My name is Latoya J. Williams and I am a First Generation Professional. I created The First Generation Professional site as a way to recognize and honor the experience of a large and growing number of individuals who are the first members in their family to take a leap into more advanced education, industries, fields, and circles that were previously unknown familial territory.
Many supportive families, like my own, simply do not have the experience or network to offer specific guidance and resources as certain members apply for college, graduate, and develop their professional lives. Additionally, I gained no specific insight during my educational studies to understand the professional path that I had inadvertently initiated by attending college and pursuing a certain type of work.
Self Awareness and Self Knowledge Makes a a Huge Difference
When I clearly identified myself as a First Generation Professional, the challenges and opportunities that I experienced over the course of my professional life finally began to make sense to me. As I have shared this concept of the “first generation professional,” I have received a tremendously supportive response from others, who are traveling this path or know friends and family on a similar journey.
I did not recognize myself as a first generation professional until 10 years after I completed my undergraduate studies and had started my career as a consultant. I believe that I would have managed the beginning years of my professional life more skillfully (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), if I had this understanding much earlier. Specifically, I would have benefited from more career exploration/guidance, mentorship, and networking.
I share my experiences of navigating higher education, the world of work, and professional development, while offering resources and support for anyone who can identify with being a first generation professional or who can benefit from more intentional educational, career management, and professional development guidance.
I love to dialogue about this topic and the various themes that I explore on this site. So, please feel free to comment and offer other resources that have been helpful for you.
Latoya J. Williams, MA, CDF
Washington, DC Metro Area
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