#MissionMonday: After 15 years of being a felon, De’Shauna reaches new heights as store manager

In the mid-2000s, De’Shauna was a certified nurse assistant studying to become a licensed practical nurse when she was arrested for drug trafficking.

De’Shauna struggled to find a job when she was released from prison in August of 2008, even though she had plenty of work experience. She was finally given a chance to interview with us at Goodwill. It wasn’t long before she was hired and asked to work right away at our Clays Mill store.

“I’ve been feet on the ground ever since, running – head-first,” De’Shauna said, “since November 2008.”

Since that day, De’Shauna has been promoted to assistant manager, store manager at the Millpond location, and she’s now the store manager at our Meadowthorpe location, where she’s taken the store to new heights.

On Friday, Meadowthorpe will be honored with the Store of Excellence Award, which is given to Goodwill Industries of Kentucky stores that excel in areas such as store appearance, customer service, safety and more.

“I am so excited for my team to experience it,” De’Shauna said. “Nobody on my team has experienced it, including me. But I have experienced award ceremonies at Goodwill before. I’m just excited for them. They ask me, ‘What do I wear? What’s going to happen?’”

De’Shauna calls her team a “well-oiled machine” and said she makes a point to do team-building activities frequently. Many of her employees come from similar backgrounds, so if she notices someone having a bad day, she makes sure to try to make it better.

“A lot of people that come to me are tired,” she said. “They’re tired of that lifestyle. They need somebody – I was never a drug addict, but I was an addict of the streets. I got tired, maybe of the police kicking my door in. So, I am very empathetic. If I have a person come in and they’re in a rut, I’m going to hang (clothes) next to them or direct them to someone who can help more.”

Outside of employment, De’Shauna has taken advantage of several of our life-changing programs and services. Thanks to our expungement program, her background is clean. She shares all the “good” that Goodwill has to offer when interacting with customers.

“I’m one of those people who have a disadvantage because of my felony,” she said. “Goodwill put me through management training to get me prepared. I went to Soft Skills – all those programs they’re offering, Goodwill is paying 100% of that for me and for anyone else who walks through the doors. But you have to want it, earn it and give it back. The newest endeavor Goodwill has put me through is expungement. I am no longer a felon. I was a felon for 15 years and looked at very differently. …

“I had a lot of allies, a lot of people who believed in me. I’m proud of who I’ve become.”

If you’re in search of a hand up, not a handout, visit goodwillky.org/programs to learn more about our life-changing services.