Rolling out had the opportunity to chat with corporate powerhouse Dorinda Walker, a true Jersey girl and an inspiration to many.
How did you get started on your journey into entrepreneurship?
I have a successful career in corporate America. Two years ago God put it in my head and heart that I needed to give back to others by sharing my story. I began sharing how I experienced circumstances that some may have seen as insurmountable and how I was able to overcome to live a life of joy and purpose. I started speaking at churches, community centers, drug rehab facilities, etc., and the response has been tremendous. In fact, after the first time I shared my story, a woman approached me and stated “No one knows this, but I’ve been contemplating suicide for the past two weeks. I know that God sent me here to hear your testimony, and I know that I can overcome the challenges I am facing at home.” So many people are living with shame, guilt and fear about being judged for things that have happened in their past. It’s weighing them down like baggage. By sharing my experience, I show them that with courage and faith they too can not only survive but overcome.You see survivors live in spite of, but people who overcome live a successful and happy life in spite of.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
I am a survivor of physical and mental abuse by my mother’s live-in boyfriend as a youth. I dropped out of high school in my sophomore year, and was classified an at-risk youth. I sold drugs and attempted suicide twice before the age of 18. I was struggling to find my purpose in life, but I knew I was born to be more than a woman who lacked morals and integrity. When I put in the work with the fortitude to change my circumstances, and let go of the shame, guilt, anger and baggage from my past, it freed me to live a life of joy and abundance.
Which of the two animals would you say you are most like — a sheep or a wolf — and why?
Definitely a wolf! I approach life with confidence, which has resulted in me leading in a respectful, yet dominant manner. I strive to win and I absolutely hate to lose.
Name a person who inspires/motivates you and why?
My grandmother. After being married for 36 years and raising six children, she came home after work and another woman opened the door to her home and told her that she had moved in. The woman and my grandfather had packed my grandmother’s belongings in a U-Haul. My grandmother held her head high and left without any altercation. When I asked her why she didn’t fight or at least attempt to have the woman put out of her home, she said: “I didn’t deserve to be in the gutter with the pigs, that would have made me no better than that woman.” That was a defining moment in my life. It showed me that I had to learn how to pick my battles wisely and to have standards for who and what I allow in my life.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the process of writing a book, sharing my story with lessons and affirmations on key learnings I have gained along the journey. The intent is to inspire and motivate others who are struggling to overcome a particular challenge or circumstance. My literary agent has sent the proposal out to multiple publishers and we’ve received interest from quite a few, so hopefully, I’ll be announcing a deal and the official name of my book in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, I have begun writing a series of motivational and leadership e-books that individuals can download on my website. www.dorindawalker.com.
Work life and personal life — how do you balance them?
I am fortunate to be married to the most wonderful man on the planet. This year we celebrate 24 years of marriage. He’s truly my backbone, and encourages me to pursue my passion and fills in the gap with family when I am unable to be there. That makes it easier for me to prioritize. I say prioritize because I don’t believe work-life balance exists for people who have achieved success. You have to learn how to prioritize based on what is most important in your life at the time. For instance, my youngest son is graduating high school this year. Everything related to his graduation, end of year school activities, and entry into college takes priority, no matter what. All other things related to my career and entrepreneurial endeavors will take a back seat during this season. Once he is all squared away, I can place greater emphasis and time on my career and entrepreneurial endeavors.
How do you inspire or motivate others?
I listen, hug, and accept people for who they are without judgment. I strive to live and stay grounded in positivity. I also pray that I inspire and motivate someone to make a positive change in their life, every time I have the opportunity to speak to a captive audience.
What three qualities do you notice in successful people?
The number one quality is Integrity. I respect and honor people who are honest and have a strong moral foundation. The others are drive and determination I admire people who know how to keep going despite the odds. The people who get up and keep going after being knocked down. Those who are intent and strategic about realizing their dreams. I am a firm believer that if God put the dream in your head, you have no choice but to honor the vision and put in the work to make it happen.