The story behind the title...
The meaning of life is finding your GIFT. The purpose in life is GIVING THAT GIFT AWAY! It took Tongela almost a year to define what was considered her "brand." After many prayers and brainstorming sessions, she concluded that her brand was a total package of her gifts and talents from life lessons. Tongela has a total transparent personality and shares her WHOLE life, experiences, talents and lessons with anyone who could learn from them. She has learned a lot in her lifetime and it hasn't been as easy as most assume because she is always smiling and exudes happiness because she has learned to cope and survive.
She has always been on an independent journey with little to no help and had an epiphany one day. "Just imagine how different life would be if you could pick the brain of a mentor or a successful entrepreneur who does consistent research and development in certain industries of interest!" Imagine that you are a student in a new career field and someone from the top took interest in you and invested the time and resources to pass on their knowledge....well THAT is Tongela's goal in life. She has been a research junkie her whole life from her military career, to graduating college with a Bachelor's degree in Small Business Management (Entrepreneurship emphasis), to everything she has learned in her career in the beauty industry (as a stylist, salon owner and artistic educator). Her diverse experiences all prepared her for a new venture in life; educating and consulting.
One day while searching for her military awards (requested by the local Veteran's Affairs dept. to honor local female veterans), Tongela had an epiphany. Her ultimate goal in life is to help and serve people (consumers and professionals) with everything she has learned in life....somewhat as a liaison (connecting people, ideas and resources). A lightbulb appeared as she read her Army Certificate of Promotion to the rank of SPECIALIST E-4 (after starting from scratch as an E-1 just two years prior). It stated that the greatest obligation of a Specialist was to lead based on laws and disciplines set by the government and to assess and correct things that threatened our readiness (also to be accountable for the actions of those under her leadership). As a Specialist, it was her duty to lead those with less information (less rank) using the direction of those who had more information (higher rank). Often times, her position required her to lead/direct those of higher rank and to perform duties beyond her pay grade (supervise a section of highly sensitive items /information and provide counseling statements for fellow soldiers....a Sergeant's role).
The only difference in her life now as a civilian is there is no focus on rank....she is still connecting resources. She still finds herself assessing the needs of her business and the beauty industry (so far left field from military service). She has notebooks and documents full of business strategies. The struggle she witnesses in the civilian AND business world is the need to depend on each other for the common goal (survival)! Social Media has everyone wanting to be a "boss" and striving for likes and the spotlight which goes against her military instincts of moving quietly in numbers to win the war where the country gets the glory/benefit not individual soldiers.
Long story...not so short, the "Specialist" is the most befitting title as Tongela is highly skilled and possess detailed knowledge as a hairstylist, beauty educator, and business consultant.