Positive Thinker, Optimist, Goldthwaite, Texas
Tosha is an outspoken and positive presence in her town in Central Texas. Her astute sense of what she enjoyed doing began in her teens and after graduating from college she picked up her career in the industry that would set her flying around the country. As a single mother, Tosha managed rather successfully to raise her children into smart and independent individuals with whom she shares laughs, overcomes hardships and enjoys closeness. Tosha gushes about her son's wife with pride, calling her "my daughter-in-love". Tosha and Mallory, an enviably close mother-daughter duo is a wealth of knowledge, bonding over local Austin artists, indie bands and cool exhibits. They text each other all day with loving, supportive and positive vibes all around!! It's incredible.
"Learn to bounce (back). I was taught this by the women in my life" Tosha writes. I'm very much in awe of this kind of attitude and outlook on life. The WOW Woman Tosha Pearson..
2. Where is your hometown?
I was born in Dallas, Texas. Moved To Goldthwaite, Texas for high school, left for college and moved back a few years after graduating.
3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?
I am the southwest sales manager for Road Runners. It is a multi-line rep agency for gift manufacturers.
4. What was the journey like to get where you are (in life and career wise)? What are some accomplishments you’re most proud of?
My very first job in high-school was at a local gift shop. I fell in love with the industry because I loved helping people pick out gifts for loved ones. I felt like I was helping someone make someone else happy. I joke about selling things to people that we don’t really need, that end up in landfill…but that is not the bigger picture. I also find other folks that have a passion for something and we work to make it successful for many. We have several vendors that we represent in my business that are WOW women. They have so much talent, brains and passion. We work together to bring their talent, brains and passion to the world. In turn it has opened up major opportunities to give jobs to people, money to charities/causes and something really magical to the consumers!
5. What did you study in school?
My first year in college, I studied business. I wanted to be in marketing as I thought this would help me open my own gift shop one day. I changed majors mid-way through to Family-Studies/Human Development. It is wild for me to think back to how much the classes I took in college would help develop skills that would later help me be a mom to my children as well as better understand the career I would take on in life.
6. How is your life different from what you pictured at 20?
Oh my. At 20 I saw myself getting married, having 2 kids, a gift shop and a dog. I got everything I had pictured. I later lost my business and my marriage failed. (I still have the kids and the dog!) I believe it’s good to picture things you want and how you want it to be, it’s also god to be ready for big changes to happen.
7. What was your biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?
My biggest disappointment was losing my gift shop. It was like my 3rd child and I basically raised my kids in there. It was humbling and taught me so much. I was going through my divorce and it was all part of where my chips fell. I was left wondering what to do with my life, how I was going to earn a living and help my children and who was I as a person. So much of my identity was wrapped up in that shop.
Because so much of my life was spent going to market and the gift world, I decided to look there for a career. That is when I took a job on the other side of the industry and became a sales rep in the gift industry.
It was 2008, I had no idea that the financial world was going to crumble and these businesses, mostly women owned businesses, were going to suffer so much. Instead of finding the perfect gift to make someone happy, I was helping business owners figure out a way to keep their businesses open.
8. Advice for other women?
Learn to bounce. I was taught this by the women in my life. My great grandmother passed away when I was 5. Most of what I know of her came from stories told to me of her life and her strength. She lost her husband and had to raise 2 daughters on her own. She ran a ranch in Texas during the depression and stories are told on how she could snap a head off a rattlesnake. The two daughters that she raised were two tough ladies as well. My grandmother’s sister was in her 80’s when she got bit by a rattlesnake. After the snake bit her, she went to the carport, got a garden hoe, found and killed the snake and then called for help.
9. Knowing what we know now in current political climate, can women be "all that we can be" in today's world? What is the way forward, as you see it for "feminist values"?
I may sound naïve, but I feel that everything that has been happening in our world today is launching women forward. It hasn’t been pretty, and in fact, much of it is down-right disgusting. My grandmother may have thought me that being a school teacher or a nurse was the most logical career path for a young lady to go on, but I was taught differently by my mother. My mother marched for black rights and women’s rights in college; she burned her bra and taught me that I could do anything. She quit college with less than a year left to earn a teachers certificate. She didn’t feel her passion was in teaching. After many years of searching for her passion, she became an incredible artist!
When I was in elementary school, many of the larger American cities were desegregating their schools. They would bus children from African-American neighborhoods to schools that were predominately white. There was a school in an African-American neighborhood in Dallas, TX that was worried about what this would mean for their schools. They petitioned the Supreme Court and won. The outcome was to take volunteer students from the district and bus them to their school. My mother signed me up and I was part of the first group of kids in Dallas to be integrated into a predominately African-American school. This story doesn’t have as much to do about women and the world today, but it’s a story of the woman that raised me. I don’t recall ever feeling like I wasn’t capable as anyone, to do anything. As women we may have different battles, but that doesn’t mean we can’t win them. I am thankful that a larger level of awareness is developing from the recent exposure of the climate we live in. We must remain mindful and raise sons and daughters to do the same (and to just be decent humans!)
10. Where in the world do you feel “tallest” (i.e. where is your happy place)?
My happy place is with my children! I have enjoyed watching them grow up and become independent adults. I have a beautiful daughter-in-love and we have a lot of fun and laughs together. I love my job, and I enjoy when hard work pays off for people I work with, but I feel tallest with my kids!
11. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?
I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2004. I had a friend encourage me to take up running and I made it one lap around the track. The next day I had confidence built up and I decided to run 2 laps and I threw up before I could get around the last corner on the second lap. I tell everyone the story that you run a marathon one lap at a time. It took a year and a half to train, but 2 laps turned into 2 miles and finished at 26.2.
12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Future goals/challenges?
I want to be a confident person, doing what I love, traveling and loving my friends and family. I don’t want to spend what I don’t have, eat what I don’t need or waste time on things that aren’t giving me confidence, good growth or giving something to others or the world. I am sure that sounds cliché, but aren’t those good things/goals?
13. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?
Believing that I know what I’m doing and that where I am in my career has much more to do with me than just “luck.” I also struggle with trusting that when the bottom falls out that I am well versed enough in “bouncing” and that things will be ok. I also worry about losing my health and being a burden to my family. I want to find balance in enjoying life and saving for something tragic. It’s a balance that I struggle with more each year!
14. Anything you'd do differently if you had another go at life?
….and had all the money in the world? ;) I would take more chances, meet more people that are different than me and really LISTEN to their stories. I would make decisions for me, and not what I thought would make people like me more.
15. What inspires you?
People that are real and transparent are so inspiring. I love to hear people’s stories and to see people share their truth, struggles and victories.
16. What are you hopeful about?
I’m hopeful that “Every little thing is gonna be alright!” I have a necklace with three birds on it that came with that quote on it from Bob Marley. I also have that on a sign, hanging in my home. It was a song I heard a band cover one night when my world felt like it was falling apart. I had tears rolling down my face and at the same time I had a smile because I knew that everything would work out. It’s not always easy and you have to work through some really tough days, but I am hopeful, always!
17. What are some ingredients to a good life?
Loving God and loving others. Being other-centered is the cure for entitlement.
18. What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?
The very first thing that came to mind was that I would tell her to enjoy those carbs….because one day they will catch up!! I would tell her to be friends with people that aren’t like her, and to not be afraid of those differences. I would tell her to not over compensate to gain friends or to make people like her. I would tell her to love her hair and body just the way they are. I would tell her to be patient for love, not to force it or give up important things for it. I would tell her that at 51 there will be things you will have wished you had done differently, people that you wished you had said “goodbye” to sooner and heartbreaks you wished you had healed from faster, but these will be the things that will grow you and help you become a really cool woman!
19. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)
I just finished the first Harry Potter! It was so much fun and I can’t wait to start the second one. I am also reading a book called A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives by Lisa Congdon. It’s really an encouraging/empowering read! It’s about women over 40 that are “living life on their own terms.”
I love to give books that I have read and have helped me in some way. I love a good page-turner/mystery, but I find myself reading books that will help me be a better human in my personal life or professional life. Top of Form
20. Who is a WOW Woman in your world who inspires you and why? Can you nominate three women you know who perfectly fit WOW WOMAN description?
Allison Daily. She and her husband co-wrote the book “Out of the Canyon. A True Story of Love and Loss” . The quote written about her and her husband’s story was this: “This is the story of the worst thing that can possibly happen to you. It would be too shattering to read were it not also the story of the best thing that could ever happen to anyone. OUT OF THE CANYON serves as evidence that life sometimes hides the most precious gift inside the very heart of darkness.”
I look up to her more than any friend I have. She speaks truth, no matter if it’s beautiful truth or hard truth. She works daily to help the grieving find hope. She is my WOW woman for sure!
Lisa Sarmento. I work with her and she is for sure a WOW Woman. She started her business to someday help her autistic son have a job. She gives back in so many ways! Please read her story on her website!
21. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?