It’s Wednesday again and you know what time is! It’s #WCW. Yes, that’s Woman Crush Wednesday with some real, honest I See You Moments.
This week we're shining a spotlight on Cheryl D. Mayes, who has created the company, My Toolbox Consulting.
I had the pleasure of meeting Cheryl in a Nashville SCORE small business accounting class where we connected over “I See You.”
Cheryl and her friend have an understanding that the most important and meaningful thing the other could say is “Sawubona.” Sawubona in Zulu means “We See You,” but literally is the way people say hello to one another on a deeper level. It is about recognizing the soul of the person.
As she shared this with me, I knew this woman would be stuck with me ‘cuz she had me “Sawubona.”
A simple coffee meeting to get to know Cheryl turned into a three-hour coffee date, sharing mutual experiences and love for Argentina, while discussing how we both stepped into following our passions.
Cheryl’s ability to walk in faith on this new path while still impacting everyone she comes in contact with is awe inspiring.
She has a civically minded spirit that fuels her desire to contribute and impact the Nashville community. Whether it was during her tenure with the Nashville Board of Education to volunteering with countless organizations and giving back to community members, Cheryl is the definition of service above self!
Most recently, Cheryl is credited in an article by WSMV reporter Cameron Taylor for rallying Nashville businesses to team up to help neighbors impacted by government shutdown.
And yet it doesn’t stop there. Cheryl is now throwing her hat in the ring to run for Nashville Metro Council race District 32 in Southeast Nashville (Antioch/Cane Ridge). This is what powerful intention looks like!
Here’s a bit more about Cheryl in her own words!
What or who inspired you to create your business?
Prior to starting my own business, I worked in the automotive industry as an Accountant. While there, I helped create a community education outreach program that was integrated into the organization as an ongoing outreach initiative.
For 8 years I supported the program almost single-handedly, with the assistance of employee volunteers when additional support was needed. I supported this "labor of love" program while maintaining my 45+ hour a week full time "mortgage" paying job.
In 2017, I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina with my MBA co-hort colleagues at Lipscomb University, on a global learning trip to learn about life, education and doing business in that country. What I found was my Argentine Angel! On the last day of the trip, we visited a small struggling community, where I met a lovely 2nd-grade girl who, with a few simple words, changed my life!
It was at the moment I realized that I was working to live, but not loving my work.
I realized that each time I had an opportunity to work in the education or community outreach space, I would become completely immersed and lose all track of time. I had found my passion!
While I had worked in the finance/accounting space for 30+ years, it was not the space that brought me joy and happiness. The day I met my Argentine Angel was the day that I knew the years I have left on this earth had to be spent doing what I loved, where my passion lies, doing what brings me the greatest joy.
My epiphany was that at this stage in my life, I had more years behind me than ahead of me, and I could not imagine spending the years I have left on earth working at a job that I was not passionate about.
Two weeks after returning to the U.S., I submitted my resignation.
Two weeks after that, I left Corporate America and began my walk of faith. I had no idea what I was going to do and no real plan for doing it. I just knew I couldn't continue living to work, allowing others to dictate my successes and having no voice for the change I wanted to see.
After taking some much needed time off to shed the corporate mindset and get back on track, I spent a week brainstorming about my next move, writing down and reviewing the skills I have acquired, reviewing my finances and creating a plan.
By the end of that week, I had developed a business plan and an excitement for my future! In October 2017 My Toolbox Consulting was born!
Who saw you and supported your dreams?
To my amazement, once I announced that I had left my corporate job to start my own company, I received congratulations and well wishes from many of my former colleagues, but the most encouraging support came from my fellow sisters in the struggle. A few of my closest friends who like me had decided to leave Corporate America to follow their dreams. They saw me!
What song heals your soul?
The Sun Is Rising by Britt Nicole
What does it mean to YOU to feel seen?
Being acknowledged when I'm speaking and sharing my thoughts/feelings. Being seen for who I am internally, not just who I am externally.
It means looking past what you think you know, and understanding who I truly am…a woman who has a deep seeded love for her God, her children, her family and her community.
What’s your go-to, self-care tip?
Unplugging from technology and reading a good book or a day at the beach at sunset enjoying the peace and beauty of the blessings that have been bestowed upon me.
Growing up, did you play an instrument and/or did you participate in any organized sports or clubs? How do you think these activities helped shape you as a person?
I was the best little Brownie/Girl Scout in the world (according to me)! There was an unfortunate period in middle school when I thought I would be the next greatest clarinet player in the world, but I quickly got over that after realizing I preferred drama class and the joys of acting. I will say that being in drama certainly prepared me for my future career in politics. Who knew! LOL!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Allowing fear to dictate your actions, will destroy your dreams. If you think you can, try. Failure is simply success in slow motion.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone thinking about starting their own company?
Expect to work hard even when you don't feel like it, because sacrifice is a non-negotiable in the world of an entrepreneur. And celebrate the small victories because they will lead to major wins!
Cheryl, SAWUBONA! We see you for how intentional you are in making a difference. We recognize your ability to love and appreciate the beauty in the world. We celebrate your heart. Your compassion for youth and how you proactively work to impact their future is the achievement of a lifetime!
Cheryl is a force of inspiration and insight! We hope she inspires you to celebrate others with our Special Birthday Candle and create more #iseeyoumoments!