Paying it Forward
Jennifer Walker is a firm believer in “the more you know, the more you owe.” While she lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia, she always makes sure to give back to her non-profit of choice, the Omega Boys Club. This holiday season on her visit home, she presented Dr. Marshall a check for $5000 for the scholarship fund!
Jennifer attended her first Family Meeting in the fall of 1989 as a senior at Eugene McAteer High School. Growing up in the Bay View district in San Francisco, Jennifer says that she did not realize that she would be able to attend college outside of the Bay Area but learned that she could do just that after attending a college tour coordinated by Omega. A year later, Jennifer went on to attend Morris Brown College in Atlanta where she studied broadcast television, radio and film for two years before transferring and receiving her degree from Clark Atlanta University in 1995.
Jennifer is now at the top of her game and a supporter of Alive & Free.
Before I was introduced to the Omega Boys Club I would have never thought I would travel to or live outside of California. The college tour opened my eyes to living outside of California. I was going to go to San Jose State or somewhere local but it was an awesome experience and I never would have been able to do that without Omega.
Leaving the Bay View
Leaving her Bay View neighborhood and traveling to Atlanta was truly a culture shock. Prone to cultural stereotypes, Jennifer says that it took a while to adapt to the culture of Black excellence in Atlanta.
She had never seen and been around so many African American people that were going for the same common goal of being successful.
It took me a while to come out of that way of thinking. Now when I see a young man driving a nice car I think ‘He must have a good job.’ It helped me to change my mentality into the thinking that we can do this. It was very motivating.
After her first summer vacation in San Francisco Jennifer decided not to return home during school breaks. She worked hard in the music industry as an intern to build up her rapport in public relations. Since graduation, Jennifer has held several positions within the music industry, has worked as a real estate agent and is now an insurance broker. She says that transitioning from career to career has been challenging but successful because she works hard and build strong relationships.
Every career I got into I had to get out of because a tragic event happened. When September 11, 2001 shook up my career in entertainment, I said ‘let me try something else.’ I then got my real estate license because I had the thought that ‘if I’m sitting on steps all day and I’m talking to these rappers, singers and their mangers, they’re going to need homes too so I thought to marry the two careers.
In 2007, she was introduced to the insurance industry after the real estate market crashed. After selling homes to celebrities like Usher and athletes for years she was now able to offer them insurance. She reinvented herself once again and worked diligently-something she says that she learned that from her mother.
My mom is a boss! She was my motivation because I never had to want for anything. My mother always told me ‘never let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything.’ I took that literally-especially with being in an environment like Atlanta where there are a lot of successful and independent women doing very well and because I wanted to be a part of that crew.
Excellence without Excuse
Jennifer says that in order to be at the top of your game that you have to make sure that you surround yourself with positive people who challenge you. Having a great support system is one of the reasons Jennifer is the success that she is today.
I’ve always been in the top 3% in the companies I’ve worked for. I have that drive because it’s not about having things but it helps me move forward. Being successful is more fun than being at the bottom of the totem pole-it’s more exciting up here!
I credit the Omega Boys Club tremendously. I spent five years in college and when I graduated I had less than $3,000 worth of student loans and that’s because of the support of my mom and Omega-that’s all that I had.
Jennifer has been a generous alumna in her support of Alive & Free/Omega Boys Club.
I am very blessed and I like to give back to the Omega Boys Club. I know that I never would have gone to Atlanta if it wasn’t for them. I never would have had the opportunity to not be in financial debt and that is why anytime I can give back I do. I benefited from Omega and I have to pay it forward.
Alive & Free/Omega Boys Club salutes Jennifer Walker, one of our 200 college graduates Alive & Free…and Educated! Thank you for your generosity and thank you for your commitment to “The More You Know, the More You Owe.”