Aamira Garba '03
“Allow yourself to be supported. There’s always someone in your corner ready to help you reach your highest potential.”
“It was 1999, I was 13 years old, and I was starting high school in a world that bore no resemblance to my everyday reality. For a young black girl with no exposure to such a community, Kent Place was terrifying, and I felt no one understood how difficult the transition was. Thankfully, there was a teacher who saw my potential and wouldn’t allow my fright to hinder my academic success. She refused to let me quit although that’s all I really wanted to do. She saw my struggles and immediately stepped in to make sure I was supported in my transition. I know for a fact that had she not been so perceptive and just an overall great person, I wouldn’t have made it through my high school career.
“To this day, asking for and accepting support is a lesson I’m still learning. As I navigate my corporate career as a marketing strategist while also nurturing my entrepreneurial side as the owner and winemaker at LoveLee Wine, I’m just now learning the value of mentorship and accepting support from the community around me. I’m finally realizing there are people out there waiting to guide you and support your growth.”
“I think back often to how quickly my teacher came up with a plan to make sure I not only succeeded but also proved to everyone just how much I belonged at KPS. I think finding someone you can talk to, who will listen and offer guidance, is the foundation for success. Every successful person in this world has a mentor. No one makes it on her own. I now practice being open and vulnerable, allowing others to support me even as I’m also supportive. (Note: Mentoring is a two-way street. It should never be one-sided.)
“My mentors have helped me get job promotions and supported my wine business, but most important, they encourage me to keep going. Balancing life as an executive, entrepreneur, wife, and mom isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. I have a support system around me that believes in me. They remind me of the same facts my teacher tried to instill in me all those years ago: that I matter, and that I’m more than capable of accomplishing anything I put my mind to.”