Hello! I am so glad to be sharing another I Am More post with you all. In this post we will be highlighting the life of Geri Ruzage and I am so glad we got to meet and talk. Before we get into it I would like to acknowledge that Geri was recommended for an interview and I highly encourage you to send me an email if there is a woman who you would like to see on I Am Woman!
Geri Ruzage was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. From there, at the age of 18 she enlisted into the military and joined the airforce, where she remained for 10 years. (Be sure to thank her for her service in the comments below!) During those 10 years with the airforce she was also in school where she completed her associates degree in administration as well as a bachelor's degree and 2 masters degrees. After she left the military she enrolled in Seattle University for law school. While Ms. Ruzage has seen many different jobs, as well as lived many different places, ranging from Florida to Alaska, however as of now she is currently a child support attorney for Durham County in North Carolina. When asked about her greatest achievements she listed three things, including her career, and the opportunity to serve her country. While none of these goals were easy to come by she always had the support of her daughter whom she listed first as her greatest achievement.
Throughout the course of her life Geri has faced many struggles in many phases of her life including racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and poverty. All of which she was able to overcome. During the interview she told me how while she was in the air force she experienced discrimination many times but being a black female she was never sure if it was because she was black or a woman or both. She recalled multiple instances where she was set back because supervisors above her would sign her forms very late for school so she would miss out on the opportunity to enroll in classes. She also expresses how to this day, now as a lawyer, on multiple occasions when she walks into court it is automatically assumed she is the paralegal or the assistant, but never the lawyer.
However Geri believes the most difficult obstacle she overcame was poverty and single motherhood. There were times when she had to decide between buying groceries for her and daughter or fixing the car so she could go to work and go to school. She explained to me how at one point in time she really struggled to pay the babysitter and when she asked her ex husband to help her out a little more he laughed at her. After that she called social services and they were able to help her buy mandating he give her more money a month. That was the instance that inspired her to be a child support attorney. When I heard all the challenges Geri faced in her life poverty, single motherhood, discrimination I was really in shock; but what an example she is to other that if you are determined enough you can achieve your goals. So many people let their circumstance be the excuse as to why they couldn’t make it. Geri made her circumstance the reason why she made it. Don’t let the present determine your future, take charge of your life and chase your dreams wholeheartedly.
In 10 years she hopes to see herself working at a community college helping young people find their careers and their way in the world. As a child she felt as though she lacked the resources and mentors within her community to help her make informed guided decisions about her life path in general, so she hopes to be that person for the younger generation.
As mentioned before she pays a big tribute to her daughter for always supporting her even at a young age, as well as her friends and family. She is truly grateful for the help and support some of her friends have shown her over the years. She specifically mentioned a girl friend who moved with her to Ohio, so she could help watch her daughter while Geri went to work and school. What a fantastic friend right?
Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed talking with and writing about Geri! Please be sure to thank her for her brave sacrifice for our country below in the comment, as well as keeping the conversation going. Another big thank you to Marie Inserra for recommending I speak with Geri. Remember if there is anyone you think deserves to be featured on I Am Woman reach out via email or social media! Thanks again!
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