Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.
Photo by Emily Pérez Long / Photos taken on location at The Chattanoogan Hotel
Jocelyn Loza, Apison
Many people may think that divorce is a negative and unfortunate outcome for a family. For me, it helped me to recognize that I am a resilient person. When I was 6 years old, my parents divorced, and my dad was left to raise three girls. At that time in the ‘90s, it wasn’t “normal” for a single dad to raise girls unless you were Danny Tanner from Full House … but my dad, unlike Danny Tanner, didn’t have help from Uncle Joey or Uncle Jesse. It was just him.
After he passed away in 2009 – a month before my wedding – it devastated me. My dad was my everything. He taught me how to embrace opportunities, treat others with respect, lead with integrity, ask questions, learn from others, love honestly, and that the word “can’t’’ is never an option. I remember my dad going out of his way to make sure that my sisters and I were happy. He truly spoiled me, and no other man would replace him or measure up to him. He never looked for praise and always worked hard. He would wake up at 4 a.m. every day and always make a point to be at my school field trips, teacher-parent meetings, and school sporting events.
Now as a parent myself, I see so much more clearly the hard work, dedication, commitment, and self-sacrifices he made for me and my sisters. Being a parent makes me appreciate my dad even more.
My dad’s gregarious and determined character influenced me, which helped me when relocating to Chattanooga from Chicago with my family; it helped me obtain my master’s degree while working full-time and giving birth to my youngest daughter; it helped me build my marketing agency, and it helped me create the first professional development group for Latina professionals in the Southeast. Because “can’t” was never a part of my vocabulary, it taught me to focus on my goals and not the obstacles. I hope that I can inspire my daughters and the people I meet just like my dad inspired me.