It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.
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Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. I’m Cynthia D. Reavis, born an only child to Frank & Sadie. My parents were the first in their families to attend college. Both born and raised in North Carolina, they met at North Carolina A&T State University (now the largest HBCU in the country). Upon finishing their studies (my Mother in nursing and my Dad in automotive services), they migrated to Washington D.C. where they were married and had me! I spent most of my summers in North Carolina with cousins and grandparents, but I enjoyed growing up in the United States Capital. I grew to love reading, writing, and venturing out on my own in the city. I would spend my weekends in the Library of Congress’ reading room and in Georgetown visiting the shops. I took the bus or subway everywhere and became comfortable in my own skin at an early age.
My Dad told me that I could go to any University I wanted but that his money was going to N.C. A&T. So, I completed my engineering degree from A&T in 3 ½ years and went to work for a high-tech firm in Dallas, Texas. I had the pleasure of traveling all around the world and the privilege of having several careers within the corporate and civic arenas; as well as entrepreneurship and non-profit management. I was continually being challenged with new roles and opportunities.
Q. What is your work?
A. I’m a licensed and registered Financial Advisor. I work with a team of professionals with over 80 years of financial planning experience. We work together to help individuals and business owners put financial plans into place that help them realize their goals and dreams. I enjoy working with clients to uncover what keeps them up at night, what they dream of for themselves, their families, and their businesses. Then I get to offer solutions that can give them peace of mind. That’s rewarding.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I am thrilled and honored to be working with Richard L. Williams, Owner, and Publisher of the 15-year-old, Black Business Ink Magazine and his steering committee to plan and execute the 3 day/2-night State of Black North Carolina conference and events. It will be held on May 9th-11th 2018 and will bring together leaders and influencers from around the state and the country to discuss issues that affect Blacks. It will address health, politics, education, wealth building, and jobs & economic development. It will also recognize the 50 Most Influential African Americans in the Piedmont Triad. It’s these kinds of opportunities that I live for!
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Five years ago, God convicted me to relocate to North Carolina to be with my Dad after having spent most of my adult life in Texas. My Mother died in 2002 and when my Dad retired he moved back to the North Carolina to be near his family and the activities of our Alma Mater. In obedience to God, I quit my job, sold my home, and moved to Winston Salem in 2013. My Dad is now 85 years young and I get to be with him every day. But it’s been a challenge starting a new life & a new career in a city/location that is very different from what I’ve grown accustomed to. Learning a new people-culture, adjusting to a slower pace, and trying to build a practice…. all at the age of 57.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not, why not? What's stopping you?
A. My gifts of leadership and the facilitation of all things great developed over many years. Texas was vibrant, and the women were (and are) powerful. They felt compelled to bring other women along. I had great mentors (both men and women) that placed me in positions that really stretched me. It was in the Leadership Texas and Leadership America programs where I caught the entrepreneurial bug. These programs were for “Women Only” and created a “good ole girls network” for the exchange of ideas, leadership development, networking and support, and policy change. So, I took a huge risk and left the corporate arena to start my own business as a Sales Director for a cosmetics and personal care company. It was then that I developed an insatiable passion for growing and lifting people; especially women.
I said all that to say that I have a vision of owning a company that allows me to use those gifts and to serve my passion – a company where we facilitate success - whether its leading strategic planning and execution projects; helping a small business increase its productivity; or working with an individual to develop their brand & image; it will be with a focus on the underlying mission to help others Live Fully! To be able to give back and share what has been poured into me will be amazing.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Identify early in your life what your gifts and passions are. Spend your life living and working in your gifts and serving your passions. Do what gives you joy!
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Success happens when preparation meets opportunity! Do the things now that will allow you take hold of an opportunity when it presents itself. You don’t want to say “No” because you weren’t prepared.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. I’ve never considered myself creative. I’m a risk-taker. I’m a thinker and a visionary. It’s my vision for launching a business enterprise that keeps me going; knowing that God’s will for my life has yet to be completely fulfilled. I will not go to my grave with my unrealized potential. I want to be all used up.
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I have a personal and intimate relationship with God. He is the center of everything that I do. He is my confidant, my provider, my Soul Mate, and my heavenly Father. I owe all that I am to Him. To that end, I believe that nothing happens by chance if you are intentional and deliberate about the things that you do in your life. My meeting Alisha was well intended. Her care and concern for women was evident the moment that I met her. Her calm and soothing manner is woven throughout Yoke & Abundance. I am humbled to be among her Wise Women Wednesday honorees.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. Pidgeon! I only started practicing yoga when I moved to North Carolina. My BFF is YR200 and she encouraged me to begin in order to manage my back pain from Sciatica. The first time I did Pidgeon and held the pose, I started sobbing. And I thought, Oh, you’re such a baby. I would hide tissues in my bra! When I finally told my Yogi about it, she said “My Dear, you’re fine. Most women carry our emotions in our hips.” Pidgeon allows the release of that for me.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. To live a life of Abundance for me means to Live Fully! It means to be my best self by being authentic and true to what I need and want as a woman, a care-partner, and a business owner. I let people know how to treat me and what I won’t accept. I’m using my voice, gifts, talents, skills, and abilities to create the life I desire and to help others. I’m learning to forgive myself for my past failures and choices. I’ve let go of what no longer serves me and am grabbing hold of the Abundance that is mine.
I spend quiet time in God’s presence every day. I attend my wonderful church regularly. I journal, practice yoga, and exercise. I love to walk and swim. I feed myself with thoughts, scriptures, and affirmations that remind me of who I am and where I’m headed. I’m always reading and educating myself. I schedule phone time with one of my BFF’s on a regular basis because she lives out of state. We share our innermost thoughts and struggles and hold each other accountable for our goals and intentions. We have started getting together once or twice a year for fun stuff.