Erica Carter's Mother, Carol
"My mom's mantra, repeated so many times I can hear her voice in my head right now, is 'never settle.' In my younger days, those two words sounded almost like a threat. But with the perspective of time and my own experiences, I hear more about the mom behind the message:

- A driven woman who put herself through college in three years in the late 1960's, a time when a college degree was not expected (or even encouraged) of many women. 
- A courageous woman who, recently divorced and fed up with layoffs in the health care industry, used unemployment checks to start a business that's still going strong 30 years later.
- A progressive mom who fought against school administration to make sure her daughter's social and emotional health was paramount to her academics. 
- A realist mom who never (ever!) threw a game of Go Fish, Gin Rummy or Boggle, teaching her daughters about resilience early on.
- A loyal, moral and honest woman who would do anything for the people and causes she loves.

This mantra of my mom's has been an incredible gift. She's inspired me to work hard, define and live by core values, put everything into relationships, and perhaps most of all, believe in myself. And what do you know... I'm starting to channel my mom and encourage my own kids to never settle."