We had the good fortune of connecting with Casondra Burkley, LCSW, M.Div and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Casondra, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born and raised in Houston, TX. I was raised in a single-parent home with my older sister. We experienced significant ups and downs including poverty and homelessness. I also experienced a childhood rape. Surviving these experiences and witnessing my mother overcome these obstacles truly inspired me to want to give back to others to encourage and empower them. As a result I am a licensed clinical social worker and ordained pastor. I have committed to using my education, gift, skills and talents in helping others to use their obstacles as stepping stones to greatness.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been a licensed social worker for over 15 years. I believe what sets me a part is my willingness to be transparent about my life issues and struggles. Leaders are often looked at as superior and having it all together. I make it clear that I am a work in progress and I am always striving improve in many areas of my life. I use the struggles that I have overcome as examples and encouragement to others, that they too can overcome and be successful. I am not afraid to show my life scars. I am most proud of successfully launching a non-profit, private practice and production company. I am also very proud of being able to run these businesses while working full-time, being a devoted wife and mother. Getting to where I am today took hard work and dedication. I tend to be a procrastinator, shhhh don’t tell anyone, LOL, however when it’s time to put in the work, I put in the work. It was not easy at all. It took getting up after mistakes, building financial strength, committing to higher education, sacrificing wants and even losing some relationships along the way. To overcome challenges I created plans. I have always been a strategic thinker, so I strategize and implement. Something else that has been significant is accepting that I cannot do it alone and reaching out for help when needed. Some of the lessons I have learned are; failure is not final, setting boundaries and self-care are important, exposure to trauma does not mean you cannot triumph and having a support system is vital to success. I want the world to know I am a survivor not a victim. I am only just beginning and I have so much more to accomplish. I am a person that is committed to living what I speak. The motto of my non-profit and private practice is “using life’s obstacles as stepping stones to greatness”, I truly believe every obstacle that I have experienced is a stepping stone to more greatness that lies ahead. I not only believe that for myself, but I believe that for others as well.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We have to first start with brunch at Grace’s. After brunch some shopping. There are so many great shopping locations in and around Houston, but we could start with the outlet mall in Cypress. If we are not too tired we definitely have to catch a movie at iPix and hang out in their lounge for some great convos and cocktails. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It is very difficult to name just one person. A special shoutout goes to Peggy Johnson, my spiritual mother, Pearl Beverly, my godmother, Lori Joiner, my discipler and last, but not least my husband David Burkley who is a consistent support and encourager for all of my dreams. Each of these individuals has played a significant role in my success.
BJ O’Neal (Ministry Pic)