Welcome to DORO – Pull Up a Chair
“…we’re the only group in this country, in the United States, that can’t point a country of origin…“
Gina Paige stopped by The Porch as she was returning from a trip to Republic of Cameroon in West Africa with her company African Ancestry. African Ancestry, founded by Gina and Dr. Rick Kittles in 2003, offers DNA testing to families seeking to determine their African lineage. To date, they’ve answered the “Where are you from?” question for over 100,000 people. The recent trip to Cameroon took over 35 people from the United States back to their country of origin – the first ever of its kind. The journey held different meanings for each member of the traveling party, but all were moved and transformed. Such work isn’t what Gina planned; she didn’t have the clear-cut career mapped out. At one point, this “lack of focus” concerned her.
Gina spent a year, she says, seeking a definitive answer to the direction question, but she never found it. During that time, she learned that following her internal instinct – her gut – is most comfortable for her instead of a trying to develop a hard and fast plan. Navigating her path through college, business school, the corporate marketing world and, at this time, her entrepreneurial venture has meant that she stay open and attentive. Carefully, she studied not only her books, but also the habits and life choices of those around her. She’s blended these myriad experiences into a colorful tapestry that serves as a strong foundation for all of her efforts.
Gina reminds us that direction can’t always be definitively plotted on a white board on your office wall. Regardless of the lack of an exact end point, one must remain ever prepared through study, education and personal exploration. Opportunities will present themselves, and it’s okay to take them. She remains ready and open for the next phase of her life journey – without any pressure to settle in on one area focus. The freedom, to Gina, is most critical, allowing her to live fully and taking her around the world.
Be sure to stop back by The Porch during February to hear more about the exciting giveaways and events planned by African Ancestry during Black History Month – or check them out on Facebook!
Gina is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a national service organization celebrating 103 years of sisterhood and service on January 15th. Happy Founders Day AKA!