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Exploring Life & Business with Uso Sayers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Uso Sayers.

Hi Uso, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the United States immediately after college. Professionally I am a Managing Director in the IT risk and advisory practice at a CPA firm. Personally, I am a wife, mom, and Momanger for my daughter, who has authored and published two books in the Elyse So Powerful book series. I also serve on the board of multiple professional/non-profit organizations.

Even though I work in a demanding profession and have multiple extra curricular activities, I am actively involved in parenting my children. I serve at their school, vacation with them, play with them, have fun with them, and just enjoy the journey of being their mom. Relationships are extremely important to me, so I spend a lot of time with family and friends.

Growing up, our family didn’t have a lot of financial resources. I was taught at a very young age that I have a voice and a purpose, and I could be whomever I want to be. My parents always stressed the importance of having an education, doing my best, and not settling for mediocrity. That guidance and support led to me going to University at home in Guyana then coming up to the States for graduate school. When I moved to the US, I had three goals: earn my MBA, start a successful career, and own my own home within five years of moving. It took me six years, but I achieved all three.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was not easy coming from a “third world” country to establish a life here in the US. There were many cultural differences and things I just didn’t know. I knew I wanted a successful career but have no idea what that would entail. I heard of Corporate America, but that seemed way out of my league. What I did know what that a graduate degree would be my “in” so that was my focus. When I first moved, I was offered a job that would require me to work from 6 am to 6 pm. I declined the offer because I wanted flexibility during business hours to apply to graduate programs and visit universities. I was told that my expectations were a bit too high for someone who didn’t have a lot of financial resources. What kept me going was the support of my family, especially my Mom. She supported my aspirations even when I didn’t know the path, or have the money, to get there.
I remember one of my grad school advisors telling me that I wouldn’t get approved for a student visa, so I should not apply. I smiled and politely told her that I would let Immigration Services tell me that. I applied and was approved.
Last year, I started ESP & C Enterprises LLC to manage all activities for the Elyse So Powerful book series written by my eight-year-old daughter. Our core activities at the moment include marketing, sales, and distribution of the books; speaking at events; and sale of apparel. We are building a community of parents and loved ones to increase positive affirmation of little ones to strengthen self-love, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-belief in children so they can be their best and most powerful selves. We have launched a campaign to increase the love of reading and strengthen self-belief in children by providing the book, Always Believe in Yourself! and the accompanying activity book to classrooms. Our goal is to distribute 10,000+ books via contributions from individuals and companies. It has been great to see the excitement in readers’ faces as they read wonderful things about themselves and have others positively affirm them. We have presented to various classrooms, and it is amazing to see so many little ones now interested in writing and publishing their own books. My daughter was inspired by another child author, so she is excited to share her journey with other little ones.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a Managing Director at Johnson Lambert LLP, a CPA and consulting firm that provides audit, tax, and advisory services to insurance entities, nonprofit organizations, and employee benefit plans. In this role, I lead IT internal audit, system implementation, independent external financial audit support, regulatory IT review, and other technology and risk management-focused projects. I work closely with clients to understand their IT risks, financial impact and the sufficiency of IT controls, and IT-dependent business process controls. I also lead and mentor a team of professionals.

Last year, I started ESP & C Enterprises LLC to manage all activities for the Elyse So Powerful book series written by my eight-year-old daughter. Our core activities at the moment include marketing, sales, and distribution of the books; speaking at events; and sale of apparel. We are building a community of parents and loved ones to increase positive affirmation of little ones to strengthen self-love, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-belief in children so they can be their best and powerful selves. We have launched a campaign to increase the love of reading and strengthen self-belief in children by providing the book, Always Believe in Yourself! and the accompanying activity book to classrooms. Our goal is to distribute 10,000+ books via contributions from individuals and companies. It has been great to see the excitement in readers’ faces as they read wonderful things about themselves and have others positively affirm them. We have presented to various classrooms, and it is amazing to see so many little ones now interested in writing and publishing their own books. My daughter was inspired by another child author, so she is excited to share her journey with other little ones.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was very confident, feisty (so I was told), and talkative. I was fearless! Even though we had very little financial resources, I had a rich childhood. I enjoyed spending time with my extended family and played like there was no tomorrow. I don’t remember ever going to summer camp or evening activities as a child. Vacation Bible School may have been the only formal activity I did outside of school. I played so much I often got into trouble for playing in Church, and once even got my head stuck in one of the church benches (long story).

I was quite an inquisitive child. My Dad encouraged me to always ask questions, and he told family and friends to answer my questions with educated answers. Even though I grew up in the “children must be seen and not heard” era, I had permission to speak up and ask questions. That was very influential in me being an outspoken, knowledge-seeking adult. My parents also instilled in me the importance of commitment, loyalty, excellence, good work ethic, and doing my best regardless of what others around me are doing. I am forever grateful for the lessons I learned as a child. They have truly shaped me into the adult I am.

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Image Credits:

Rae Images and KK Horhn Photography

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