Mentor Florence Maxwell talks candidly love faith, and encouragement. Florence was my first cover and the first magazine released. I was so proud to put her on the inaugural issue because she was my mentor. She taught me about building relationships with people, being confident and being the best I can be. This is snippets from her story featured in September 2008.

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Florence spoke about growing up in Gatesville and deciding to go to college to become a teacher even though becoming a teacher was not her goal. She studied Sociology because there was not a Social Work degree available. Throughout her work with adults and children, she learned “how far people can go with the right supports.”

Florence had many positive moments throughout her career. She asked she said “seeing the people I have supervised doing so well in life.” When she see children she has worked with in the past saying to her, “we would not have made it without your support.” Her biggest memory was when she testified against a mother in a custody case who was the consumer. She hugged her afterwards and said she knew she did it because it was the best for the children.  With the good comes the bad and some of the low points were when program,s were cut that affected families.

When we met for this interview, Florence was starting her own business. She was fulfilling her dream. She just started her own company called Comprehensive Connection Case Management Services. She worked with children under 21 years old receiving SSI benefits. Also, any female with a high risk pregnancy was also referred to her services. Her referrals came from the DSHS central office. She knew one day she would have her own business out of the frustration of working in a big system. She enjoyed not always having to do what’s politically correct and teh pendulum swing. “The thrill is accomplishing something I thought was an impossible dream.” As an independent contractor she was one of the few black owned businesses helping people in the community. She was glad to say it was hers.

Since this intervew, Florence has retired but continues to work with people through her church. They assist people with basic needs and referrals. So she continues to serve her community. She enjoys spending time with her family and grandchildren and she enjoys traveling.

She still inspires me and guides me. She lets me know if she feels I’m not doing my best. She pushes me to be the best I can be no matter what I do. Her favorite thing she says to me is ” never let them see you sweat.” Thanks Florence for being my mentor, friend and confident.

Damita Miller-Shanklin

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