She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. (Proverbs 31:16-18)
‘DELAYED, BUT NOT DENIED’
DALLAS — Joie Rasberry made her undergraduate debut on the campus of Texas Southern University a little more than two decades ago.
Amongst her lofty ambitions: become a devoted member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
As Rasberry recalls, though, a rash of unfavorable circumstances unfolded as she clung to hopes of joining the pink and green clad organization.
“In college, I wanted to pledge AKA,” Rasberry told Making Headline News this week. “I did and was not accepted.”
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As part of MHN’s advance coverage of Bishop T. D. Jakes’ International Leadership Summit May 4-6 in Orlando, Rasberry, a well-respected Houston-based international motivational speaker, best-selling author, and master speaker development coach, spoke at length about how she was blessed to have found a silver lining amid her failed attempt of joining the Divine Nine’s flagship sorority.
Weeks after becoming an AKA snub, Rasberry subsequently participated in what was known as the all University pageant. Much to her delight, she was ultimately crowned Miss Texas Southern University for 2002-2003.
As Rasberry recalls, such a monumental milestone, by all accounts, had atoned for being passed over as a member of arguably the most popular African-American sorority.
IN HER DIVINE ELEMENT
“I thought not becoming an AKA meant defeat,” Rasberry told MHN. “And just around the corner, 50,000-plus students voted me as queen.”
Fortunately for Rasberry, being named Miss Texas Southern University would ultimately give way to other favorable opportunities in the wake of a life-altering experience she suitably describes as “delayed but denied.”
For starters, Rasberry was hired as an intern for KTSU 90.9 FM, an area radio station.
“After the six weeks, I stayed around five more years co-hosting the news with one of my professors and mentors, the late Dr. Maurice Hope-Thompson,” Rasberry recalls. “Every time Maurice would have to go out of town, he left me in charge to carry out his Public Affairs News Radio Show on Saturdays.
Amongst Rasberry’s notable interviews was with Dexter Scott King, the son of slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“After graduation, it was time to get a real job with benefits and go to work,” she said. “I applied numerous times at the radio station where I had volunteered and dedicated so much time in the news. I was never hired and felt defeated. But I learned it was only a set up for greater things.”
During her extensive job search, Rasberry — just as she had managed to erase the memory of becoming a sorority snub — was determined to weather the storm and, most importantly, trust the sometimes-dreaded process of acquiring an entry level position in her chosen profession.
“The Dean of Communication, Dr. James Ward, insisted I do yet another internship,” Rasberry explained, referring to her part-time stint at Houston’s KRIV Fox 26 News. “I would go out on assignments, stay late, come in early, was deemed a great writer and excellent story teller. I applied for numerous jobs over a 15-year span at KRIV and other TV stations. I could never get on. I knew friends who worked in the industry of both radio and TV…no help. I truly felt defeated.”
Still, what Rasberry had come to discover was that more professional training was essential, a trend she sensed she had no choice but to embrace.
She did just that and, to her credit, she would eventually reap the favorable results she so desperately sought.
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“My dean insisted I do two more internships, one at a PR Firm in the Galleria (Yaffe Duetser), and the other was with a personal friend of his who was a renown motivational speaker (Les Brown). I thought Dr. Ward was being mean and so unfair. I look back on it now and I am so grateful that he chose me to push toward excellence in every area of communications.”
Consequently, Rasberry returned to school for more advanced training.
“I went back to college and got my Teachers Certification in Speech and Debate,” she explained. “I became Speech and Debate Coach to some of the top competitive schools and teams, (during which) my students went on to win first place in Speech and Debate categories nationally.”
Such a trend, as it turned out, had given way to other doors opening for Rasberry.
“I was receiving speaking engagements locally, nationally, and internationally,” she recalls. “I thought I was losing because I didn’t land a job in radio or TV when, all the while, God was fine-tuning me to carve out my own niche.”
Having earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Communication at TSU (she minored in Broadcast Journalism), Rasberry is now the face of the Rasberry Institute, a credible public speaking and presentation agency.
“People wanted to know how I learned to speak and master a podium, thus I decided to teach them,” Rasberry said. “I took everything I learned in TV, radio, the PR Firm, and with the renown motivational speaker and I intertwined what I learned.”
Interestingly enough, Rasberry customarily has become a fixture for training celebrities, entertainers, professional athletes, rising politicians, CEO’s and other “key players” who need help in public speaking, presentation effectiveness, speech writing, and ghostwriting, among other services.
Looking back, she’s persuaded that rejection isn’t merely a career death sentence. If nothing else, it is precursor to one’s keen ability to fulfill his/her destiny.
“Sometimes, it’s a sign that you’re in a place that God doesn’t want you to be in,” Rasberry, who has spoken in the East Room at the White House for one of the former U. S. Presidents, says without hesitation. “It took me a long time to understand what God was doing in my life. I no longer punch a time clock or answer to anybody.
FIXING HER CROWN
“I love what I do, and I love the clients I serve,” Rasberry continued. “Every rejection letter helped me become the entrepreneur I am today. I know how to woo audiences with speeches and words — both spoken and written — and this helped get me from Jensen Drive — “the location of the ole’ Goodwill Thrift Store that my mother used to shop at when I was a little girl” — to Pennsylvania Avenue.”
To put it more precisely, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
A RELATED STORY
For more information about Houston Businesswoman Joie Rasberry, to schedule her for a public appearance, book signing, or speaking engagement, connect with her via social media under: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joie.rasberry/; Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iamjoierasberry/; Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoieRasberry; YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC59GaoaqeJHqTlhFES5mJrw; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joie-rasberry-ba4b3419. Also, send email to: email@example.com.
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Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist or Instagram at @makingheadlinenews.