Journey of Hard Work and Determination: Raquel Graham’s Path to Entrepreneurship
How do you feel being an immigrant/child of an immigrant impacted what you saw as career possibilities?
My parents migrated from Jamaica and as a child, I watched both my parents juggle two jobs while getting their degrees. Those memories are etched in my mind forever. I grew up thinking that having multiple jobs was the norm. Both of my parents continued their education in this country and used it to obtain high paying careers. I learned early that hard work was the path to success. I knew that obtaining any job was possible if I put in the work.
Do you feel the Black American experience is different than the experience of Black Immigrants?
The Black American experience is different because of the racism and historical violent past after slavery in the US. The Immigrant experience differs because migrants are often leaving worse conditions and experienced different kinds of racism – depending on their home country. The differences are subtle but both propelled me to strive to rise above the challenges and aim high, understanding that my journey would be more difficult than necessary.
What was the goal for you? What helped to drive you to your accomplishments?
I enjoy challenges that “move the needle”. For example, coveted positions like my first job as an analyst on Wall Street. Bit eventually I realizes that I wanted to work for myself. .Anything that would allow me to be my own boss was my motivating factor – then and now.
Were there any rules of thumb or sayings repeated to you in your childhood that you live by to this very day?
My Dad would always say “Every disappointment is for a good.” That was his way of saying – Keep pushing because that particular thing that you were striving for was not for you. He was right because the right opportunity always came along later in life.
Pick three theme songs for your life. One for childhood, one for when you just entered the working world, and what’s your current theme song?
Happy – Pharell
I’M Every Women – Chaka Khan
Run the World (Girls) – Beyonce
Did you know that by being who you are and pursuing your aspirations, you would be helping to write the following chapters of Black History? How does that make you feel?
I never used to think about my legacy but now I do – especially since I want to set the best example for my children. I am humbled that people take notice of my work because good examples are needed in the Black community – it matters.