Boss Up

Who’s That BOSS: Dawgelene Sangster

This week, The BOSS Network introduces you to "The Spiritual Secrets Guru" Dr. Kara Davis.
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Get ready to move up to that corner office or start your own enterprise. is partnering with the award-winning The BOSS Network to bring you BOSS UP every week. This feature will highlight movers, shakers and rule-breakers across different industries, plus offer you career and entrepreneurial advice.

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Dawgelene Sangster is a world-renowned life and business Strategist, influential journalist, author and authenticity expert who has been featuring on OWN with Iyanla Vanzant and Six Brown Chicks. She’s also had appearances on Oprah’s LifeClass and Chicago’s WCIU and Windy City Live.

Beyond that, Sangster has won awards for her work in the community and has connected with and interviewed Bishop TD Jakes, Kevin Hart, Dwele, Ledisi and Mos Def among others.

Below, Sangster shares her advice for overcoming trials and achieving triumphs.

The BOSS Network: Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point?

Dawgelene Sangster: I am still evolving and embracing daily the redesign God is doing in my life. I was born in the inner city Englewood community of Chicago and was labeled a statistic because I was poor and became pregnant as a teen. I was told I would not excel because that was the label being placed on some African-American girls in that environment and dealing with those challenges, not to mention sexual and physical abuse and homelessness.

I discovered my real worth and eventually started college and completed my undergraduate degree while being a full-time working mom and meeting the love of my life. I went from being broke to making six figures working in the field of technology, getting my master’s degree, writing three books, becoming a lifestyle journalist and starting my dissertation. I had discovered my authentic self!

TBN: What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?

DS: I created the perfect girl and she is “Perkky.” I (P)ray, (E)ducate, (R)eposition, (K)lout, (K)indness, (Y)es. I always seek God for wise counsel in my decision-making. I continuously educate myself on what’s going on in my field and across the world. Based on the information I gather, I create strategies for repositioning myself in the best way that will bring targeted results. I connect with people that are like-minded and at a higher level or dominating in their field.

If we only surround ourselves with people that know what we know and do things the way we do it, we will never grow. I believe in kindness and that by giving, I receive blessings. I give of my time and talent to mentor and help others because when they grow, I grow. I learned to say “yes” to me. When I need a break, I take it. When I need to cry, I do it. We spend so much time taking care of others that when it comes to us, we don’t allow it. I have learned that in order to be everything God needs me to be for the world, I have to start with being who I am for me. I’m Perkky…are you?

TBN: How do you balance your personal life with your professional?

DS: It all starts with being authentic. We must understand that there is no professional life without our personal lives. Oftentimes, we think that we can really separate them and we can’t. Your dreams and “issues” will still be there when you start your workday. Our life experiences, challenges and success all make up who we are on a personal and professional level. We must accept that and walk in authenticity.

TBN: What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur or career woman?

DS: Be authentic. Who is the person looking back at you in the mirror? Take a personal SWOT [Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats]  analysis and see what your strengths and weaknesses are. Look at opportunities you have to strengthen your brand and what you bring to the table. Finally, do a personal threat assessment. Because of fear and uncertainty, we often become a threat to our own ability to succeed. When the “real” you stand up, you can then solidify and brand that person authentically.

TBN: Tell us about your recent journey over the last few years.

DS: I have experienced a few pain points that would rock the boat or sink the ship. In 2009, my half-brother died from a brain aneurism and in 2010, I lost my comfortable six-figure salary due to downsizing. I was 70 pounds overweight and trying to complete my doctoral studies, and my marriage of 12 years was on hot coals and the brink of separation.

My husband was then diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and I had to embrace the fact that he was going to die, but then within a month between June 14, 2012 and July 21, 2012, my sister died; my son was sent to Afghanistan; and my husband had succumbed to cancer. I believed God had something specific from my pain that would change the world, but I was trying to understand why he chose ME. I realized that we don’t get to choose how a challenge will present itself in our lives, but we do control how we handle it.

I am down 50 pounds and I travel speaking on living an authentic life personally and professionally. Some of my husband’s final words were: “Life isn’t a do-over, it is a do-differently. You now have a chance to do some things differently and get IT right, whatever IT is. You have a chance; you are forced to take IT so make the best of IT.” I am getting IT right and making a positive impact on the world one person at a time with IT daily. I think IT. Live IT. Inspire IT.

TBN: What does being a BOSS mean to you?

DS: Being a true BOSS means embracing all facets of my sister’s life and walking that journey with her, not just cheering from the stands. When she hurts, excels, laughs, cries and embraces life, I should be right there with her encouraging her along the way to be her best. Being a BOSS means that we recognize our sister’s talent and help cultivate it.

“Think positive thoughts, live your dreams, inspire a nation”- Dawgelene Sangster

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