Mother of two, college graduate with three master's degrees, author and educator. People may wonder how Shirley Auguste accomplished it all, but she says it was nothing extraordinary. She believes that with God's grace all women can achieve their dreams.
But her journey hasn't been easy.
In her book Bad Girl Gone Good: Learning to Trust she cautions women against suffering in silence as they withstand abusive relationships. "No one deserves to stay behind the curtain feeling ashamed," she says. "Don't allow anybody—not friends, family, church or anybody—to cause you to not walk away."
Shirley also encourages women to never stop learning and to pursue the passions God has given them. For her, this included pursuing higher education through Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Va., where she earned master's degrees in divinity, management and educational leadership. She assures women that if they step out in faith to follow God's call, He will equip them with what they need.
Armed with knowledge and a history of God never failing her, Shirley is now pursuing a call to open a charter school to train students as Christian leaders in their professions. Just the thought of such a venture initially overwhelmed her.
"I remember crying and emailing my pastor at the time saying, 'I don't know why God is showing this to me. I can't do this,'" she recalls. She has been amazed to watch God pull all the pieces together from what began as a tutoring center she started in her garage. She plans to open the first school in Baltimore, Md., but Shirley dreams of expanding the concept to include establishing boarding schools overseas.
Her advice to other women? Dare to follow your dreams.
"I always tell my students, 'Don't let the world tell you who you are going to be or what you can't do. You go out there and you show them.'"