Madonna was born on the Pensacola Naval Base and was raised in the conservative white suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts during the 60s and 70s. She was the only African-American student in her elementary school class. Her parents overcame incredible obstacles of discrimination to provide their family with the American dream of a suburban middle-class lifestyle.
Despite her creativity and talent, Madonna faced bullying, racial prejudice, and isolation at school due to the color of her skin. At that time, many white parents would not allow their children to play with her, which is why she only had a few friends.
Although nailing her school play auditions in high school, she was not allowed to be cast as anyone’s sister, daughter, wife, or girlfriend. She was only allowed…
to narrate and emcee events. When she wanted to try out for cheerleading, she was told that only white girls could be on the squad. For her, high school was miserable, lonely, and punctuated by bullying.
The pain, loneliness, and injustice Madonna experienced could have destroyed her. But reflecting on it now, she recognizes that these adversities taught her how to meet future challenges with determination. It also informed her decision to always treat others with respect and compassion.
As a speaker and educator, Madonna uses her story to encourage students to stay strong and know that change is possible.
Madonna attended a private two year post-secondary school Chamberlain School of Retailing which offered an extensive, demanding retailing curriculum. She flourished! Madonna was the editor-in-chief of the yearbook, graduated at the top of class and was the featured speaker at her graduation. She was the recipient of the coveted Muriel M. Cox award for high academic achievement and leadership. Her retail education prepared Madonna to be recruited personally, by the Vice President of Human Relations, into a prestigious retail management/ executive training program in one of the largest department Stores in New England. Madonna also later worked at the corporate office of a national women’s apparel manufacturing corporation.
Madonna became a pioneering woman of color in the highly segregated east coast fashion industry in the 1970s. During her early career, she encountered institutionalized barriers of racial discrimination and sometimes flagrant bigotry. She overcame these with grace and dignity, achieving a high level of success as a fashion merchandiser, runway model, and fashion show commentator. Madonna also worked at the corporate office of a national women’s apparel manufacturing corporation.
CALLED TO TEACH
In 1979, Madonna moved to Washington state to embark on a 32 year teaching career. She taught Fashion Marketing in the Tacoma and Bremerton School Districts. She developed an award winning antibullying program, “Dare Not To Swear!” and an inclusivity program for students with disabilities. She partnered with area high schools and a junior high to create the award winning “Flights of Fancy” Fashion show for students with disabilities. Madonna was recognized for her excellence in teaching at the statewide and national level!
RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE
Madonna taught Fashion Marketing for 32 years and received over 30 teaching awards. Highlights include:
- Milken Education Award
- 2x Washington State Vocational Teacher of the Year
- 2x Washington State Regional Teacher of the Year
- Recognized as the 969th Point of Light by President George H. W. Bush
Since her retirement as a teacher, Madonna dedicated herself to inspiring others in developing their talents. She motivates individuals to survive and thrive in every challenge and empowers them to share their gifts with the world.
As a retiree, she continues to win awards as a senior athlete in track and field and as a member of Toastmasters International she particaptes in international speech contests.
PASSIONATE ABOUT SERVICE
Madonna engages audiences of all ages and walks of life with her dynamic lessons and entertaining storytelling. She is genuinely passionate about motivating people to achieve their goals.
Her spirit is born of great love and desire to see every person rise to their full potential. She aspires to see individuals be inspired with the courage to achieve the purpose they envision.
Madonna will inspire you!