In The Spotlight

Have you ever been hit in the feels* before? You’re talking to someone and they say something and it’s almost like you could have said it for them or have said it yourself? This particular group of women hit me in the feels, and I think they’ll hit you, too.

As a reminder, this column is dedicated to uplifting incredible women that might not be featured in the local news or shouting about their accomplishments from the rooftops.

These are abridged versions of these incredible women: please find them and ask them more!

Tiffany Tate

What makes you YOU? Signature markers that make me ME include my “can do” attitude at work and life, deep commitment to clarity and decision-making, unique sense of style, and overall belief in learning (and doing) better every single day as it relates to personal growth and change agent behavior. I try to show up and show out for myself and others consistently.

What are you most proud of? Right now, I am most proud of the non-profit boards I have the opportunity to share my time and talent with (the REACH Women’s Network and the Winston-Salem Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative). It’s awesome to work alongside so many smart and committed people who care deeply about our community and are pushing it toward a better future as it relates to access and equity.

What keeps you going when things are tough? My daughter. I want to be someone she can look up to every day and be proud of, and I want her to know that her word and deeds matter – even when no one is watching.

What keeps you up at night? The reality that there are children in our community without adequate access to equitable educational resources and school environments, many of whom are also facing a staggering amount of food insecurity. 

Jacky Mairena

What makes you YOU? Maybe what makes me ME is my curiosity. I ask questions when I am intrigued and that can throw people off guard sometimes. My curiosity has been a good guide in my life to understanding myself and the people around me.

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of the moments that took courage to walk out of a situation that caused a lot of pain. A year ago, I let go of a relationship that did not serve me well, and that was a hard and painful thing to do, but doing so has opened so many opportunities for growth that led me to where I am now.

What keeps you going when things are tough? I think the support I receive from my community has been crucial for me; as I get more involved in my community, I learn from community leaders and activists different ways to combat the emotional and mental energy it takes to find strategies to help people. I get a lot of tough love, but a lot of love and support nonetheless.

What keeps you up at night? The question that I did not do enough or am not doing enough or who am I to be the person to help my community. Imposter syndrome has become an issue for me; I feel inadequate a lot of the time.

Holly McDonald 

What makes you YOU? I am good with my hands lots of different ways, I’m very empathetic, and I’m secretly hilarious!

What are you most proud of? Being brave enough to envision a better life, and going for it! The last few years have meant changing everything. New family dynamics (divorce), new social circles, new home, new job (started my own business), and new, happy life. I am setting a good example for my daughter.

What keeps you going when things are tough? My family, which is small but mighty! We are a sparkly vortex of power!

What keeps you up at night? Sometimes it’s the stress of figuring out how to be a business owner, single mom, member of the sandwich generation, and general handyman. But usually, it’s my 15-year-old lab, with bathroom issues.

*Editor’s note: for those over 50, like me, “hit me in the feels” means invoking or causing emotion or feelings – I had to look it up. 



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