I met Tess in 2006. We both worked in the IT department of Marks and Spencer – I was a software tester and she was a Project Administrator. We were not even on the same team and neither were we on the same floor, we were working on different projects but somehow, we got to be friends. I am a friendly person and I had a great relationship with the Nigerians and Ghanaians in the IT department so, when she joined, I automatically became friends with her. What first caught my attention about her was her dress sense. She is a fashionista, my friend Tess. Then her flat stomach was the next thing. When I found out that she had had a child, and that she was NOT doing 1000 crunches a day, I could not believe it. She had and still has a washboard stomach and a beautiful figure.
Tess was so vibrant, always laughing, joking and all, you would not know that life had just handed her lemons and she was making lemonade. When I eventually got to really know her, I found out that she was going through a very messy divorce. How she was able to keep positive in the face of all she was going through beats me. To know Tess is to know proactivity and a positive attitude to life. Rather than sit down, mopping around or crying over spilt milk, she simply rebooted herself, changed her career and got on to live a fabulous life. When her marriage was breaking up, she tried her best to make it work but she soon realised that it was not going to work so, she set out to make a good life for herself and her young son. Her job at Marks and Spencer was actually her first in Project Management but you would not know as she is so quick to grasp new concepts and run with it.
Rather than sit mopping about what could have been regarding her marriage, she embraced her new single life and enjoyed it to the max. She and her little boy had so much fun travelling – Dubai, USA, France, Portugal, Nigeria- fun she would not have had as a married woman. And when she decided that it was time to try her hand at dating and marriage again, she was again proactive about it. She would ask our colleagues if they had responsible single friends to introduce to her. And one of our colleagues indeed had a responsible single friend to introduce to her. Ola and Tess got married shortly after I left Marks and Spencer and they have another child now. Her elder son is preparing to start at Harrow this year due to the push she gives him. He is also a very talented violinist and is already playing semi-professionally in orchestras.
The amazing thing about my friend Tess is this – she ALWAYS has a positive and proactive approach to life. When she was a lone parent, rather than just moaning about life, she asked our colleagues if they had responsible single friends, the other single ladies working there thought it was brave and that they could not do that. Not that they did not want to get married, but they felt that they could not put themselves out there. But putting herself out there as they felt that she did was productive. She is now married with two sons.
When she got married, she decided to take time out to concentrate on her new family. And when she decided to get back to the job market, she did it with the same gusto that she applied to everything. I have constantly told her that she should be a motivational speaker. She has the gift of making people feel that they can conquer the world, achieve their dream as long as they are ready to get up and do something. If you are thinking of embarking on a new project, Tess is the person to talk to. She will so ginger your swaga that you will not know when you start tapping into your hidden strengths, she is good like that. No is nothing to her. If Tess does not get something, it is because she does not want that thing. She applies the same gusto to everything, be it planting a new row of flowers in her garden or studying for exams that will propel her career. Today, Tess is a Project Office Manager in the financial sector and this is no mean feat at all. Her next step is to be a Program Manager and am sure very soon, I know she will be calling me to tell me she is one. From having no property 10 years ago, she now has a few properties. I have never heard her cry or moan or be down, even in the dark days of her messy divorce. This is not to say that she is never sad, far from it. It is just that she does not expend her energy that way. She just asks Go’d about how to get out of a bad situation and gets on with working her faith proactively, asking for help if necessary and digging deep into her reserve of strength.
Why am I writing about Tess? She is an inspirational woman. Simples.