My name is Kaleisha Higgins and I am first and foremost a Christian wife and mother. Professionally however, I am a Regional Operations Manager for T-Mobile USA. This is a role I only just took on after being a store manager for about 7 years and working in the company for about 10 years. I am the second of five siblings; I have 3 sisters and one brother. My mother and father grew up in the Apsley Hill and Permontemp’s areas of St. Davids respectively so that “country life” was our family life and I didn’t realise how much I loved it until now. My early years of childhood were spent in Perdmontemp’s, after which my sister and I moved to Grand Anse where we lived with my mom until I moved to the US in 2013. I attended St. Dominic’s R.C. School in St. David’s where our yellow and black uniform was playfully referred to as curry and black pepper. Lots of family land to run around in, trees to climb, cocoa, cashew, mango and plums to eat right off the trees. Summer time church camps in Happy Hill Secondary School and macaroni and cheese being the popular thing to bring to school in a flask keeping it hot. We were never rich but I was never without what I needed. When my father moved to the US and the barrels started coming we surely felt like we were “in thing” come Christmas time though.
Nothing like a barrel full of things like corned beef, salt ham and macaroni to make you feel like you have it all growing up in Grenada. I was painfully shy in my early days and most often you would find me closer to a book than a person. Exception being my best friend and cousin Tahira. Education was always very important in my family and I will never forget the day the Common Entrance results came out and I placed 1st in my school and 20th in the island, I may as well have won the Nobel Prize lol. And even though I had selected Anglican High School as my first option, my mother marched up to St. Joseph’s Convent, showed them my results and made sure that’s where I went. So I became a Convent “gyul” and I’m so happy I did!
My favourite memory is running around in the “cocoa” with my aunts, uncles and cousins. We were carefree and there’s something priceless about that kind of freedom. The calm quiet simplicity of Grenada makes it special to me. Life really isn’t complicated there and you can go home and find peace anytime you need it in some remote beautiful corner of paradise.
As overrated as it sounds, I would encourage this younger generation to educate themselves as best possible and find a good Mentor who will keep you focused. The right people in your corner can propel you infinitely higher than you can imagine. I couldn’t narrow down what has inspired me to one moment honestly. It ranges from the passion and intellect of teachers I encountered like Mr Adams in TAMCC, to the hard work and work ethic I see in my mom, to the kindness and generosity of former Manager, Donna, from my first Retail job in Macy’s. People inspire me!
I am a Christian which guides pretty much all of who I am today, or at least I try to let that guide me and have self-control. Lol. I believe in hard work, respecting others and being honest and straight forward, to a fault. I’m hopelessly faulted in my humanity and I own my imperfections as hurdles to overcome as I “grow-up”, I like to say. Family and friends that I love mean everything to me. I’m all about people. Which makes sense for my profession. I essentially work in retail management which is a people business. In my role I support a region of over 60 stores as the “go-to” for all operational and non-operational questions although my title says Operations Manager. I am the liason between the individual locations and our company headquarters, the “guide” for how to do things correctly and really any and everything else that goes into the business of successfully running the stores, maximizing profit and minimizing loss while maintaining a great customer experience. It’s everything from conference calls to sales analysis to store visits. Quite a mouthful and I’m not even sure I’ve adequately described it.
I have worked at T-Mobile for what will be 10 years in May. I started as a Part Time Sales Associate with no intention of going further because that was not my career path. I had just graduated with a B.A. in Criminal Justice with honors and law school was on my mind. But I found myself in love with the immediacy of the impact I was able to make and after several promotions and transfers to support various stores, I made it a career choice. With all my knowledge and experience what I have learned is that hard work must be accompanied by a certain level of notoriety to get anywhere. People must know who you are and the shy side of me had to be stripped away in order for me to grow. It was hard for me because I am naturally a “do my work quietly” type of person but my career stopped growing because of it. I think I was afraid of failing in the spotlight but God doesn’t give us a Spirit of fear but of power…and I had to remind myself on that constantly. No one will give you anything. You may be the best at something but if you don’t speak up and show up with every opportunity, you will only get so far. And don’t be afraid of closed doors in your face. They don’t devalue your ability. Let them teach you to be stronger and better. I’ve learned you must be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table and you will inspire others to have the same confidence in you.
A year and a half ago I started experiencing a variety of pains and numbness that could not be explained. After multiple doctors and even a chiropractor could not figure out what was happening, last year March I believe, I got a diagnosis of a chronic lifetime illness. I won’t name what it is because I choose not to be identified by it and I also very much value my privacy. However, I was warned of all the worst case scenarios and told the best case possibilities as the way my body could respond is medically unpredictable. I could be fine with barely any impact to my life with medication or any infinite number of things could go wrong. My first attempt at medication for this illness sent me to the emergency room, on the day I took the second dose, and the experience thoroughly shook my faith. I went through periods of frustration, depression, and anger at God. I had to go through various tests to determine what medication could next be safe. These tests led to concern about me possibly having a heart condition to add to it all. At the same time, many of the important relationships in my life were going through a different type of test and I was struggling to keep myself together mentally and emotionally through it all. I really understood in this time what it meant to lean on God. I had to disconnect from all distractions that were the bandaid on my gunshot wounds. I turned off and logged out of all social media and really went to God for direction and help whenever I felt angry or sad or depressed. I kept very few friends close for support although I didn’t tell them all that was happening. And I prayed and cried my way through it trusting God to guide me and He did. He showed me how to work through all the relationship issues. He kept me healthy without medication to the extent that my last medical visit had my doctor baffled. And He even blessed me with a promotion after I had other doors closed in my face. I learned to trust God more in the past 6 months to a year than ever. And it’s paying off. Not because I think life will be perfect going forward but because I know no matter what comes He will keep me and I don’t have to keep myself.
I credit my success and will to overcome to God who has guided and watched over me and the people who have supported me along the way by pushing me when I needed it and letting me fall apart when I needed that as well. Don’t sacrifice a relationship with God for anyone or anything. Seek ye first the kingdom and all things surely will be added.