Born & raised on the island of beautiful island of St.Croix, USVI, Cleo Ravariere is a proud Virgin Islander. Currently residing in Atlanta, GA, she is an Operations Support Specialist at Homeland Security-U.S.Citizenship & Immigration. She holds three degrees thus far; a B.A. in Communication, a M.S. in Communication Management, & an MBA in Project Management. She ALSO has a certification in Legal Compliance. PHEW! That was definitely a mouthful. & Im sorry fellas, she is NOT single. She has been dating Mr. Kemuel Browne, (who she’s completely obsessed w/), for the last two years, giving all credit to God being at the center of it all. As much as I would love to tell Cleo’s story for her, its so impactful, I’m going to let her tell it herself.
“You’ve probably realized that my degrees & my career don’t really match up. Instead of working for Turner Broadcasting or NBC, where my education would benefit so much more, I am in the legal field. Since the 8th grade I’ve wanted to go to law school & become an Immigration Attorney. That plan failed tho. After graduating w/ my Bachelors, my parents basically told me that they couldn’t help me w/ law school (they had just paid for my whole 4 years of college). I wasn’t working & the little savings I had was a joke! I applied for scholarships…NOTHING! I sat in my parent’s house (back on St. Croix) for 3 months wondering what the hell was I going to do. LIFE HIT ME LIKE A TRAIN! I eventually decided on returning to school to get my Masters in Communication at UMD (University of Maryland). I filled out the application, did my FAFSA, & started looking for jobs & apartments in MD. I prayed to God & said “Lord please let me find a job & please let my parents offer to pay 3 months of rent for me.” After telling my parents my plan, they agreed to help w/ rent for 3 months. I got accepted to UMD & bought my ticket to leave in 2 weeks. My Dad called his brother to tell him that I would be moving to Maryland & that they are coming with me to help me get situated.
My uncle insisted that I stay with him, in the downstairs of his house, rent free.
I prayed on it & decided to stay with them. Arrived in the first week of August & got called for an interview at T Mobile Corporate in the Marketing Department. It was right up my alley & of course I got the job.. Started in September & on September 29th I got into a terrible car accident (up to this day I do not know how I am alive). I damaged my whole left side & couldn’t walk properly for almost 3 months. I got nerve damage & felt damn near paralyzed, so unfortunately I had to quit my job. I became very angry, upset & miserable. Praying was hard to do. I started applying to jobs that were within my field and listen to me, turn down, after turn down, after TURN DOWN! I was sooo over it, I honestly felt like a failure!
One morning, I got up, went to therapy & for some reason I just had the urge to spend some time praying & crying out to God. The very next day, I received an email from the State of Maryland asking me to accept an interview for a Legal Secretary position. Look, I was so ecstatic, I CRIED! Foot all banned up, I walked into that interview full of confidence! The following week I got a callback & an offer. Was the pay exactly what I wanted? No! But it was a job with the State & I knew that would look amazing on my resume. So, I took it. In April of the following year, guess what, budget cuts (aka I got laid off) . I was so devastated, waves of depression started to hit me. I was 22 years old & I felt like a FAILURE! My bills were paid, I had bought my own car, I had a little savings, but I still felt soooo EMPTY!
Well, I continued praying, asking God to make a way because I was tired. April 4, 2015, my old boss emailed me & said she had turned in my resume to the Baltimore City Court-Juvenile Division. Now me being ungrateful, I was like Baltimore City? Yuck!
You know how God does this thing where he puts you in the most uncomfortable situation, in order to show you His purpose for your life? That is what was happening.
I didn’t even interview, I got an offer for the Outreach Coordinator position. Pay was no longer an issue, location was. Now I had to actually go into the community in order to help the children of Baltimore City who were in the system! At first, this job made me extremely uncomfortable, but I can honestly say that this job has been one of the most satisfying experiences ever. Being able to go out & help these children get on track & out of the system (black children at that), seeing their faces light up when they realize they have another chance! At the time, there was nothing more gratifying. When I think about it, God allowed me to get in that accident, spared my life, just so that I could end up w/ this job. This was when I began to understand what “purpose” meant.
Please understand that trusting the process, going through trials, experiencing hard times, & overcoming stumbling blocks are ALL necessary for you to get where you’re going.
I worked a lot of overtime just to make sure I did all I could for those kids. This was more than just a job & food on the table, this was my purpose! These children made my day, every single day. After a year in that position, I was offered a job at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as a Compliance Officer. After 6 months at this job, I got a promoted to Senior Litigation Compliance Officer & I moved down to Atlanta (the headquarters are here). Loved the job, but my heart wasn’t in it honestly. I wanted to help people. Well, November 2017 I received a call from U.S. Homeland Security- Citizenship and Immigration Division. I got set up for an interview for the Operations Support Specialist position! WHAT?? MEEEE! YOU SURE? LOL & now I am back to helping people & walking right in my purpose. There were so many road blocks, sooo many mishaps, soo many times I was afraid that I was just going to FAIL! Nights when I just could not sleep, nights when I would just cry & just get all in my head. God was preparing me for what he had in store for my life. I didn’t make it to law school, I didn’t get to work for Turner Broadcasting or NBC, none of it happened! But, I am so grateful for where I am today! I stayed determined, I decided not to give up, I protected my energy, as much as I was going through it, I stayed positive & eliminated all negativity. Was I fearful? Absolutely! I was afraid of failure!
I think that my fear motivated me. I just tried my best pushing & pushing until something happened, out of my fear of failure.”
This is the first time Cleo has told me her entire story, in fact this is the first time Cleo has ever shared her story in this kind of setting. Even without all these details I already knew how resilient she is & how much she never gave up. Cleo has always been oozing with confidence & poise. I am honored to be able to share her story with you guys. I hope it inspires you as much as she inspires me, daily. Until next time dolls.💕