About Me


“I just want the world to know that I’m here, and I care.” 

I’ve built a career on helping others to realize their highest potential. Whether as a teacher in the classroom or as an executive in the boardroom, I spend my time helping individuals, teams, and organizations to thrive. I’ve come to learn this is my “native way of being in the world.” It’s not only what I do, but it’s also who I am.

I believe in the human potential, and I believe we all have greatness inside of us just waiting to fully manifest. 

It’s partly because of my tenacious belief in the goodness and greatness of people that I believe we can solve whatever problems arise in our communities, our nation, and even the world. There is nothing impossible for people who see problems as opportunities and obstacles as proving grounds to learn and achieve more. I believe that together there is little we can’t do. This is my motivation and my deep desire for The Social Scholar. It’s my small part to raise the issues, invite conversations, and ignite positive social activism in all those who read it.

Photograph by Mark Mirko | mark@markmirko.com

I am passionate about education and learning.

The message I heard from my parents is that education gained can never be taken away. Personally, I believe attaining a quality education is vital to personal and professional success and economic empowerment. It’s also essential to the health and welfare of our communities and nation.

The knowledge curve doubles every 12 months and is accelerating due to globalism and technological advancements. It is imperative that quality education and learning systems are accessible to all. Unfortunately, too many of our children, particularly those of color and the poor, are underserved or outright neglected due to inequities in our educational systems and resources.

Workplaces are also not free from bias and politicized practices that create growth and development opportunities for some, but not for others. This leads to widening gaps and perpetual disparities of great consequence to people, often falling along the typical lines of race, gender, sexual identity, and other social and demographic markers.

These inequities create an opportunity cost that all of us pay. They limit us from being the very best that we can be as individuals, as communities, and as a country. Because I care, it’s on me to do something about it. The Social Scholar is just one way I can help. The Social Scholar helps me shine a spotlight on a broad array of issues ranging from education and learning to the environment, to healthcare, and even to things like the role fear plays in perpetuating stereotypes and “isms” that continue to prevent us from becoming our best and highest selves individually and collectively.

I want to create a conversation with others who feel as I do – it’s time to ensure all children, young adults, people who are like us and those vastly different from us, have access to the systems, resources, and supportive environments they need in order to achieve success in their lives.

I am a scholar-practitioner.

I have over 30 years of combined professional experience in educational environments and in corporate America. My career began working in

various school systems, teaching English and journalism in middle and high schools. I transitioned to corporate America as a training manager for a small telecommunications company in 1996 and continued to expand my experiences in leading talent management, learning and development and organization development functions in Fortune 100 companies. Currently, I am a human resources executive with a large sports media and entertainment company, where I am responsible for aligning people, culture and business strategies and serving as an adviser to the company’s senior leadership team.

I received my bachelor of science degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida; my master of education degree in human resource and organization development from The University of Georgia; and my doctor of philosophy degree in adult education with an emphasis in human resource and organization development from The University of Georgia. As a scholar, one of my research interests is the facilitative and repressive structures in the workplace that impact the career development of women and people of color. Specifically, my doctoral research, A Critical Examination of the Impact of Racism on the Career Development of African American Professional Men in Corporate America, focused on issues of race and gender and the strategies employed to ensure career success. It was clear through the data that inequities exist in corporate America, just as they exist in America’s classrooms.

I am a fierce advocate for equity and equality at school and work. I believe there are others who are just as passionate.

Oh Yes! I am a Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, and Friend

I wear many titles, as we all do. Those titles all occupy aspects of my life that are extremely meaningful to me. The people who come in and out of my life are both my teachers and my students. If we remain open, everyone and every experience gift us with the richness of life.

If I untether myself from those titles, I am a soul having a human experience. My faith is like an incessant well – the deeper I dig, the more that springs forth. My gratitude and peace, even my passion and purpose, flow from the Divine Source of Love – God. I cannot extricate myself from this Consuming Energy, and neither would I ever want to.

When I’m not writing The Social Scholar, I enjoy reading (more than ever before), writing my bestseller, traveling, watching HGTV and most sports, hanging out with family and friends, shopping (of course), spending time in prayer and meditation, and exploring new interests (photography, Ikigai, positive psychology, yoga, and whatever is next). I am a perpetual learner.

Join Me

I invite you to join me in advocacy and conversation through The Social Scholar as we learn and share together. Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

With gratitude,

Tonya