Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.
Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Yvonne Pierre who is an award-winning writer, producer and advocate. She is a proud wife and mom of two sons, Zyair (her oldest) and Zyon (her youngest). Zyon has Down syndrome and is the motivation behind many of her empowering projects. Yvonne has written stage plays, a short film and is the author of “The Day My Soul Cried.”
D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?
My desire is to allow God to use me to make a positive impact in this world. My passion is storytelling in various forms. My focus is to successfully create timeless stories that will be read or watched for years to come. In the future, I pray that the success of my films and books will enable me to invest into other people whose dream is to make a positive change in the disabled community.
My wish is for my children, husband, family and friends to have a relationship with God, be in good health, happy, fulfilled spiritually and blessed beyond measure.
E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?
It is amazing that I evolved into a writer. I could barely read when I graduated from high school. I wasn’t a fan of education, because of my battle with reading and writing. To make a long story short, I realized that I needed to go to college. Initially, I failed the entry exam. But after a month of studying hard, I went back and passed it. I knew it was going to be hard, but giving up wasn’t an option. I was tired of being a failure and running. I sacrificed my social life and fully committed to my education. I was hungry for knowledge. That was in the mid 90’s. Today, I’m working on my second Master degree. I received my Executive Master in Business Administration in 2010. I will be receiving my Master in English/Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction in 2017. No, I don’t have to get a Master’s to be a successful writer, it is a personal goal. I learned the hard way the importance of education.
R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?
I bring knowledge and passion for telling stories that uplift, empower and are thought-provoking.
R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?
I didn’t even think about if I were ready or not. I just jumped. Thinking back, I would say I was ready when fear could not immobilize me. I still have fear and occasionally doubt, but I use it to push me to be prepared. There was a time when all my excuses seemed logical, until I was ready to see beyond the excuses and obstacles.
There are a few of individuals that come to mind are my husband, son and an artist named Kayla. My husband, Steffan Cooks’ vision is to empower indie music artist by providing them with the tools they need to be successful in this business through his company Hungry Artiz. My son, Zyair is an awesome music producer currently in school for audio engineering. Hungry Artiz client, Kayla Wyatt is a 13 year old, multi-talented artist (singer, writer, actress, and model) currently working on the release of her first single, “Stand Tall,” an uplifting, anti-bullying song.
C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?
There’s a quote by an unknown author that says, “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it come from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” For me, the challenges were harder to overcome when my focus was me. But when I began to focus on the purpose and message of the visions God placed in me, nothing was impossible. I began to get clarity and a better understanding of my purpose. This journey isn’t about me. I am a vessel. Once I understood that, doors began to open. Rejection and obstacles didn’t seem so bad anymore. Challenges bring discomfort and uncertainty. I had to learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?
There are several keys to success such focus, determination, willingness to learn, forward-thinking, self-motivation, promotion, networking and most importantly committing to the vision. But I wanted to touch on self-promotion. Over the years, I’ve come across a lot of business owners and professionals who shared with me that they are afraid to talk about what they do, in fear of people thinking they are bragging. I do understand. I was the same way. Until, I realize that I was missing out on opportunities, people simply didn’t know. It dawned on me, why would I expect people to know about “my” business when I wouldn’t talk about it? There are ways to talk about your business without bragging, by focusing on the purpose and mission. For example, when I had a radio show, I promoted the topic and the guest. You cannot care about what people think. Okay, we all care, but it shouldn’t be to the point of allowing other people opinions to hindering or blocking you from opportunities, blessings and living a fulfilled life.
Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to inspire others with?
I have been advocating positive Down syndrome (Ds) Awareness since 2005. I thought I was doing something that would empower the Ds community, but this journey empowered me. Take a moment to check out the Rise eMag at www.theriseawards.com. There’s information on there about Down syndrome, highlights from the Rise Awards and what the awards is about. But most importantly, read the 2014 recipients’ stories, be inspired and pass it on.
Thank you very much for this opportunity, Derrick. I wish you continued blessings!
Visit Yvonne Pierre for more information.