My Story

I

 

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Hi,

Im Carla,

I worked in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade as a federal employee for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and U.S. Senate. I served as a government consultant with expertise in strategic communications, project and program management, and change management.

Impressed? Don’t be… none of this experience prepared me for the greatest challenge of my life – becoming a mom. I learned the truth – I am resilient!

Overcoming infidelity, infertility, divorce, fostering and losing a miracle baby, experiencing domestic violence at the hands of his birth mom, and here I am now! A woman on a mission. Let’s talk!

Why?

Parenting and loving a child with extensive adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and then experiencing trauma through the process of becoming his mom, introduced me to intergenerational trauma.

I became educated on how so many people live life in survival mode. The decade-long journey to motherhood recreated me, surviving traumatic experiences and sacrificing my life humbled me; it made me appreciate life and inspired me to focus on advocacy. It gave my life purpose and defined the movement of child and mental health advocacy.

In addition, I’ve grown from living in hyper-vigilance mode to living a sustainable life as a woman, person of substance, and especially as a caregiver.

Education

I earned a B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University in Bloomington. I also earned an M.S. in Human Resources Management from American University in Washington, D.C. and an M.S. in Organizational Development from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

In addition, I obtained a Graduate Certificate in Change Management from Johns Hopkins University as well as professional certification as a Product Owner by Scrum Alliance and Information Technology Infrastructure Library Foundation.

I was a Fellow with the American Leadership Forum in the Charlotte NC region, which focused on servant leadership.

I am also a Question Persuade Respond (QPR) Gatekeeper, certified by the QPR Institute and hold a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) certificate from MHFA USA. I have a Trauma Informed Parent Certificate from Rowan County Department of Social Services (DSS).

Speaking

I have served as panelist, guest speaker, featured speaker, and moderator at in-person and virtual sessions focusing on topics such as mental health, child advocacy, social/racial justice, using non-fiction writing to move your message forward, helping someone in a mental health crisis and more. I’ve spoken at events hosted by many other organizations as well.

  • TEDx Charlotte Speaker
  • Storyteller for Mental Health America of the Central Carolinas
  • MHA of the Central Carolinas
  • NAMI Charlotte
  • NAMI NC
  • Living Waters FA
  • Mecklenburg County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for law enforcement officers
  • Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Charlotte

Writing

Journey to the Son is the story of my  path to motherhood. It details loving and losing my foster son, comparenting for six years and then the ultimate challenge – continue a life of uncertainty to stay connected with him, or let go and risk losing him forever.

Change, Creativity, Curiosity and Hope in a Crisis Called Pandemic: Uncertainty, Fear, Perspective and Prayer by North Carolina Writers Members of Writing Bookcamp: Uncertainty, fear, prayer and curiosity – transparent elements of the 2020 world pandemic. Coupled with racial unrest and a future of economic upheaval, this work by 13 North Carolina writers is a two-month snapshot – raw, transparent, yet full of hope.

Giving Back

  •  Mecklenburg County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Team Member of the Year 2020 for serving as a panelist and role play volunteer during CIT training for law enforcement and working tirelessly in the community in support of children and becoming trauma informed
  • Mental Health America Advocacy Award 2020
  • Board Member for the Alexander Children’s Foundation
  • Family Advisory Board Member of the Duke University/UCLA ASAP Center
  • Member of the Policy & Advocacy Committee at Mental Health America (MHA) of the Central Carolinas
  • Volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
  • Volunteer with MHA of Central Carolinas

The personal stuff:

I am a divorced mom of three boys and three doggies. I am  a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and enjoy the beach. My favorite place to travel is the Caribbean.

I love to exercise and recently rediscovered my love of cycling. I ride my Peloton almost every day. It’s a great stress reliever and keeps me balanced. Mental health matters as much as the physical!

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