Tura is honestly a queen. We grew up in the same hometown, met in high school, and attended college together. I always enjoyed running into her at our favorite coffee shop (which is now closed. RIP Atomic.)
Tura and I have always cheered each other on. She's such a joy to be around. She's one of those ladies that people just gravitate toward; an intelligent, hilarious, bold, witty and passionate person who loves others hard. I loved learning about her hustle during this interview and I think you will, too! Thanks for taking the time to be here, lady <3
Hometown: Bradenton, Florida
Current city: Tampa, Florida (by way of Columbus, Ohio)
Alma mater: Florida State University (2013); The Ohio State University (2015)
Degree: Sociology & Psychology (B.S.); Higher Education & Student Affairs (M.S.)
Hustle: Coordinator of New Student Connections @ University of South Florida
Babe you admire and why?
Melissa McCarthy. She is everything I strive to be on my best day- unapologetic, shameless, comfortable in her own skin, and absolutely hysterical.
How do you spend your free time?
I love exploring new cities, coordinating the office happy hour, and playing my ukulele. I’m a creative at heart, and my most recent project is |the things i carry|: a blog all about identity, body image, and navigating and embracing our own mess.
I am killing my travel game in 2016 and 2017 with Hitlist. It’s perfect for all you babes trying to see the world while ballin’ on a budget. Just pick your destinations (mine were San Francisco, D.C., and Austin!) and it will find you the best airfare prices and times to travel.
ASOS. As a curvy babe, it’s really tough to find on-trend, affordable, size-inclusive clothing options for work or play. ASOS has styled many great work ensembles, first date outfits, and shift dresses that also double as nightgowns!
Tell us about your hustle:
Every day, I have the privilege of pouring myself into the lives of college students. In my role, I create, educate, and develop teams and individuals to be the best versions of themselves so they can use their strengths and talents to serve others. The team of 30 I supervise and coach support new students as they transition into college. It’s a dynamic blend of education, counseling, mentoring, and event planning. As a side hustle, I also serve as an adjunct professor teaching leadership studies.
What does your typical workday look like?
It all starts and ends with community. In order to build community for students, we invest so much time into having a strong community on our team. I am so lucky to work with supportive colleagues who genuinely care about each other. Typically, we spend some time each morning catching up, spend lunch talking about the unique peaks and valleys we face in our different seasons of life, and often host potlucks. My typical work load varies, though, depending on what time of year it is. At the beginning of each semester, much of my focus is on implementing direct programs and events to make our students feel like they belong and matter. On an average day, I have a blend of administrative duties (responding to emails, coordinating student leader schedules and training, collecting data for strategic program assessment, and organizing future events) to get through. I then spend part of my day meeting one-on-one with our student leaders, managing a variety of projects including a peer mentoring initiative, and trying smart and innovative ways to support students who may “fall through the cracks” at such a large university.
When and why did you decide on your career?
It was halfway through my sophomore year of college when I realized that student affairs is a career option. As a first generation college student, my college experience transformed me from the inside out. My beliefs drastically shifted through difficult dialogue, new experiences, and relationships with people different than myself. I transformed personally, socially, and spiritually. Upon graduation, I decided to harness my values, talents, and desire to create positive change in the lives of young adults, who I believe possess the greatest passion and potential to make our world better.
Most difficult part about your job?
It requires a LOT of emotional energy to authentically invest in people. To be able to fully coach and develop people, it takes time and compassion. Some days, it feels impossible to “refill my cup” after a day of listening, empathizing, and supporting others, especially when I don’t do things to center and renew myself.
From where do you draw your motivation?
I am constantly inspired by the lives and stories of my students. They are restless, resilient, and dedicated to bettering themselves, their families, and their communities. Most days, I learn something new from them. I am motivated by them to be more for my younger brother, my family, and myself.
What is one of the biggest challenges you've faced in the workplace? How did you overcome it?
One of the greatest potential barriers about working for a large bureaucratic organization is influencing and leading up, especially in an intergeneration workplace. I work with Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and Gen Z students. In order to get stuff done, it has been essential to learn how to effectively work with others by getting to know them, what they care about, and then bringing a vision forward by speaking their language.
Advice for other babes?
Keep searching for your purpose, no matter where you are in your career. It is a dream to be able to wake up and do what you love every day, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy or that every day is a good day. Ultimately, any given job will not love you back, but the people and causes you invest in might.
Connect with Tura!
This Interview has been condensed and edited.