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Voorhees receives helpful tools to reach career goals

Denmark, S.C.- Voorhees College recently heard inspirational advice toward achieving goals with personal testimonies of the journeys taken by Mayor Melvin Carter and Entrepreneur and business psychologist Dr. Dionne Mahaffey in honor of week three of the Black History Month Blue Table Talk. Carter, who became the first African-American mayor of Saint Paul, Minn., said that his journey was very similar to many of the Voorhees students. He mentioned his educational journey at Florida A&M University, where he felt was really like home. “I went for a purpose to study business administration and run track, but I stepped into what I could say was a civil rights emergent experience,” Carter said. “I recall the 2000 election, where hate bombings took place on our campus, and many racial setbacks occurred trying to stop the black vote in the state of Florida, which was the deciding state to break the tie.” He said he realized he was there to hone in on his skills and sharpen his sword for a greater purpose than making money for himself. “This purpose is true of Voorhees students today. You all are here to connect to your path and be able to tell your family when they look back that you took public action on your campus and in your community.” After graduation, Carter went back home to Minnesota to earn his masters and work in corporate America but realized it was not for him. “I began community organizing because I felt I had a greater purpose and ended up working in the mayor’s office and fell in love with municipal government.” He concluded, “We are facing many crises today, and students have the equipment and resources to get some things done. It requires doing some research, work, and focus on what you are trying to change, and the career will form from these actions,” Carter said. “I have some additional advice which is to start planning for your retirement by establishing a 401 K and ask questions about any and everything because it is okay not to know everything.” Mahaffey spoke second on her journey toward becoming an entrepreneur and business psychologist. She began mentioning her first degree in computer science has allowed her to build what she dreams. “A computer science background or any Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics background can be used in any walk of life because of the technology forefront. So many things have happened, allowing technologists to build upon multiple platforms.” She encouraged Voorhees computer science majors to stay the course because she said it is not an easy major. “One thing about black excellence is there are many jobs available, but if you cannot find what you are looking for, you can create your own job,” Mahaffey said. “The experience, relationships, and resources given in the culture at an HBCU you cannot get anywhere else. Mahaffey added, her educational journey is not over as she is currently working on another doctorate. “Students be innovative, and even if you do not want to own your own business, you can apply skillsets you would apply to your business to a current business.”Mahaffey went on to discuss her experience establishing her own greeting card business, Culture Greetings. “Greeting cards are thoughtful and based on love, connection, and encouragement. Being a black woman, when we walk down the greeting card aisle, we do not see ourselves. Other companies have tried, but the fact is you cannot sell our culture back to us,” Mahaffey said. “So I took the initiative to build a platform to allow our people to virtually select a card based on multiple sentiments, and we create them and then mail them off. We even have the opportunity to add gift cards to them or even have them mailed to Walgreens, and customers can personally pick them off and deliver them.” She concluded, “The beauty of education is the growth is promoted and supported in that type of environment. Whatever you put your mind to, you can do. I started the Atlanta chapter of the Awesome Foundation, but this organization was started by a group of students from the Cambridge, Massachusetts area who wanted to raise money to fulfill needs.”
For more information, contact the Office of Communications, at 803-780-1191 or at
communications@voorhees.edu.