My name is Tenisha Gist,I grew up in a small rural town in Southeast Tennessee. My momwas deliberate in her efforts to connect me to structure and education to unlock my talents.From elementary school to Junior Highschool, I was 1 of 2 AfricanAmericans in my entireschool. My father was a great basketball athlete and in 6th grade, it also became my vehicleto opportunities, whichearned me a full athletic scholarship to the University of Mississippi.

I was a high achiever and spent most of mylife performing, but mid-way through college, Istarted preparing to play on a more unfamiliar court. I was a young black woman enteringinto a workforce with education, yes, but no actual business experience or professionalguidance. During my junior yearin college, I sought out a Graphic Design internship whichallowed me the autonomy to create and contribute in ways that boosted my professionalconfidence before graduation.

I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2005 where I began attending the University ofArkansas to earn my Master’s degree in Education. As a new resident, I didn’t know anyone,and I needed to align with people who might be able to help me on my next professionaljourney. I continued to seek internships and mentorships that assisted me to my currentposition as the Director of the Yvonne Richardson Community Center where I work witharea youth and citizens to build community with educational, social, and recreationalprogramming that seeks to impact lives.

My 8 years working with interns, community networking, and creating solutions to maximizeresources manifested Talent Kiln. In search for my own professional guidance, I discoveredhow to effectively help others gain real world experiences and connect to unlocked talent