Meet Katrina Waddy Parker
Meet Power Mom Katrina Waddy Parker
"Thankfully, my faith (even when it is literally the size of a mustard seed) helps me work through and move past that doubt. And, perhaps my biggest struggle is truly letting go and letting God."
TDR: Please give us a brief recap of your career.
Katrina Waddy Parker: I have nearly 25 years of communications and media/public relations experience in the PR agency, city government, and national nonprofit and global corporate sectors. I'm grateful to have started my career at two leading black-owned agencies which laid the foundation for my ‘get-the-job-done-no-matter-what’ work ethic. That and other key learnings from my experiences at Burrell Communications Group and Flowers Communications Group carried over into growth opportunities at the Chicago Park District, KaBOOM!, and CNA.
TDR: Please tell us about your children.
KWP: I'm the proud mom of two daughters who I refer to as my kittens: one who looks like me, Daynah (17); and one who acts like me, Jadah (16). (Actually, they both act like me; but, the phrase flows better as stated.) They are both smart, beautiful, strong-minded, outspoken young ladies. I love that they aren't afraid to stand up for something they deem right, and alone in instances where something is wrong. They have a very strong sense of perception (which they get from their dad) and they do not let people walk over or attempt to get over on them. They are very well-rounded academically, socially, and spiritually. I absolutely love their relationship... and can almost envision how they will interact with each other well into their golden years.
TDR: How are you juggling your passion with the responsibilities of parenthood?
KWP: Now that my daughters are in the second half of their high school years, my passion juggle isn't as hectic as it was when I was managing media relations for CNA. Today, I'm enjoying a lot more freedom (personally and professionally) because my girls are responsible, trustworthy, and independent.
TDR: What are some of your struggles and how do you work to overcome them?
KWP: Comfort in articulating what I want. I think that I'm like many other women (esp. mothers and wives) with wants and needs that are directly correlated to those that are beneficial to our children/husband/families. However, as a 46-year-old divorcee and empty-nester-to-be, I'm having more honest conversations with myself to discover, then comfortably and openly state exactly what Katrina wants. Additionally, I'm in the middle of a job search -- something I haven't had to do since the early-90s after college. So, 20-plus years later, I struggle against the urge to doubt my expertise and value that I bring to a potential employer. Thankfully, my faith (even when it is literally the size of a mustard seed) helps me work through and move past that doubt. And, perhaps my biggest struggle is truly letting go and letting God. In my mind, my job search would last a few months and I would land a new job by summer's end. I had it all worked out. So, when three months and very slow progress turned into four and counting, fear and doubt began to creep in...until my pastor shared a word with me that God wanted me to take my hand off of the gearshift (apparently, He still sees me in my first car! lol). It took a change in thought patterns and daily reminding that He (not me) is in control; but, I do appreciate the peace that comes from throwing my hands up and relinquishing the clutch. Of course, I'm not always in agreement regarding His timing (I want what He has for me... yesterday!); but, I just do my part (searching, applying, networking, etc.) and trust that He already has it worked out.
TDR: What are 2 resources you use to help you stay motivated?
KWP: I know that many people are still skeptical about social media, especially, Facebook; but, my Facebook network has been my biggest motivator and source of encouragement via uplifting posts, comments and images. This is why I'm very selective about which friend requests I accept or who I request as a friend because I absolutely do not do negativity or pessimism.
My faith is another huge motivation resource. I consider myself very fortunate for the opportunity to tap into God whenever I need to; and to receive encouragement and support from my pastor, church family, family, sister-friends and more than a few good men.
TDR: What is your favorite way to pause?
KWP: DANCING. I absolutely love music -- ol' school, House, R&B, Hip Hop and rap, blue-eyed soul, steppers, gospel, disco. For some, movement might be the antithesis to a pause; but, for me, it releases stress and is a lot of fun.
And, LAUGHTER... I absolutely love to laugh and to make others laugh. I can pretty much find the funny in almost any situation. My sense of humor helps me not take myself or everything in life so seriously, and helps me get beyond some challenging situations which can sometimes make you forget to pause.
TDR: What has been the scariest moment or crossroad in your journey?
KWP: One Christmas, a few years before my divorce, I reached an extremely low point where I seriously mapped out my "life's exit strategy." Luckily, God talked me out of it; and, after a day of being in a state of depression, I asked myself, "So, is this it? Is this how you're going to spend the rest of your life?" I realized that, having survived a number of misfortunes (a horrible-yet-non-fatal car accident, my mom's death, two miscarriages, and the death of my firstborn), I should at least attempt to get through the valley I was in. I pulled myself out of bed and made a promise to myself to never go back to that low place; and, I haven't.
TDR: What would be your greatest advice to other "Power Moms" wanting to pursue their dreams?
KWP: Always carve out something (time, a special purchase, a night with the girls, manicure/pedicure/massage) that is significant for YOU. In other words, don't let your intention to nurture and support your children/family; cause you to pour your all into them while neglecting yourself and those things you used to do/enjoy for you. After the birth of my firstborn (who was born with major medical challenges), I found myself on the phone several hours each day providing updates on my baby's progress as well as updates on girlfriends to other girlfriends I'd talked with on previous calls. One of my friends organized a girlfriends group, SASS (Sharing and Supporting Sisters), which enables us to get together to talk, laugh, cry, vent, counsel, course-correct, etc. We used to get together quarterly; but, these days, it's once or twice a year -- and, it's always a no-husband, no-kids environment. I mention SASS as an example of women doing something for themselves to keep their own oxygen tanks filled before sharing that oxygen with kids/husband/family. I notice the added stress in women who don't make this kind of allowance for themselves.
TDR: What word best describes the legacy you want to leave for your children and why?
KWP: Love. Because love encompasses so many other attributes (compassion, respect, dignity, commitment, charity, etc.). I hope I've taught and shown my girls how to love God and themselves; then, reflect that love in their interactions with family, friends, and others.
TDR: How can others collaborate and support your mission?
KWP: Currently, I'm accepting prayers, referrals, warm thoughts and well wishes as I continue my search to land my next professional opportunity.
Connect with Katrina:
Facebook – Katrina Waddy Parker
Twitter – FlowerKat
Instagram - MommKat
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