. Their two-bedroom home in Watts, California, was filled with lots of love but little money, which also limited opportunities. She often laments that she was raised “just” to be a wife and mother, which she became at just 19. My father struggled with PTSD from his service in the Vietnam War, which he kept a secret from us for decades. Love was not enough to save my parents’ marriage, which started so young and was affected by this trauma. She then had to do something no woman generally plans for – become a single mother. Like my grandparents, my home in Southeast Los Angeles was filled with love and little money, limiting opportunities. 

Today, I’m proud to serve as the CEO of Fenton Communications, a position that, unfortunately, very few women hold, much less women of color. My brother is a very talented and successful electrician at a major corporation. We’ve all come a long way. Growing up was tough as my mom worked hard to make ends meet and raise her children. We are incredibly proud of and support one another in every way, making all the difference in my life.

When my father recently passed away, my mother remarked that she believed his encouragement was a force for me to pursue a college degree. I am deeply grateful that he told me I could do anything, but as we all know, encouragement alone does not guarantee success. I reminded my mother that she fed and clothed me, put a roof over my head, got me to school, ensured I was healthy, and healed me when I was not. She took me to church.

I couldn’t be more impressed.  I am convinced. Convinced that my mother gave me her genius, tenacity, and, most importantly, love. She modeled precisely what I needed to take along the challenging journey of my career. She taught me grit, resilience, grace under pressure, the value of hard work, compassion, kindness, and the power of faith. She’d come home every night exhausted but grateful for her life. I saw that, and I took it in – impressed AND convinced. 

I lead a company committed to social change that is comprised of 70% of people who identify as women.  I am convinced they are making a difference in the world daily, and they are informed by the genius examples of their mothers, aunts, sisters, godmothers, and grandmothers. This Women’s History Month, I invite you to be convinced of your power, beauty, and contribution to creating a better world.