When I was less than one month old, my mom left me with my grandparents, who already had eleven kids to take care of and were living in extreme poverty. My mom moved far away to find a job in order to support me financially.
When I was about four or five, I moved back in with my mom, and started a new life with a stepfather in the picture. The next 15 years were filled with abuse, loneliness, and deprivation. I am grateful for the moments of love, courage, empowerment, joy, and teamwork that I experience, and I was eventually able to take action towards my dreams.
Even though now I live a life filled with security, peace, success, and fulfillment, helping people like YOU live their Happily Ever Cyber, I never forget my humble, and sometimes tragic beginnings. It is important to me to remember the little girl who went through many disappointments in order to grow to be bold and determined. That little girl got me to where I am today!
Did you know there are over 153 million orphans in the world? An estimated 5,700 children become orphans every day. (12)
Did you also know in the US, there are almost half a million kids in the foster care system? (12)
I was not an orphan nor did I live in the foster care system, but I know what it is like to feel lonely and abandoned.
If children remain in the foster care system or in the orphanages until they age out of the system, their possibilities of having a life with the necessary tools, skills, knowledge, resources and purpose can be very limited.
These new adults could be forced into human trafficking, suffer higher rates of substance abuse, mental illness, teen pregnancy, homelessness, and arrests because they are unprepared and unable to support themselves.
Growing up, I was blessed to have mentors that showed up early in and throughout my life in different ways and forms: school teachers, sports coaches, classmates, teammates, coworkers, bosses, and even strangers provided guidance or a word of wisdom during times when I needed them the most.
One of my teachers, Roxane, used to tell me this phrase over and over: “to whom much is given, much will be required.” When I think of all the blessings and gifts I have received in my life, my gratitude list is pretty extensive, so this phrase remains as a pillar and my mantra to this day. This is why I have a BIG dream to create the Happily Ever Cyber! Foundation.
Did you know the cybersecurity industry has a shortage of talent?
The industry predicts millions of jobs will remain unfilled in the years to come and, as we have covered, Cybermonsters are not likely to stop and cybercrime will remain a top issue as they are increasing, not only in volume but also in complexity. Technical skills are essential, and they can be developed through traditional education methods as well as self-taught, curiosity and a technical ability. Now more than ever, we have access to unlimited information.
I believe there are multiple ways to solve our talent shortage in Cybersecurity and in other areas and at the same time solve the much bigger problem we have in the world with orphans and foster kids. I want to provide orphans and foster care kids a way to find themselves, their stories, and their inspiration by leveraging the use of technology. They can help themselves AND help others all through the power of the cyber world!
The truth is, the bigger our cyber world is, the bigger the opportunity in front of us. I dream of a day when we have very little children in the system, and those that are in the system are provided with the tools they need to EMPOWER themselves and change their lives for the better! Will you join me in the journey?
What big dreams do you have?