Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/06/20– “I Persist,” the biography of Patricia Smith, provides a first-hand perspective of her journey from abandonment in Spanish Town, Jamaica, to an outcast and homeless young woman in New York. Through years of hard work and perseverance, Patricia became the CEO of a multimillion dollar home healthcare company.
“If it is to be, it is up to me, I persist.” What does this mean to you?
I had no relatives, friends, associates, or a support system. I felt like I was in the world alone. If I was going to make it in life, it was entirely up to me to do whatever it takes to pull myself out of poverty. I relied heavily on psychotherapeutic counseling and going to school to help boost my sagging self-esteem.
“If it is to be, it is up to me, I persist” is a statement that I have learned to live by. Growing up, I did not have access to entertainment (television or radio), so I was unable to encounter the concept of a ‘role model’. I believe role models are beneficial, but we should never rely on others to feel motivated. The threat and fear of failure weighed heavily on me and yielded the most influence over my existence. The abandonment, homelessness, and abuse that I experienced early in my life made me thick-skinned and callused to the idea that anyone other than myself was responsible for my success. I also learned that life decisions exist within each of us and the most important voice is our own. Now that I have founded my own company, the instinct to survive is still very strong. I have applied the strength and perseverance of my depraved and deprived childhood to my business dealings and have never allowed anyone to bully me into giving up on reaching success.
I, Persist was created to share this message. We focus on empowering and inspiring young entrepreneurial women to succeed through persistence.
Share your background.
I was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, West Indies to parents who left me behind in pursuit of their desires. I was left in the care of a relative who cared very little about me. She raised me on beatings. I found refuge through fleeting Jamaica altogether, and eventually, through education. My initial ticket to America left me with a taste for a better life. I felt liberated as though I could finally get from under the oppressive life I had been forced to lead in Spanish Town. Recently, I was without so much as a green card or a place to live. This was a familiar situation. I got through many bedless nights in Spanish Town and learned to do the same in New York. Eventually, I was able to get a temporary job working in a factory and rented a cheap basement apartment. I had finally tasted the successful independence I had sought since I arrived in America. Things did not get easier for me at this point. Suffering from seasonal depression made it difficult for me to hold a job in the Winter, I unexpectedly became pregnant, and did not have a steady or welcoming place to live for myself, let alone for my child. Through the hardships, I remained determined. I found my way out of this situation, learned how to survive, and found my footing in New York. Though it was a long and difficult journey, I discovered my place in the world. I am now a successful business owner, caregiver, and no longer worry about where I will sleep, or when or what I will eat. I have the honor to share wisdom and knowledge with young women globally.
“Ms. Smith’s unique attitude is probably the reason for her success because, within moments of speaking with her, you will find yourself smiling. She is one of those rare people who seem untouched by the trauma in their lives and just genuinely concerned about how she can help you help yourself. Her story is truly remarkable and an inspiration to all.” —Peter Miller, President & Founder of Global Lion Intellectual Property Management
What challenges have you faced? How did you persevere?
I faced a number of challenges, mainly, securing my basic need for food and shelter, something I had grown accustomed to solving. During this time, I consumed a tremendous amount of pizza. After all, it was cheap, $1.00 a slice. The grease and dough were quite filling. For shelter, I rode a repetitious trip on the Long Island railroad for months. The drug epidemic and other violent crimes made homelessness a near-death experience as I sat and rode back and forth on that train. I was undocumented and not entitled to certain benefits like hotel rooms, vouchers, or transition into public housing. Besides, during this time NYC was bankrupt and lacked money for social service. Today’s homeless community has access to more dignified treatment.
When you were homeless in New York. What did your day look like?
Being homeless was a familiar situation, but being homeless in Brooklyn… that was terrifying. The circumstances forced me to figure out how to survive as a Jamaican in America. My days and nights looked the same, extremely dark, scary, and nearly hopeless. It appeared that time had stood still and the situation would never end. Every day I looked like a disheveled tired person who could do well with a bath and a bed. But I am proud to say, I persisted for my own sake and for that of my son, and I came out on the other end of a dark tunnel. When I do look back, I don’t say “I did it.” When I look back, I wonder, “How did I Survive?”.
What are the misconceptions about the homeless?
People may perceive homelessness as worthlessness or due to the result of one’s own choices but I know firsthand that a large percentage of the homeless population have mental health issues as I did. Experiencing homelessness has forced me to become resilient, thick-skinned, and purely grateful for the simplicity of life. These experiences have imprinted deep in my own core and will remain with me for the rest of my life.
How did your journey from homelessness lead you to become the CEO of a multimillion-dollar home healthcare company?
One of the few positive experiences during my journey from homelessness to CEO occurred when I became ill in my younger years. When my regular doctor sent me to a venereal disease clinic, the nurse noticed I was young, disheveled, and alone. She took the time to care for me, showing me a tenderness that I had never really experienced. I am grateful for that nurse’s attentive care. She planted the seed for a career in caring for others. Since that day, I have found myself equipped with special sympathy when caring for the sick, and I know in my heart, this skill has come from that nurse. Her tender kindness worked to change my life’s trajectory. Inexperienced and desperate for a better life, I eventually enrolled in a nursing aide program which ultimately led me to a nursing degree as a Nurse Practitioner. I saw no permanent obstacles but rather opportunities to ask questions and develop myself into the entrepreneur that I am today. Depression inspired me to become the boss, instead of working for the boss.
Sweet P Home Care began in 1997 and was licensed by the New York State Department of Health in 2004. From 2005 to 2006 the profits of Sweet P Home Care doubled. Today, the company now employs over 20 office staff in the New York metropolitan area and manages a network of over 500 nurse contractors currently on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
You are writing your biography, “I Persist.” What key piece of advice would you like to share with others?
A grim past should not blemish your bright future. Step out of your story and into your glory, the glorious future that awaits you if you only persist.
What has been your greatest lesson?
Eliminate NO as an option. “No” was never an appropriate response for me and through countless acts of persistence, I have learned the weight of this lesson. “Maybe or I will give it a try” are phrases that inspire hope and drive our motivation. Even a glimpse of hope has the ability to move mountains.
Share your advice for women entrepreneurs today.
The business world is a male-dominated space. Do not allow men to intimidate or bully you. As a woman, you have to transform the obstacle of gender stereotypes and inequality into the opportunity of earning respect.
Success in business is not a destination or a romantic journey. You have to be intense about building a business as it is extremely vulnerable to failure at any level. Accordingly, one must be conscientious, frugal, avoid waste and abuse of company funds.
Learn to persist and survive. Whether I was learning to cope with emotional anxiety and seasonal depression, temporary derailment by envious family members, or fighting through multiple unsuccessful attempts at starting a business, still, I found myself on the other side of adversity every time and emerged victoriously.
All women entrepreneurs can create wildly successful businesses. Keep your end goal in mind, there is no job too big or too small when starting and growing a business. Problems and obstacles come to pass, not to stay. Keep your eyes on the prize, persist, and you will find your success.
I, Persist the Book:
“Patricia Smith’s searingly poignant tale of subjugation, survival, and ultimate success is a must-read. Set amid two cultures and featuring real-life villains, this memoir captures the resilient nature of the human spirit. The infusion of her native patois and her raw depiction of depression add authenticity to a tale that is as painful as it is beautiful.” -Sawubona, Nicole Bailey-Williams
The details of her life are some of the most grueling and difficult things I’ve ever heard brought upon the life of a child. Through perseverance and sheer determination, Patricia manages to escape horrific events and persist into the incredibly successful and powerful businesswoman that she is today.
The story is told through her memoir, I, Persist, set to release Spring 2021. This book takes readers on her incredible journey from the streets of Spanish Town, Jamaica to becoming a highly successful owner of Sweet P Home Care, currently on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic in the New York metropolitan area.
I, Persist the book is set to release in Spring 2021. I Persist is truly a gem that I am thrilled to share with the world.