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Daily Inspiration: Meet Latasha Ferguson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Latasha Ferguson.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
By the age of 19, I was a single mom of two girls on welfare, working a full-time job, all while trying to pursue my bachelor’s degree. At the same time, I was battling with a broken heart and the impacts of obesity. I was at my heaviest weight ever and had just been diagnosed with hypertension. I felt like my life had been shattered into a million pieces and I found myself sitting in a smoking pile of ashes. As much as I tried to avoid it, I was at a crossroads. I had to face where my choices had led me and I had to finally own all of them.

I also had to come to the realization that no matter what others may have done to me, I had the power to choose and allow God to rewrite my story moving forward. I decided to move to Orlando with my two girls and less than a few hundred dollars in my bank account. I was offered a position making $7.87 an hour at a local high school as a front desk clerk. Through many days and nights of sacrificing, support from my tribe, tears, and lots of moments of wanting to give up, I graduated with my degree. I was offered a teaching position one month after I graduated in the same school that I served as a front office clerk. After only teaching there for about six months, I took a position as an ESE teacher at another high school. This is where I met my husband of now almost 15 years. My husband encouraged me to go back to school for my master’s degree in educational leadership.

While going to school online and evenings, I continued to teach for several years and then moved into an administrative dean position, eventually into an assistant principal of instruction position, principal, and now director of instruction. My husband was my biggest cheerleader in my weightloss journey. By the time I met him, I had struggled through several different programs and diets – all temporary fixes. Through much encouragement and willingness to do what I call the “hard work of heart work,” I was able to lose 60+lbs, establish an exercise routine, and better my overall health. I have been able to sustain the weightloss through two babies and almost 16 years. I am a true example that your past, pitfalls, and mistakes do not have the power to diminish your purpose. This past September I launched a podcast: Overcome to Become. My goal is to help others do the “hard work of heart work” so they can get unstuck, own their story, and live authentically. I have also shared my story as a speaker through blog guest posts and guest appearances on other podcasts.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
No, it was not a smooth road. There were external and internal factors that I was challenged with. Only 40% of teen moms earn their high school diplomas and Less than 5% earn their college degree. There were many times that I would pay my bills and only have $20 to last for two weeks. I had to balance work, school, and parenting. I had to face ridicule, judgment, and misunderstanding from not just strangers but those who were supposed to be family and friends. On top of all of that, I was still a young, naive kid. I barely knew who I was. I was very insecure after a terrible break-up and did not know if I had it in me to be the mother I needed to be to these two beautiful innocent girls. I was lonely and haunted by thoughts of no one wanting me because I had two children. Mentally, I was a mess. Spiritually, I was distant. Physically, I was struggling with my weight. Guilt, shame and regret loomed over me like a black cloud day in and day out. There were many days I would put my kids to bed and then would either cry myself to sleep or fall asleep at the computer finishing homework.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a proud educator. I have served in this field for almost 18 years. I have had the privilege of serving as a teacher, administrative dean, assistant principal of instruction, a principal, and now a director of instruction. Whether it was bagging groceries at my first job at Winn-Dixie to folding towels at Sears to assisting parents at the front desk of a high school, I am passionate about serving others. As a leader, I like to get in the trenches with my folks and do the work together. I am not afraid to fail. I am aware of my strengths and areas of limitations. I also love working in a team, learning from others, and working together towards a common goal. Because I know how it is to have nothing, to work a job that others look down upon, I am determined to always lead with a gracious heart. No matter the position or title, I value all those I serve. I am also a podcast host and speaker. This past September I launched a podcast: Overcome to Become. My goal is to help others do the “hard work of heart work” so they can get unstuck, own their story, and live authentically. I have also shared my story as a speaker through blog guest posts and guest appearances on other podcasts.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
My favorite childhood memory was traveling with my family. My dad was in the military and we lived overseas in Germany for many years. This allowed us the opportunity to see other countries. My dad would take my sister and me on weekend trips to Volksmarches, the Christkindlmarkt during the holidays, and to visit castles and other historic places.

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