Keisha Gray is Finishing Strong
MOUNT OLIVE-“We all create the stories we want for ourselves, and I’ve always wanted my story to be life-changing without limits,” said University of Mount Olive (UMO) student Keisha Gray of Greenville, NC.
Gray was born and raised in Stamford, CT. She was one of seven siblings, all girls. Her parents always encouraged Gray and her sisters to better themselves and finish what they started, regardless of how long it took.
“They would tell us that persistence was more powerful than trying to be perfect,” she recalled. “They also encouraged us to finish strong, because we would be judged by our results.”
Although being a college graduate was a dream Gray always aspired to achieve, her goals were placed on a shelf for various personal and professional reasons. She worked hard, was active in her church community, and did the best she could as a single mother. In her home church in Stamford, CT, Gray was a member of the choir, a youth leader, an usher, and part of a women’s ministry. She enjoyed it all, but it was her involvement with the youth that actually pushed Gray to enroll in college.
“I felt guilty encouraging those teens to go to college, yet I was dragging my feet on my end,” she recalled. “I became convicted for not practicing what I was preaching.”
In 2005, she landed a job as an Executive Assistant/Human Recourses Coordinator with a Hedge Fund Company in Greenwich, CT. “That was my first exposure to the Human Resources field,” she said. “I fell in love with all aspects of it. Since then, I’ve followed my passion.”
Gray enrolled in a local community college where she earned her associate’s degree. She began to motivate herself with vision boards. She placed images and words on a board to keep herself focused on her goals and her future. Obtaining her bachelor’s degree was top on the list.
Gray moved to North Carolina in 2012, and accepted a job as an HR Generalist at a manufacturing firm in Greenville. In 2017, she enrolled in the University of Mount Olive’s online Human Resource Management program. “My passion for people made it easy to choose the HRM field,” she said. “UMO’s online format made it easy for me to maintain my job, family-life, and school.”
Through the HRM program, Gray has grown and developed in many ways both personally and professionally. “I have learned many things which will transfer into my professional career such as time management, creating and establishing positive relationships, utilizing effective communication, making sound decisions, and developing effective leadership qualities.”
Gray is appreciative to the many people that have motivated her along the way, but she gives her highest praise to her heavenly Father for the work He has done and continues to do in her life. “I know God’s promise is complete and unchanging,” she said. “I am reminded of it daily as I read my favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Gray is on target to graduate in May. She doesn’t plan to waste any time, and will enroll in a master’s program this fall.
“My aspirations are to continue learning, and improving for my next role as an HR business partner and eventually an HR manager,” she said. “I know my parents will be proud. It may have taken me longer than most, but I am finishing strong.”
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has education service centers in Mount Olive, Jacksonville, New Bern, Research Triangle Park, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Washington, and Wilmington. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.