M-Powering Moments: Kendra G.

This M-powering Moment is special to me. It’s the story of  my cousin Kendra, who recently relocated to the Middle East to teach. This is her story. 🙂


My name is Kendra Gray and I’m 25. My permanent address is Bowie, Maryland but I’m currently residing in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in the area of Al Ain City, which is about 1 hour away from Dubai.

I was educated in Anne Arundel County Schools, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2009 and in 2011 I graduated with a Masters of Arts in Teaching Secondary English Education from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

After graduating from Clark Atlanta, I joined a program called Teach for America, which placed me in a lower economic area to teach underserved students in Baltimore City Public Schools. I taught English at a high school in the Cherry Hill neighborhood for three years, which also inspired me to take on the venture that I am experiencing now, teaching abroad. I loved my kids in Cherry Hill a lot. They were fearless, relentless and always attempted to make the best out of their situations. Because I started teaching fresh out of college, it seemed like I was always chasing the next challenge. Most of my coworkers called me the “baby” because I started teaching at 22 and most of them had at least five or more years of experience. Needless to say, I felt like I had a lot more vitality left in me to do something amazing so half way through my third year of teaching I decided to apply to teach abroad with a program called Teach Away.

After the recommendation of one of my college frat brothers, I decided that teaching in Abu Dhabi would be the next chapter in my life.  After a long interview process, about six months I was offered the position to teach high school girls English for two years. Months and months went by of answering questions like “Where are you going to teach?” “What grade?” “Where are you living?”  I think after a while people thought I was crazy because I would tell them all the same answer, “I don’t know,” because I really didn’t. I literally only knew I was hired to teach English in a girls high school and that I would be living in an apartment provided by my employer. My ticket arrived in August and I left for Abu Dhabi on August 8, 2012.

In September, I moved into my permanent housing and started working during the second week. I have had a lot of difficult days adjusting to being away from my comfort zone of family and friends. You realize you take a lot of little things for granted like being able to drive a short distance to hang out with your friends or Thanksgiving dinner but then you also realize how amazing an experience like this is when you are face to face with a camel or are looking up at the world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa. My school here is very different than in the states. I work with only women in a school of about 1500 middle and high school girls who speak varied ranges of English, which has definitely taken some adjusting.

Overall, the most important lesson I’ve learned thus far is to be flexible. There have been many of times that I wanted to pack up my suitcases and go back home, but I have learned to take this experience day by day and to be mindful of those before you who have paved the road for your successes.  Although I do not know what my future holds, everyday I try to find one positive thing about being 14 hours away and I always find one. Many people are very intrigued by this part of the world, and I am grateful to have this experience because the application process was highly selective.  People ask me if I had to do this all over again would I still do it and I say no, because I am too busy enjoying the now each day to worry about an imaginary restart. I have to finish what I’ve started before I do it all over again.



College Educated Rappers


The next time you and your son are in the great “I don’t need school because I wanna be a rap star” debate…please make them aware that their favorite rapper probably has a college degree or at least been to college. Here is a list of some of hip-hop’s hottest artists and their education acheivements. 🙂

(via groundcontrolparenting.com)

College Graduates:

J.Cole: Graduated with honors from St. John’s University in New York City with a major in communications.

Ludacris: Graduated from Georgia State University with a major in music management.

Chuck D (Public Enemy): Graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in graphic design.

Attended College:

Two Chainz: Attended Alabama State University and played for their basketball team for one year. Transferred to Virginia State for his sophomore year. Not clear whether he graduated from Va. State, but rumor has him graduating from college with a 4.0 average. Whether this is truth or urban legend is hard to determine, but if there must be rumors, this is a good one.

Lil Wayne: Attended University of Houston, where he studied psychology. Currently takes classes online at the University of Phoenix.

Kanye West: Of course the creator of the albums “The College Dropout” “Late Registration” and “Graduation” went to college! He attended Chicago State University (where his mother was Chair of the English Department) and Columbia College in Chicago.

Sean Combs: Attended Howard University.

Who’s The Richest Black Woman In The World? Not Oprah!


Could it be that the Queen has been dethroned as the richest black woman in the world? According to The Huffington Post,  talk-show Queen Oprah Winfrey no longer holds the title as the world’s richest Black woman… there’s a new sheriff in town.  The new leading lady is oil baroness  Nigerian born, Folorunsho Alakija.

Although drilling oil has reportedly been the 61-year-old’s big money maker — Alakija started her ascent to financial supremacy in fashion.

Alakija was born into a wealthy family, but went on to study fashion design in England  in the ’80s and soon after founded the Nigerian clothing label Supreme Stitches. Her one-of-a-kind creations quickly made her the premier fashion designer in the West African country, with her outfitting the who’s who of African Society.  She has been called one of the “pioneers of Nigerian fashion” and stays connected to the industry through the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FDAN).

The billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist made the switch to oil in 1993 as the owner of FAMFA Oil Limited and is said to now have an estimated net worth of at least $3.2 billion. With those numbers Alakija is said to have out-earned Ms. Winfrey by approximately $500 million.

Ventures Africa reports that Alakija owns at least $100 million in real estate and a $46 million private jet. However, Oprah still holds the title as the world’s richest self-made woman. 🙂

Circle Of Growth


When you are ready to change your life…you can’t burden yourself with trying to make the people around you change with you. Everybody isn’t at the same place in their lives as you are, and just like you had to change when YOU were ready they have to be ready as well. At the same time, you also can’t let those that aren’t ready discourage you from change. Whether you want to stop partying, drinking, or smoking…whether you want to change your eating and exercise habits…whether you just need a complete life overhaul…you have to stay focused on why whatever the change is, is necessary for YOU.

There will be people who will unintentionally, and sometimes intentionally try to sabotage your goals. They will try to convince you that you are perfect just the way you are, and you may be…in their eyes. However, if YOU don’t feel that you are at your best in whatever area of your life you choose to work on…do what you have to do. Sometimes that means distancing yourself from those that may just not understand what it is that you’re trying to do for yourSELF.

When you are focused on growth and change, you need to be surrounded by others who are focused on the same thing…or at least those that are willing to encourage and support you through your growth. Your circle should always reflect where you intend to go in life…not what you’re trying to get away from. 🙂

Morning Mo-tivation


Every great transformation of the soul, begins with a good cleansing cry… and a de-cluttering of everyone and everything that is not conducive to the positive change that is about to occur. Take some time to think about what you want or need to change in your life. Think about the so-called personal disasters that you may be in the midst of. Think about all the things that you’re holding onto that you no longer have space or tolerance for in your life…now get busy! Get rid of it!

Clean up all the messes in your life one by one. You probably can’t do it all in one day and you shouldn’t try…be thorough. Have an awesome M-powering day!– Monique 🙂

The Transformation


I don’t know where all of you are in your lives right now, but I’m ready to share with you where I am…and just maybe some of you or even just one of you will be in this same place at this same moment on this same journey. Maybe as I maneuver my own way through this thing I’ll call “the transformation”, it will help you on your way as well. Whatever the case…I’m inviting you on this ride. 🙂

I’m standing in the middle of my life…a little lost, but with a crystal clear destination. I’m moving forward…towards personal empowerment, financial independence, emotional growth, physical well-being, and peace. I’m giving up the idea that it’s too late to become the person I should’ve been working towards becoming 10 years ago. I can’t get back those years…but I can find wisdom and all sorts of useful lessons in them. I’m ready to “do the work” I need to do in my life to feel fulfilled…that includes leaving my baggage holding all my failures…behind. I’m no longer going to use my same old excuses of being too lazy, not focused, not ready, and not having time to do the things I know I need to do, in order to get to where I’m trying to go.

I am dedicating all my energy to becoming the most amazing SELF I can possibly be.

I know there will be obstacles, peaks and valleys…and people who will not believe in me. And that’s ok. I’m not on this journey for anyone but me. 🙂

The Awesome Kid Foundation!


Hello my M-powered army! I know I’ve been missing in action for a bit but…it’s was all for a worthy cause. I was working on a few projects including a non-profit charity I’ve set up called The Awesome Kid Foundation. To learn more about the cause, please visit the new website. The site has only been up less than 24 hours so it is a work in progress, but please take a minute to find out how you can help me in my mission to be an extra support system for less fortunate children. Any help is greatly appreciated…and please spread the word! Thanks :-)– Monique