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Success Story Friday: Dianne

September 17, 2010

Dianne graduated from our Hospitality and Tourism Training program on September 10 and was selected to represent her fellow graduates as the class speaker. We thought we’d let her share her story of success with you in her own words–the following is a portion of the speech she delivered.


Dianne Jeter, who recently graduated from Goodwill's Hospitality & Training Program, poses with her certificate.

One thing I have learned in life is not to look at challenges as a door closing but an opportunity for a door to open.

Challenges don’t discriminate. They come through:
A.    Race, age, gender, marital status, income, education
B.    Physical ability, work experience, job level,
C.    Thinking and learning styles, poor choices, personality, and interest
D.    Like me, all of the above.

I’m a widow, black, 59-year-old female, unemployed, and on a fixed income. I have assumed the primary care responsibility of several family members and friends since my relocation back home, here in Charlotte. Currently, my son, who is disabled, my mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and I live together.

Once inside the doors of Goodwill, I found I was not alone. I had become a member of a team, Team 37. Ms. Jamal was our coach, and through the curriculum she equipped us with the skills we needed to be winners in the hospitality field.

Not enough can be said about my fellow team members’ acceptance, encouragement, support and respect. They each were there in some way that was encouraging to me, a smile that made me feel a part of the team, a personal good morning to me by name, sharing their life experiences with laughter giving me a new outlook on mine, sharing inspirational words and theme songs.

Two things that I am definitely walking away with are the knowledge of how to prepare a functional, well-written resume with emphasis on my skills for a position rather than a generic format, and the value of researching my prospective employer, knowing their mission statement and commitment to the community they serve. I’m not looking for a job; I’m seeking a career.

Today, I am equipped to run towards having a career in the hospitality industry instead of running from any employment at all. My goal today is to seek a position as a Guest Service Representative with the spirit to serve. I will no longer be limited by the challenge of age or be discouraged by my belief that there is a lack of opportunity available to me.

I can bank on myself, all from walking through the doors of Goodwill’s Career Development Center. Know this. The staff of Goodwill, Ms. Jamal, the guest speakers, the returning students who spoke to us, and each of you on team 37 have added to the power of one: Me.

-Dianne Jeter

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