Author: Rachael Herrmann
Between striving for success at work, giving back to the community, and finding time for family and friends, Talisa King, the BN360 Spotlight Professional for May, keeps a busy schedule. Many of us can relate to the demands of personal and professional life and trying to find not only balance, but success through it all. Our work and ability to “do it all” often molds our definition of success—much as it does for Talisa.
Personally and professionally, there’s no doubt that Talisa has been very successful. But after 2013, Talisa had to work to redefine her own standards of success. I sat down with Talisa to find out just how she has found success among a major life setback.
[Q]: Talisa, what does success look like to you?
It used to look the same to me as I am sure it does to most people. A list of job titles and life milestones to hit by certain ages. Life unexpectedly happens and suddenly your idea of what is important and what is an accomplishment changes.
After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in 2013, my idea of success is dramatically different, yet somehow still the same. Every day, I still strive to impact the lives of those around me through my work, personal experience with RA, and passion for the region. But now my body doesn’t always want to keep up with the ambition of my mind and heart. My goal every day is to get up and show up.
[Q]: How do you continue to give so much and be so successful despite what some would call a debilitating set back?
For me, it’s all about perspective and positivity. Life is short, and despite my physical limitations, I am not willing to waste time. When my body won’t work, my mind does. Some of my best ideas have come on the days when my RA is at its worst. Don’t misunderstand—not every day is sunshine and butterflies. Some days are beyond frustrating. But there comes a point when you have to make a decision on how you want to live your life and who you want to be. RA currently has no cure, but there are treatments. I know my circumstances and I know what is within my control. What I can do is be positive and try the best I can everyday no matter what kind of day it is.
[Q]: How has your experience inspired you to help others?
Once I found out I had RA, it was one of those really bad days. It seemed like there was no one else and no support for people facing the same new reality, particularly in our area. To me, that wasn’t the “City of Good Neighbors”. That day, I decided I wouldn’t let anyone else go through what I was going through alone.
It took time and research. I started five years ago with the National Arthritis Foundation and I searched for a local resource. When I found out there was nothing in our area for folks with Arthritis, I knew I had found a new path and a new meaning for success.
[Q] Fast forward to today. Where have your efforts and passion for the Arthritis community in WNY led you?
After connecting with the national foundation, I made it my mission to get involved. I got trained and certified as a Live Yes Connect Facilitator. Today, I am the only such leader in the Buffalo region. Then, I worked to establish the Buffalo Arthritis Support Network. The group officially launched on May 12, 2017, a day that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown officially declared Arthritis Support Network Day in Buffalo. Through the network and group, I found a new level of community, support, sharing, teaching, and mentorship.
Arthritis is a condition that can and does affect anyone, regardless of age. It is an invisible illness, because even through there are dramatic physical effects, it is not an illness most people would recognize that you have. Despite that, I am still a young person and a professional. I have to show face, meet expectations, and strive to accomplish all that my peers are.
[Q] What will success look like for you in the near future?
Last year, I was able to put together a walk for the Arthritis Foundation in Buffalo. It was somewhat of a miracle as we got official approval only 6 weeks before the scheduled walk date. I am honored to say that we raised over $13,000 and had more than 150 walkers. That was a huge success for me! And this year, I hope to grow those numbers even more.
May is Arthritis Awareness Month. For information about the Arthritis Foundation or the upcoming Buffalo walk, please click here.
BN360 is the young professional and engagement program of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. This content was produced in collaboration between Buffalo Rising and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. The facts and opinions published in Buffalo Rising express solely the thoughts and opinions of our respective authors.
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