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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Toiya Hancock ‘93 Speaks Up About Leadership

“You’re not successful by yourself,” said Chair of the Black Alumni Advisory Board Toiya Hancock ’93.

On Oct. 26, Hancock was invited to share her stories and experiences both on and off campus to students, faculty and staff in the Gilmer Room.

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hancock fell in love with the Quaker school that embraced her so well when she came down to visit alongside her mother. From that moment on, Hancock left her mark as resident adviser her sophomore year, by going abroad her junior year and as hall director of Mary Hobbs her senior year.

Hancock spoke as part of the Mosaic Leadership Speaker Series, sponsored by the Multicultural Education Department and the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement.

“The word mosaic means pictures, patterns and collages, and to me, a collage tells a story,” said Hancock. “We all have a story to tell whether you are a first-year or a senior. I’ll be telling my story in hopes to encourage others (to do the same).”

And that she did.

“I found her very inspirational,” said sophomore Mikayla Jones. “She was very positive about her experiences of how we can improve ourselves and grow from it.”

Growth was a key word during Hancock’s presentation. She explained that in order to achieve success, one must go through three different stages.

“Success to me is knowing my purpose in life, growing to my maximum potential and sowing seeds to benefit others,” said Hancock.

“The expectation is that when you leave this place and graduate, you do not say ‘see ya.’ No, we want to see ya. I want to see ya. I want to see you back here.”

During homecoming last September, Hancock had the opportunity to attend the Alumni Awards ceremony where the Heges were being celebrated for their contribution to the College.

“They said, ‘we could never give to Guilford more than it has given to us,’” she said. “That’s powerful. There was a couple that recognized what they received here, a couple who knew their purpose, grew and now are sowing, giving back.”

Hancock made it clear, however, that giving back to an alma mater after graduation is not only about money.

“When we talk about giving, it is not equal giving,” she said. “It’s equal sacrifice,” she said. “That means that your $10 may be equivalent to their $1,000. We must sow and give back. That’s the measure of true success.”

Hancock’s speech was an incredible contribution to the people who attended the event.

“She was great,” said sophomore and Senate secretary Celene Warren. “I thought she really gave out life lessons that will go beyond college. Maybe we should take into account what we’re going to do and how we can always just give back.”

Hancock motivated students to go after their dreams no matter who they are or where they are from.

“It was (amazing) to hear from a person of color’s perspective of how they were here,” said junior and Senate vice president Lesly Vasquez. “People underestimate growth sometimes.”

Faculty and staff also appreciated Hancock taking the time to share her perspective with others.

“I’m very excited after being here to hear Toiya talk about her experience and her journey through Guilford College,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Arlene Cash. “It really does reflect the importance of being engaged not just academically but wholly in our program.”

At the end of her speech, Hancock seemed happy with the response from the audience and the outcome of her stories.

“My growth comes from telling my story, but others can glean something from my experiences,” she said. “So, for me, this was that (incredible) opportunity, and I’m glad I was able to do this and share this time with students.”

And for those wondering what to do after graduation, Hancock has the solution.

“Just keep going. Just keep growing.”

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About the Contributor
Beatriz Caldas, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Beatriz's goal is to make sure that every person on campus has a voice, that every group is being represented, and that The Guilfordian becomes #1 in reporting Social Justice stories not only from Guilford, but from all around the globe. Beatriz comes from Brazil and is able to speak four languages.

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