“Take all of your negative experiences, look at them, see how you can learn from it”
Thank you for coming back to read another I Am More Post, today I will be featuring the incredible Toni Depena. If you are wondering what the quote is at the beginning of the page, it is the best piece of advice Toni would give to anyone. For the month of August we are sharing all kinds of advice and each of the I Am More posts will begin with the respective persons great advice. The idea was actually inspired by Geri Ruzage, whom I highlighted in June, so super shout out to her! If you haven’t already, click her name and give her post a read!
Toni graduated from Mount Vernon Highschool, in Mount Vernon, NY where she had spent her childhood and a good portion of her adult life. Toni attended Iona College, where she majored in psychology and minored in criminal justice. After college she bounced around with jobs for a little while, until she found her way back to Iona. At Iona, Toni held a few different positions throughout the years, but as she climbed the totem pole she had reached a point where there was nowhere left to climb. In search of growth, she started to look around for jobs when she came across openings at NYU (it had always been a lifelong dream of hers to work there). After 2 of the most intense interviews of her life and a very long wait she received the job at NYU. She has now been there for 19 years as a Department Administrator in the College of Dentistry, living out her dreams. While it may seem like a basic story to tell, these are amongst my favorite because of the rigorous, yet simplistic nature of how things go. Let this be a lesson to us all, that dreams do come true with a whole lot of hard work and determination.
When asked about her greatest female inspiration, Toni attributed it to her mother Sylvia Depena. She says it is because she always admired her strength, stability, and courage; which she has always demonstrated throughout various moments within her life. We all can hope that we have an ounce of those wonderful attributes flowing throughout Sylvia and pouring into Toni!
As posted at the top of the article, Toni recommends that we all take time to analyze our rough times, so that we can grow from them. She believes that this is one of the most important things a person can do for themselves, otherwise we will just keep making the same mistake. I couldn’t agree more, I believe one of the beauties of life is the way we all grow. Growth is a necessity to society otherwise we would never expand and experience more. It can be so easy to stay comfortable with where we are and how we are living, but we should be making it a point to reflect on what we can do to make things better for ourselves and others. It can be so easy to get caught up into blaming other people, but learning to take responsibility for your actions and moving forward with a plan to do better is the ultimate sign of maturity in my opinion. I am so glad Toni brought such a strong piece of advice to the table, for me to share with you all. Her advice does come from her own experiences in life, she has always worked hard and put her best foot forward, but like anyone there have always been bumps in the road. Toni would have not been the wonderful person she is today if she always let her troubles define her, she defined herself by taking the pain and learning from it. Create yourself in this world, don’t let the world create you!
We live in a world of the blame game. We are constantly blaming something on someone, but how often do we look in the mirror and take ownership of what we did wrong. I fall victim to being victim just as much as the next person, but it is high time we stop allowing the current circumstance be the forever future. Look to yourself before anyone else and not only will you grow your maturity, but all aspects of your being will benefit. Toni is a prime example of taking her experiences as a learning device to move forward with, each job she had taught her something different whether it be negative or positive. I'm sure each of those lesson have played out in a different manner on her career journey helping her to become the career woman she is today.
To conclude our interview, Toni told me that her biggest support system is her family. She explained how no matter the circumstance she has always found comfort and loyalty from her family, as well as inspiration and motivation. A huge shout out to the whole family for being such a well rounded, supportive, and loving community!
Thank you all so much for reading! Please feel free to keep the conversation going down in the comments below! I am so happy I got to share a bit of Toni with you all today! I hope you have found her advice encouraging as well as inspiring. Be sure to like the post, as well as follow us on Instagram @iam.wwoman. Remember if there is a woman you’d like to honor up here email firstname.lastname@example.org with their contact information and I will be happy to have them on! If you like the content please scroll down to the bottom and subscribe!