Leaving the Fast Lane

Nationwide's Donna A. James made
it to the corner office. But a health scare forced her to question whether the price she paid was worth it.

candy business fiction, because he’s got money, high finance, sex, and murder.

And then the writing. There is a book in me. So every time I go down there, I spend as much time as I can pulling out of me what is there.

I’ve also been doing a lot of speaking engagements. I like helping other folks who believe they can do what I’ve done, and helping them understand the realities of doing it, especially African American women–how to move on from dumb, stupid, racist, sexist environments. I think I have a lot to offer there.

Living with No Regrets
If the stroke had not happened, I would have just kept cruising right along. I’m glad I stopped because I love it out here. It would be very hard to go back. And that’s easy to say because I have some financial independence. You have to plan financially. You never know. It’s not just planning for the major disaster. It’s learning to live within your means and invest smartly.

People ask me what I would change if I could do it over–not one thing. I visited a high school in Toledo, Ohio, for parenting and pregnant teens. And I spent the morning with them. It was most compelling. Tears came to my eyes. We talked about everything. They wanted to know how much money I have, what kind of car I drove. But it was worth it because at the end of the day, one of those girls stood up and said, “You are my new idol.” And I said, “If I can get your head out of the stuff you hear on TV and the streets, then I want to be your idol.” Before I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to have that conversation with those girls. I would have been too busy.

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