Featured Interview With Tonya Mead
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Ms. Mead grew up in rural North Carolina. She did not have any Black female role models, as her mother supported her dad in all of his entrepreneurial exploits. His dad (her grandfather) worked as a field hand in the tobacco fields and the saw mills. However, her (Ms. Mead’s) dad held a greater vision. He wanted something better. He started a business, at the height of his entrepreneurial endeavors, he owned the largest Black owned photography dealership in the nation and owned multiple single-family rental properties for residents receiving subsidized housing vouchers. As technology advanced, he was one of the first dealers to install a Point of Purchase computer system.
Ms. Mead was integral in the computer integration. During her pre-teen years, she transferred all of the manual bookkeeping, inventorying, and general ledger information into the computerized system. She authored an operations manual and standard operations plans that were used to train new employees. The business became a true family business. As the company grew, the entire family, and three siblings worked in the business until college. Ms. Mead points to her dad’s motto, “When I couldn’t find a job, I made one,” as the reason for starting Shared Knowledge.
After obtaining an MBA and M.A. in Educational Psychology, Ms. Mead started her own consulting firm as a sole proprietorship
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
My grandmother was employed as a custodian for the local library. Therefore, the public library became a place where I could explore the world outside of the limitations of rural North Carolina and professional ceilings of a segregated system.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favorite genre is inspirational classics such as: the Bible, A course in miracles, any book by Norman Vincent Peale, and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
I have been notified that I am the 2017 recipient of the Most Influential Woman in Education Fraud and Cyber Security in the USA (to be awarded in 2018). This award follows the distinction as a 2014 Cafritz Award winner for Excellence in Government Service and Public Leadership.
I wrote the book, Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer address fraud, waste and abuse in the education sector. As a Certified Fraud Examiner, Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator and Private Investigator I have extensive expertise in forensic science. However, I started my career as an Educational Psychologist- School-based, K-12 Regular Administrator (I have maintained these credentials).
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