In partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we’re recognizing some of the women in our community who are selflessly giving to others while raising families, supporting their loved ones and building their careers. Whether they know it or not, their stories inspire other women in their shoes.
As the center director for the AdventHealth for Children West Lakes Early Learning Center, which opened last April to provide education and care for essential workers’ young children, Alfreda Clark oversees the daily operations of the facility’s clinic, comprehensive services, community outreach and school. She has dedicated her career to providing children and families with optimal experiences that contribute to positive outcomes in life. Her efforts have been integral in growing the center to 90% of its capacity.
What is your WHY?
I am a difference maker, a change agent. I know it is my calling to contribute to humanity by using my gifts and my whole heart to be of service.
On your toughest of days, what motivates you to put one foot in front of the other?
On tough days, I get centered and in my self talk, I reconnect with God and recite the verses and sayings that have contributed to resilience and perseverance in my life such as:
• “Where you find yourself is where you are, and where you are is where you need to be.”
• “This too shall pass.”
• “Only a fool returns to his folly.”
• “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
I also seek advice from a circle of confidants that continue to pour into me and inspire me.
Have you drawn inspiration from other women? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.
There are so many women who have mentored me and extended their love and wisdom. The two mentors that I think of right off are Deborah Hicks, from my first job out of college. She has also been a second mother to me. She is always willing to provide guidance and strategy for any idea that I have. She is small in stature but her voice is bold and strong. She would say, “Freda, if there is a bear in the road, you have to wrestle the bear.” She had an impeccable memory and started her business while continuing to work full time as an educator and while raising two small children. Also, Angel Gambino, a serial entrepreneur with a background that reads like a fairy tale with leadership roles at companies such as BP, Westfield Shoppingtowns and Rhapsody International. She’s a thought leader in innovation and a multi-continental business owner. She’s always pushing herself further, and while I was working for her as a communications executive, I learned how to best navigate across continents in a fast-paced work environment. She introduced me to the Landmark Forum and the work of Ester Hicks. She continuously reinvented herself and although her mind processes things so uniquely, she’s not caught up on fitting in. She lives full out in every aspect.
What is the one word that perfectly explains who you are?
The one word to describe who I am is perceptive. I embody the complete definition of perceptive, “having or showing sensitive insight,” which includes intuitive, discerning, responsive, astute, subtle, deep, thoughtful and penetrating. That’s me summed up in one word.
Would you change anything about how you have handled challenges or successes thus far in your life?
I am content in how I handle challenges currently. However, I would change past challenges and successes by acting on the advice from my trusted mentors and friends. I tend to spend more time thinking about a solution and sitting with it. After spending time in my form of due diligence, I then act.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of being the mother of an amazingly spirited 5-year-old and watching her grow and witnessing her loving heart. I’m also proud of feeling like I’m extended family to so many amazing friends and that I have a family that is like none other. I have been truly blessed in those areas of my life.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced and what did you learn from it?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is losing my grandparents and one of my dear aunts. I was raised by my extensive group of grandparents. I found so much wisdom and comfort in being with them and around them. There so many things that I wish I could say to them but I know they are here with me. My aunt was also super feisty and just the best. She loved far and wide. She was an unexpected loss in 2017 that still rocks my family to this day.