We had the good fortune of connecting with Shekina Wiley-Sattiewhite and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shekina, how do you think about risk?
For me, risk is a necessary step to become the person you were meant to be. Risk is the catalyst to realize your greatness. On the other side of risk is the reward. The reward comes in the form of achieving the goal, lessons learned and the realization you can push yourself to reach heights you would’ve never thought possible. In my life, every time I’ve taken a risk I’ve never regretted it. I’ve always learned, I’ve always grown. and I’ve always come back better. I’ve taken risks in my professional career by pursuing positions that were a stretch and taking roles that were not comfortable for me in scope. Each time I learned something about myself. I learned I was strong, dedicated and if I work hard I can succeed. Even when I failed, I won.

In starting my 501c3 non-profit organization Cradle2Career, I took a risk by exposing myself and my story to the world so I could help people. I was nervous, I am nervous, but I’ve learned so much about myself, my work ethic and what true passion feels like. Having a child as a teenager was a risk within itself. I risked my “reputation” and what type of “future” I thought I would have. I came to realize as the years have come and gone, the risk I took in having my daughter was the biggest motivator for me to accomplish all that I have and still want to accomplish in my life.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My non-profit Cradle2Career is an organization that provides education and resources to adolescents who are pregnant and/or parenting. What sets Cradle2Career apart is that we aren’t focused on pregnancy prevention, we’re focused on how young parents can be the best parent and person given their new and unique experience. Since their parenting has been accelerated, we walk belong side them as they navigate their journey.

Getting Cradle2Career up and running was a challenge as I have never worked for, or had close dealings with a non-profit, so I had to learn the business ins and outs from scratch. To overcome challenges, I pulled in those who were experts with working with non-profits and sought their mentor-ship. I read a lot, and I researched everything I could to understand what I needed to do from how to create my organization (legally),understanding how to execute my mission, what services were we going to offer to selecting a board of directors. As Cradle2Career gets more and more traction, what I’ve learned is there is always work to be done and ways to make the organization better for those we seek to impact. I want people to understand while the idea of Cradle2Career came from my own life experiences, there are so many young people who are facing accelerated parenting all over the country and we are here for them. We aren’t here to judge, we’re here to help. I am fully committed to the advancement of these young people. While things may be hard they are not impossible.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I’m showing my friends around town for the week I think there are a few places we’d definitely have to hit up.

Please note: Houston is AMAZING so while this list is short there are definitely so many places to eat and things to see in Houston!

Roof Top Cinema – Get to relax under the starts and watch classic movies

Turkey Leg Hut – Good food and good drinks

Twisted Grilled Cheese–  just so darn good

Stuff’d– Some of the best wings you will ever taste! Stuffed with fillings like mac and cheese and boudain

Discovery Green – Hang out and take in te downtown scene. It such a beautiful green space in heart of the city

AxleRad– great for hanging out and chilling

Museum of Natural Science- Its one of my favorite spots!

The Galleria -Duh!

AFAM experience – Take really dope pictures highlighting the African American experience The Breakfast Club- Its a Houston classic for good food!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shout out my amazing husband James Sattiewhite who I would be nothing without. He is my biggest supporter. He says “yes” to all my crazy ideas and is always pushing me to be better and go harder. He is my in-house cheer squad. My daughter Giovanna Wiley who has been the reason why I started my non-profit and my driving force to do what I do. My parents Bernard & Carla Wiley who have always believed in my “super powers” and are constantly challenging me to be the best version of myself. I’d like to also thank Mrs. Maime Hicks who watched my daughter while I was in High School and made me keep my grades up! Last by definitely not least,my Windsor Village Church Family. I joined Windsor when I was 6 months pregnant. The care, compassion, and lessons I’ve learned over the last 20 years have been a driving force in cultivating the wife, mother, daughter and leader I am today.

Website: www.cradle2careertx.org
Instagram: @cradle2careertx
Twitter: @Cradle2CareerTX
Facebook: Cradle2CareerTx