By Sgt. 1st Class LaTonya Y. Kelly | U.S. Army Human Resources CommandDecember 13, 2019
The U.S. Army Human Resources Command recently awarded an Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate (EPMD) civilian with the Certificate of Excellence for her outstanding volunteerism as a motivational speaker.
Major Gen. Joseph Calloway, commanding general of U.S. Army Human Resources Command, awarded Tiffanie Wiley, HRC EPMD human resources specialist, for dedicating lengthy hours to impact youth in a positive light throughout the community.
Wiley was nominated by EPMD leaders and recognized for spreading her message through the "I Am Great" movement to empower youth, encourage them to embrace their individuality, and raise their self-esteem.
As a motivational speaker, Wiley travels throughout the greater Louisville area and the United States, speaking at schools, non-profit organizations, industry conferences and corporate events to promote affirmations of self-love and anti-bullying. Her motivational speeches are the ideal early intervention for those struggling with low self-esteem and confidence issues, according to officials.
"During the past four years, I have volunteered over 30 hours each month to raise awareness by using social media platforms and podcasts to reach the masses," Wiley said. "In return, I have received resounding positivity from the community."
Wiley said her message is intended to assist schools and other youth organizations in seeking to bolster their anti-bullying stances. Recently, she spoke at the Hardin County Girls Power event in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and found it to be a particularly powerful and rewarding experience.
"Life is hard, and I was able to relate to many of the challenges that the youth faced," Wiley said. "A lot of girls shared their testimonials and found a safe place within me to share their truths, simply by opening up about the difficulties in life."
She said speaking engagements are a subtle reminder of why she's a persistent advocate for challenged youth.
"It is my purpose to give youth a chance to develop confidence within themselves and I am committed to helping others because somebody helped me," Wiley said.
She was diagnosed with Vitiligo, an auto-immune disorder that results in the appearance of white patches on the skin, when she was just 7 years old. Because of her appearance, Wiley said she was frequently teased and bullied, so she started wearing thick make-up to make others feel comfortable around her.
At the age of 10, she experienced additional health complications when she underwent open-heart surgery to correct a heart murmur caused by a birth defect.
Wiley said it wasn't until she reached her senior year in high school that she started fully loving herself and living courageously.
"My greatest strength is courage," Wiley said. "People are often afraid of perception and having courage allows us to be vulnerable and transparent."
Wiley's new outlook on a life of self-acceptance and self-love inspired her to never wear makeup again and to offer encouragement to others who have endured many challenges.
"When we have courage, it shows that we can live in our truth without fear," Wiley said.
Wiley was selected for a three-year HRC internship program after earning a bachelor's degree in communication from Western Kentucky University. Upon completion of the internship, EPMD Deputy Director Louis Henkel hired her for a permanent position in the directorate.
"We hired Tiffanie because she stood out with her infectious personality, positive nature of how she looks at things, and her desire to learn and grow with every opportunity," Henkel said.
While earning a Master's Degree in Human Resources from Sullivan University, Wiley became a serial entrepreneur and created multiple non-profit organizations, such as 2ToneCre8tions LLC, I Am Great, and Real Souls Speak to name a few. These organizations are founded on mentoring others to promote self-esteem and self-acceptance.
"She asked about mentorship and how she can leverage the entire organization to expand her skillset and knowledge, and make herself a more advanced employee for promotion potential," Henkel said.
Wiley said she aspires to continually spread positivity through the I Am Great movement, emphasizing to her audiences "that no matter what life obstacles may come your way, you are destined for greatness."
"Tiffanie displays the 'I Am Great' attitude all the time, which reflects her 'I Am Great' movement while engaged in work at HRC," said Henkel.
Wiley plans to keep spreading inspirational messages to invoke change at schools and in the work place through the I Am Great movement.