I had an interesting and enlightening conversation last week with a wise woman and fellow Spelman alumna, Erin Goseer Mitchell. I went to Erin’s home to deliver a caramel cake, but the event turned into something more than a business transaction: it was a meeting of minds. We spent over an hour talking first about business, then life, and then love. But the conversation settled back on life and, finally, perseverance.
Erin is a remarkable woman. She became an author of the book Born Colored: Life Before Bloody Sunday in 2008 following a 38-year long career as an educator with Chicago Public Schools. The book is a collection of essays chronicling her life growing up in the Deep South during the period of segregation.
Erin’s experiences during that period, no doubt, helped to shape the woman that she became. Even more so, however, I think those experiences helped to shape her tenacity to move forward and progress, even in hard times. She spoke of tenacity and determination multiple times throughout our conversation, often crediting her elders and our alma mater for instilling both qualities in her.
She noted that she saw the same elements of this drive within me, which, she said, was especially evidenced in Savor Baking Company. We are both women who do not give up, even when faced with adversity. It was a humbling conversation and experience, one that I treasured immensely.
I did not know how much I needed that conversation. It was an unexpected but welcomed mentoring session, indeed. And it all began with a caramel cake.