Meet Tekay Brown.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: What really inspired me because it was just a gift. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and just doing really well in the sense of what I was doing in the work capacity. I actually came out of school in an accounting field doing accounting for a really large firm that does all the waste management for places like Red Lobster, Olive Garden, etc… So I quickly knew that running 50 and 40, 60-page reports, accounting reports, that was not the life I was not living my best life. I went into organizational behavior in school, got a Master’s program, and my MBA in HR. I have family and friends and things like that in education. So I always substituted teacher doing something while I was going to college. So I was always in some capacity, comes very passionate about education and just so happened that I went to go work still doing accounting in some way. I had to do a lot of kind of talking and meeting with a sales representative and the women and men that were using the services and products within the school district. So that being said, the superintendent of HR at the time Dr. Morgan kind of identify me, pick me out somewhere random. And then, you know, everything I believe in God. No, nothing happened by happenstance however, he kind of recruited me and had me come over and worked for him in the HR department and it’s been uphill ever since then. So I started an education state, the school district almost 10 years in Missouri, and then certainly he located to Augusta and started working for a large HR business partner for a large farm here. All the while I was in the military and our base air force base was BRAC, which is a base realignment. So how it started with, with mediation because mediation in context and theory, it’s kind of built on that kind of HR. We’re always kind of mediating and it’s not the contextual of what mediation is but the procedural side, of mediation. I became an instructor in the air force and part of their equal opportunity program. I became an instructor in the air force and part of their equal opportunity program. We had to take adult learners and be trainers. So I became a trainer of trainers training for trainers. That kind of led to changes in my civilian life, with its company, kind of changing how they were doing things. I decided not to be with those changes. So I resigned from that position and decided, you know, I was going to go do some things for the air force. When I came back to Augusta, I decided to do obviously what had kind of sparked in me, which what I was doing was at a train the trainer and started a company doing mediation when I saw that it was such a significant need here. So that’s kind of how it was birth.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Augusta and what do you love there?
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Augusta?
A: I have lived here for almost 7 years but I’ve physically been here for about four years.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Augusta?
A: Michele Canchola, she’s the executive director of the Lydia Project. I’ve been fascinated with that organization since I’ve set foot in Augusta. Lebron Gold, 30 plus years of running the United way CSRA. She is an amazing woman with a big heart. And she, she has so much influence and just really connected and Augusta and just really down to earth. Barbara Gordon she’s the editor, owner, and founder of the Metro Courier, which is a local newspaper production and they are all things about African-Americans in the sense of making sure African-American are included in media. I know that she’s been through a lot running a paper like that that focuses on African American issues and so you can imagine the type of flack and type of and still around.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: South Africa or any place in Africa and I would love to be able to one day set foot in Africa. Go on a safari and do that whole kind of experience. I’ve never been to New York. I’ve been 30 miles outside of New York but I’ve never been there.
Q: What is one of your favorite movies?
A: The Color Purple and What’s Love Got To Do With It.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: One of my life models is really about tolerating each other, acceptance, and inclusion. That really is something that I’ve kind of lived for and I kind of consider my life’s work. That’s kind of why I do what I do, it is really that peace about people working together and taking care of each other. If I can have a legacy, I want people to say that my legacy was advocating for equality, advocating for tolerance, and for peace.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: I would like to parasail one day, go snow skiing.
Q: What is your go favorite music?
A: Gospel Quartet music.
Q: What are the three bands you would like to see? Dead or alive?
A: Definitely Michael Jackson is at the top of that list. Also Le’Andria Johnson and Lee Williams.
Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Augusta?
A: I really would have to say The Lydia Project.
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
A: Cicely Tyson, a couple of reasons. One because she reminds me so much of my great aunt Carrie, who I absolutely adored and loved and she lived on this earth till she was 97 years old and she was driving until she was about 92. She got me, she was the first person to take me to a salon and get my hair pressed and cone. Second is she’s so gorgeous, she almost a hundred years old and she looks like she about 70. I would love to just go over and be able to have lunch with her.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Evans?
A: I like the homey feel of Augusta. It has a small-town feel but it has acquired by a small kind of big city feel.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: In 5 years, I am very close to retirement from the air force, and running a successful mediation practice where individuals will look to mediation is more of a recognized kind of standard of practice. It’s more of an established kind of a practice here in Augusta that is recognized and there’s awareness and I’m helping to lead that.
Q: Even for family and friends. What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: Not everyone knows that I can cook. I had Thanksgiving at my house and my husband’s family and they too did not think I could cook. They were so impressed and we had everything like everything, Greens, Mac and cheese dressing.
Q: Can you describe the neighborhood you grew up in?
A: I was raised by my grandma’s tenured but I still claim to manage it with, it’s a small town, maybe a few hundred miles south of St Louis. The New Madrid and we call it the Bootheel because if you look at the state of Missouri, that look piece right there at the end, it looked like the looked like a boot. I grew up in St. Louis and where I spent most of my life but when we talked about New Madrid, it was certainly a small town where everybody knows everybody.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: St. Louis, My extended family and which extends into like organizations, nonprofit and community social groups, and community engagement.
Q: If you were cast in a movie and could choose your co-star, who would it be?
A: Denzel Washington.
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: Physical Fitness Trainer. I would love to be more healthy. I would love to have somebody tell me, “this is what we’re gonna do, this is what you need to do. I love health and fitness.
Q: If you can hold onto one memory for life, what would that be?
A: 4th of July at my grandparents. My brother and my grandparents are deceased. And that’s a time where my grandfather would go, he and my grandmother loved to see the fireworks and so they would go buy all these amazing fireworks. And they lived out in the country so everybody would come out in the country and watch me and my brother popped all the fireworks.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
A: Well, I don’t have one person but I would say that I’m here where I am because it had to start somewhere, would be my grandmother and she’s deceased. My mother didn’t make really great choices. Obviously she was only 18 years old when she had me. And so my grandmother was really strong, gave me a really, really strong foundation and she always set the expectations high for me. And so even as an adult, I set the expectation high for myself. And even the people around me, the bar is always high and so I think she had a significant influence on my life and where I am because if she has not stepped in, it would’ve gone a lot of different. And had she not made some of the decisions as it pertained to me, who knows where I would be. I really don’t know where I would be. And I think about that often with my grandmother and obviously, with 15 kids, you can imagine my family is extremely large, a lot of cousins and they all will tell you when it came to my grandma, I was untouchable so I was the favorite but I am not spoiled.
Q: If you should share if you could share one piece of advice, what would that be?
A: I feel like we will be stuck being in a much better place if we all kinda took on the notion to kind of bring somebody along. It’s lonely at the top, why accomplish all these amazing things but never impart it, so empower someone else. You can blaze a trail, but if you blaze it and ain’t nobody behind you coming along, it’s kind of pointless. So if you’re going to be a trailblazer, make sure you bring somebody along with you. And so the other pieces I, I’d say, you know, there’s enough out here for everybody. We all can eat, trust me, there’s plenty. So there’s no need to kind of be closed-minded about the opportunity. Be a giver, share information.
Thank you Tekay. You made my experience easy and comfortable. To new beginnings. Friends for Life.