"JOBS Latter Was Greater Than His Beginning...." Katrina Walkers Story
Katrina Walker defied all probabilities by living and surmounting beyond her situation. Sure, she started out like many of us eager women in a displaced society that was built to fail us—built to hinder us and keep us captive in a factious and discordant world… It’s a dream for many women to find Mr. Right, in hopes that he will rescue her from it all. Now, bear in mind this isn’t every woman’s story. So don’t get all defensive. However, it’s more than likely the young and single mothers’ testimony. You better believe that stability and being able to raise her child (ren) in a loving and joint household is what she wants. This is what she thinks she needs. Katrina wanted marriage and the happily ever after, with the man that she trusted -- the person she loved. She received all those things. However, her husband was unpredictable, fickle, and abusive. Walker stuck by him through the good and the worst of things until she couldn’t take the dissatisfaction of her life anymore. She left him—and good for her! A fearlessness grew within her soul and it couldn’t be contained by anyone. It was a pluckiness that would in time, make her a self-made millionaire.
Katrina Walker is an extrovert by nature who was born with an achiever mindset and a hustler’s wit. She’s a visionary and idealist that wouldn’t accept failure as an option. She started her first business at a young age. Walker opened a central location for the RainbowKidz Learning Center (established in Tennessee), an expanded childcare facility that’ll be located nationwide. The Tennessee location is the first of innumerable and successful ventures to come.
Walker has twenty-five years of erecting fruitful businesses including the 24-hour daycare. She has a record label, in addition to her own luxurious studio. Walker has manifold real estate. She is a devoted Philanthropist and motivated speaker (not motivational). She’s founder of the “BE” (Blind Eyes) foundation. BE organization is a community support system that aids young women and men. Her monarch is “BE the difference in the world and not turn a Blind Eye to society.” Walker is the initiator of a national campaign. The purpose of the movement or PSA is to expose domestic violence for the ugly monster that it is, from a masculinity and femininity standpoint.
Walker is writing her memoire with Clarence Waldron, former senior writer and editor for Jet Magazine.
Katrina’s journey into resolute womanhood is inspiring. Many of us identify with her beginning. It may not be in an abusive setting. However, it’s a tough situation nevertheless, and we have done it. We awaken each day with the same “self-starter” mindset. It’s pumped and ready for the next mission. We don’t ever stop looking for greater. We’re searching for the stairwell to possibility. And that’s exactly what Walker did…. “JOBS latter was greater than his beginning.”
“I’m ready to jump right in, Girl!” Katrina’s extrovert demeanor was through the roof. Her personality is bubbly although she is a tycoon—a millionaire that built her businesses from the clay dirt up. She had no qualms with answering questions. She was transparent and awe inspiring… if you don’t believe me, read for yourself:
“From the time I was four-years old, I’ve always made my own decisions. My sister was five -and –a- half years older than I was and my brother was always doing their own thing. I didn’t have anybody to ask, “Can I go or can I do.” I did what I wanted to do and I thank God that I was always in old folk’s houses. I love old people. At that time, it seemed like they were old. I was always at their houses talking to them. I knew when I was a little girl and I remember seeing my grandmother. She would always be cooking…. My family lived up North and they would come down sometimes. Even as a little girl it seemed like she was always drudging things and trying to make ends meet—I always knew that I wanted to do better cause it had to be better than this.
Even as a little girl I always wanted better. By the time my mother got a job and got a man, we moved up out of the neighborhood and I was always a little different than my sister and brother. My mother would leave for work and leave the children that were there with me because by this time, there were other children there. She would give us each a quarter apiece before she left for work. I would wake up and my cousin or whoever was over. I would wake them up—they’d be drooling in their sleep. I’d say, “We gotta go.” They would say, “Go Where? Where are we going?” I had to get them so we could go pick bottles up. A quarter was never enough for me. Even at the age of eight, I was making money. I would get them to get those bottles together. We would get them from the yards and anywhere. We would go to the store and I’d make them wait outside while I go in to get the money. I’d come back out and pay them and we all had money. The neighbors knew it too. I’d go and iron their sheets for their beds. That was money.
By nine, I was making good money. Then I graduated on up to about fourteen. I walked a long way to this diner and I asked them, “Please hire me. I can run the third shift.” They had me run third shift all by myself into a coffee shop. I was the waitress. I was the cook. I would cook the best pancakes ever. You know, at fourteen, I was making money. I started working at the Hyatt at the age of sixteen. I landed the job and brought my first car. At seventeen I decided to go to Houston Texas, for college. I had a favorite cousin that lived there at the time. She passed away at the age of thirty-one. When I went there, I had a job waiting on me. I was a waitress there. I was working there while going to the Texas University. But, I got homesick.
My Momma was still living and my grandmother was still living. However, my brother was no longer with us. It was like a great a family and I started to miss them. I had a boyfriend—my children’s father. He asked me to marry him, and that’s when the stuff hit the fan. I got homesick and went back to Memphis. We got married, and then my life went downhill.
I had my children and I thought it was going to be this “Leave it to Beaver” family and marriage. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I dreamed about. I never knew my father and I would always ask my mother, “Who is my Daddy?” and she would say, “I’m the damn, Daddy.” I guess that’s why I wanted to have a family. I wanted a Momma, Daddy, and the Children, you know? But, it wasn’t that way. Once I married this man, it went to the cheating. Never coming home till daylight. No money. If money came in, he took it. I was trying to figure out how we were going to pay the bills and keep a roof over our head. He would fight me. Oh, I remember so vividly that I was always crying and running from him. I remember grabbing my kids, and running down the hall to the room. I locked the door and threw my kids on the top bunk-bed, and I got on the bottom bunk-bed. By that time, my husband had kicked the door in. My little boy was three-years old at the time. I remember hearing him yell, “Momma, duck!” I remember ducking my head, and an iron went past me and struck the wall.
Just thinking about that… It was rough and we always had nothing, I mean absolutely nothing. We would go to people’s houses and pretend like we were visiting. We didn’t want them to know that we didn’t have lights, gas, water, or food. I knew it had to better and that I needed to get out of the situation. That’s how my life was. When we got to the point where we were homeless and riding around in a fifteen-passenger van.
We were always running out of gas. The last straw was when we were at someone’s house sleeping on the floor that was covered in roaches. I picked my baby up and took her to bathroom and a roach crawled down her leg. I got the roach off my baby. I said in that moment, “You know what, you got a mind. You gonna do better than this. Your life aint supposed to be like this, Trina. You’re smarter than this.” I came up with a plan to move the baggage out of my life. I was married to this person for twenty-years, cause in my mind I didn’t want anyone else raising my children. I didn’t want that. We were struggling and we didn’t have anything. We never had anything. When money came in he was gonna take it. If food was there, he was gonna eat it. If the lights was gonna be cut off the next morning, he was sleeping and snoring. I was the one up trying to figure it out. I figured it out. I figured a way out of that situation and I figured out a way to move that baggage out of my life. I knew that I was good with children and people loved me and they knew I was a good mother. So, I decided to keep children. I used to walk in the rain. At that time, marketing was flyers and word of mouth. I did some marketing at Federal Express and I offered such a discount. I said, “I’m gonna offer something different. I’m gonna do a 24-hour daycare center.”
I went and looked at the building and I wondered if I could buy it. So, I started putting money away like a squirrel does his nuts. I started planning. I set myself a goal to make five thousand dollars. That five thousand dollars became twenty-thousand dollars. It kept going up. I remember when I made my first twenty thousand and then I did my taxes and made over three million dollars. I remember riding and looking over at the Range Rover dealership when I road past. I’d look at the people. I didn’t care if they were ball players. I always had it in my head that I don’t need a man to solidify me. If I want the Range Rover, I’m gonna walk up in here and get it—and that’s what I did. I brought my first Range Rover.
I was good with money. I knew how to manage money. I started paying for things. I started building things. I began making major investments. I’ll tell anybody, “Your life doesn’t have to be a certain way. You gotta get up off your butt, get out here, and make things happen. Nobody gave me anything. My mother didn’t have anything to give me and I didn’t look for her to give me anything. My life was life and I had to figure it out. I had to fend for myself and that’s what I did.”
Would you say persistency is one of the key components to your success? Yeah, and not only that. You have to want it. It’s how bad you want it. People can say all day long that they want something while making an excuse that it won’t work. I could have found a million-and-one excuses of why I couldn’t do what I did and if you look back, excuses are what held me back. I would say don’t be lazy and if things aren’t working out, they aren’t going to work out. Of course, there are some setbacks situations. But what are you gonna do? Are you forever going to be pounding and pounding, or are you gonna pull yourself up by your bootstrap? So, yes. You gotta persevere. You gotta have it in your mind that you are going to do better. You can’t be lazy or you’re going to remain where you are because nothing plus nothing equals nothing. Get out there and work. Make things happen. Get yourself a journal. Every day is an accomplishment. That’s what I did with me. I don’t care if it was a thought. I had to act on it. That’s the thing. We all have greatness inside of us. Do the best that you can. You will only go as far as you want to go depending on how hard you’re willing to work at it.
Do you have any regrets? No. I have no regrets whatsoever. The past is something that we can’t do anything about. All I know is that I do believe in God. I believe in a spiritual and higher being. That’s my belief. Everyone else can believe what they want. But, I know that it was all through the grace of God and the mercy of God that I was able to do better and use the head that he gave me. I know where I was. I will never get so high up to look down on people. I will share and help show others how to fish the way I did it.
Let’s talk about what you’re offering the single mothers, and those that are needing your assistance.
I have a book coming out… You know, I’m gonna tell you something, Tawanda. All these years, I’ve been doing well, I’ve been helping. I’m just taking it on a wider scale. I don’t talk about what I do. I help so many girls and guys that walk through my door with little babies. They may even go to a church and try and get help. I’m the type of person that can’t save the world. But, I damn sure will try to help. That’s what I do. I help so many young mothers. I help them. Children need things. They need things on Christmas. I make sure to do for the ones that can’t afford things. I pick my Mothers and Fathers up and show them how they can do better for themselves and how to get out that rut cause you can put a bandage over something. But, people need to be taught how to do things when Ms. Trina isn’t around. Yes, I give back to the community. I make sure I’m there for them. I talk to them. I started the BE foundation cause I know sometimes that we’re dealing with addictions. Mothers will go home and eat dinner with a black eye—a lot of people walking around don’t even know that they are enduring. I wanted to help somebody. I wanted to be there for people when they are in distress or depressed.
Do you believe if you give mercy, you get mercy? Yes, I do. I don’t look for anything in return. Everything comes from my heart. If God places it on my mind and heart to do it, I got to. I can’t lay on that. Each person is an individual. I can’t justify who’s right and who is wrong. I help everyone cause everyone’s situation is different. I look at the heart.
When did you start your record label? I started the record label about ten to twelve years ago and it was with my son. They actually run the label for me right now because I’ve been doing so many other things. You know, with the BE foundation and other things. The record label came about through conversation. I grew up on good music. I’m from the old school of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin… All those great singers from back then when my mother was hanging out clothes and the clothesline. My momma would be listing to the records and she’d turn that thing over. I would listen to it over and over. I’d clean it off with alcohol if it scratched. I grew up with great music. I loved music—the record label came about because we would have this thing like church in the mornings where we would talk. I would always tell him, “you pull emotion out in church.” He would talk about certain things that he was doing, and I was like we’re gonna do something different. Like I said, it came in conversation. I started with different artist in a studio down in Atlanta, and then from there we produced and did different shows. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s different. I know it’s a lot different than what it was back in the day. I have great people that work the label. My son, daughter, myself, and another group of people.
Tell us about the real estate. The real estate was the first property I purchased. You remember that I was leasing the property and then I brought many lots, and I brought a lot big enough that I could build a really nice facility. From there, I brought forty acres. From there it was other ventures like homes. I’m looking at subdivisions now. That’s how I got into the real estate business. I started buying land and building homes.
When is your book slated for release? I’m looking for that book to be released sometime at the end of the year or the beginning of the next year. I would love for you to have a copy. I’d love to deliver you a copy and speak back with you once we get the book out. The name of the book is gonna be called “Down Home Truth.” It’s my truth. It’s my life and it’s just like anyone else with the struggle and the things I went through. It was rough what I went through it. But, I made it and I’m still here to talk about it.
I like the fact that you said you’re a motivator and not a motivational speaker. We all think we inspire or we try in some kind of way and if you don’t try, you got bigger problems. So, when did you decide that this was going to be your key thing? Because, when I talk to people, I’m just down to earth. I’m just Trina. You remember that woman in the kitchen that you could just go to and tell her stuff, or that friend that you had that guided you and didn’t let you get all over the place that you trust. You know, everyone needs someone that they can confide in and talk to or maybe connect with. Some people, I feel like you can’t even reach out and touch them. But, Trina lets you know that she’s real. I don’t talk at you. I talk to you. I talk to people so they can connect with me. I let them know that I am no different from them. I’ve been through the same stuff. Let’s sit down and talk about it. It’s gonna be alright. I am that lady that’s gonna make things better. I don’t like anyone to feel like they’re down and out, just depressed and gloomy. No, lighten up. It’s a beautiful day today. It’s gonna be alright. I don’t care what it is. It’s gonna be alright. That’s why I say I’m a motivator. Things will get better. It’s not the end of the world. Things do get better. That’s what I do.
What do you have to say to those entrepreneurs that’s still building and grabbing those bricks to build the foundation for their own businesses? I don’t tell people to go the route I did. I don’t tell them to quit their job. I don’t tell them that if you pray hard it’ll fall out the sky. Remember, Ms. Trina had to get out there and work. She had to come up with a plan and I tell people, “Put it on paper.” You gotta start somewhere. It can happen. You can make it happen. You can have anything you want. This is America. Wake-up, People! This isn’t a joke and I’m not bragging. I would never brag about something like that. I drove a sixteen passenger bread truck, and hoped it cranked. I remember a girl asking me, “Are you ashamed?” No, I’m not ever ashamed. I’ve gone from a bread truck to a Bentley. I’ve brought several Bentleys and several Range Rovers as well as the S500. I’m a woman. I do this. I’m proud of what I’ve done. You can do it too. It’s no different than me. You just gotta pull out the best of you. It may be something that you really want. You shouldn’t have to work from paycheck to paycheck. You shouldn’t be without. We aren’t into a recession. Speak it into existence of what you want and that’s what it is.