“You can’t pay attention to what other people say. You’ve got to follow your heart and do what you want to do.”
Latisha Raymond grew up in the Bronx, but has lived in Troy for the past 10 years. Lately, she’s been very busy – working at Hawthorne Ridge, raising two children ages two and 15, and attending Questar III’s High School Equivalency (HSE) program while completing the Jamison-Rounds Ready for Work program at the Troy YWCA.
And, she recently started her own business.
LNR Cleaning Services is the culmination of Raymond’s work. With 15 years of experience in housekeeping working for hotels, apartments and private clients, she decided to go to work for herself.
The Jamison Program helps women in need with resources and support. Most women attend the Ready for Work program to learn job readiness skills and find gainful employment. Already knowing what she wanted to do, Raymond used the program for networking and support as she learned how to start and grow a business.
Questar III HSE Teacher Linda Laccetti says Raymond’s drive is an inspiration to her and the other students. She says students are often overwhelmed by the amount of work required of the HSE curriculum, but Raymond’s success is helping others push through the frequently challenging work.
Of course, Laccetti says, there can be a certain stigma attached to adult education courses like Questar III’s HSE program, but that the HSE coursework is raising the bar to get a diploma. Because the HSE program is more challenging than the old GED program, the negative stigma associated with completing high school later in life is starting to fade. She says it is a diploma truly on par with the Regents diploma awarded to high school graduates.
Raymond admits she was embarrassed at first to come back to school for her diploma, but that her kids inspired her.
“My son goes to Green Tech in Albany and the work there is hard. He would come home with this homework and I couldn’t help him because I didn’t know how to do it. I have to show my son that education is the way, and for my daughter when she gets older I want to be able to help her myself and not have to send her off to a tutor.”
She credits Laccetti with getting her engaged, saying she makes it fun to attend class and learn new things.
“She really cares about your education and she’s so helpful. I love my teacher and she makes me want to come back even more because I’m learning something. I’m learning every day.”
Raymond hopes in the next few years to purchase a company vehicle and rent a storefront. She wants to have a central place for washers, dryers and cleaning supplies as well as an office to handle the management side of her business.
How does she feel about her successes?
“It makes me feel good. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed and tired but I just keep pushing.”
She hopes that her dedication and drive to better herself will be an inspiration to her kids – and for her 15-year-old son, it certainly is.
“He’s proud. He wants to work with me at my company! He tells everyone ‘my mom is an entrepreneur’ and that makes me feel good.”